Widening the Lens: International Paper’s Path to Setting Next Generation Sustainability Goals

By: Devin Giles | October 15, 2019

International Paper is one of the world’s leading producers of renewable, fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper. Hear from International Paper’s Sustainability Project Leader, Devin Giles, on the process of setting the next generation of sustainability goals at IP.

International Paper is closing in on our Vision 2020 goals – a set of 12 sustainability goals, which we have been measuring progress on since 2012. While we’re on track to meet or exceed most of our targets by the end of 2020, we recognize that the world around us is changing and there is still work to do. And so, over the past two years, we have been working to craft our next generation of goals. Our process has truly been an exercise in widening the lens.

As we prepare to launch our next generation of goals, we have been reflecting on the path we took to get here. When the team initially sat down to think about our new goals, we sought to define ambitious and meaningful targets that are aligned with today’s accelerating sustainability trends, that also drive innovation and enable our future success. 

We began our work by focusing on three questions:

  1. What will the future look like?

  2. What do our stakeholders care about?

  3. What is our organization’s role in this future?

Ultimately, these three questions led us to ask: What do we need to do to build a better future for people and the planet and also for the success of our company? 

We realized that if we wanted to make a truly global impact, we needed to expand our view. Our Vision 2020 goals were focused on environmental stewardship from a mostly operational vantage point. We needed to look across our value chain and craft a more comprehensive set of goals for people and communities and the products we create. 

We also took a cue from our company’s corporate strategic framework, The IP Way Forward. This framework comprises five strategic drivers: Sustaining Forests, Investing in People, Improving the Planet, Innovative Products and Inspired Performance. Tying our sustainability ambitions to this well-rounded framework enabled us to widen the lens and to connect our new goals with all our employees, enabling us to achieve a better future for people, the planet and our company.

I hope you’ll join us at the 2019 Net Impact Conference in Detroit. I’m excited to join Intel’s Director of Corporate Responsibility, Suzanne Fallender, during our panel discussion on Upping the Ante: Setting Sustainability Goals That Work.

Devin Giles

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