Substantial progress on sustainability

Smurfit Kappa ahead on green targets

The latest Smurfit Kappa Sustainable Development Report
The latest Smurfit Kappa Sustainable Development Report

Figures in Smurfit Kappa’s 17th Sustainable Development Report show the group has surpassed four of its key targets and made substantial progress in other areas.

The report, published on 19 March, examines the company’s efforts and progress last year in achieving targets set out in its Better Planet 2050 plan. 

Between January and December 2023 Smurfit Kappa reduced waste sent to landfill by 35.8%, ahead of its 2025 target of 30%. Additionally, 95.5% of packaging was sold with Chain of Custody certification, ahead of a 95% target for 2025. The company donated €25.6m to social, environmental and community initiatives, surpassing its 2025 target by €1.6m and on its diversity target 25.1% of management positions were held by women by the end of 2023, just passing its 2024 target of 25%. 

Commenting on the figures, group chief executive of Smurfit Kappa Tony Smurfit said he was proud of the progress the business had made on its sustainability goals, particularly the Better Planet 2050 targets.

“This not only reflects the dedication of our people and the effectiveness of our investment programmes, but it shows our unwavering commitment to supporting our local communities, creating a better planet and delivering a low carbon, circular future.”

The report also highlights a number of other significant areas in the company’s efforts towards meeting wider sustainability targets including its early adoption of the Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures, the installation of 12,000 solar panels at the Sanguesa papermill in Spain, and a €27m (£23.2m) investment in a new waste management and recovery facility at the Nervion paper mill in Spain.

Furthermore, the report highlights the inauguration of a pioneering purification and wastewater treatment plant in Belgrade, Serbia, the country’s first, as well as further progress in its $100m (£79.3m) biomass project set to start up in Colombia in 2025. 

Smurfit Kappa’s chief sustainability officer, Garrett Quinn, said: “Our latest Sustainable Development Report highlights several landmark achievements that are delivering today across our sustainability commitments. In addition to the performance in 2023, Smurfit Kappa continues to take action now to deliver on a more sustainable future through areas such as: collaborative projects on decarbonisation; the early adoption of the TNFD; and the focus of all our employees on delivering a manufacturing process that is as sustainable as our product.” 

Elsewhere in the Smurfit Kappa group, Peter Thomas has been named as the new managing director of Smurfit Kappa Security Concepts (SKSC) from 1 May 2024.

He will take the reins from Tom O’Mahony, who is retiring after 33 years with the company. 

Thomas joined SKSC in 1997 as sales manager, progressing to general manager of the Northern Ireland site between 2010 and 2015. He then worked for the Tall Group before rejoining SKSC in 2023 as managing director designate.

He said: “The next stage is extremely exciting as we have a vital role to play. The world is in the midst of digital transformation, with countries at different stages, but all with increased vulnerabilities. Our solutions help secure borders, protect citizens, prevent fraud, generate revenue and for corporate clients can also strengthen brand integrity by mitigating loss across the supply chain while protecting revenue. 

“I would like to thank Tom for everything he has done to ensure we are in great shape to face these future challenges.”

O’Mahony said: “I wish Peter and the team every success. I have enjoyed my time here, building a company with its roots in Ireland, where we honed our skills and expertise on award-winning projects including the Irish Passport before bringing that experience to support organisations around the world. 

“I have worked hard to make this a good place to work where we look after people and are part of the local community. I hope that is part of my legacy.”