By joining the WBCSD forestry sector SDG roadmap and working with NGOs like WWF, the pulp and paper company is trying to help drive transformation at scale. Mark Hillsdon reports

Mondi is one of the world’s leading paper and packaging companies, with well-publicised commitments to reporting on its SDG impacts. In the last 12 months the company has bolstered this commitment with the launch of a new SDG Index designed to improve reporting practices, while also signing up to a new forest sector roadmap that links directly to the SDGs.

The SDG Index is an online document that maps the SDGs and their respective targets against the company’s latest sustainable development report. “Integrating the SDGs into our reporting brings better focus and perspective to our sustainability thinking and messaging, strengthening our social relevance as a business,” explains Gladys Naylor, the group’s head of sustainable development.

“The index communicates our efforts to our stakeholders and is a way to engage employees on sustainability issues. It also provides a valuable learning tool for sharing good practice across the business and beyond.”

SDGs have provided a great platform for us to demonstrate the value of these partnerships, and the progress we have made on the ground

Mondi works with a number of local and global NGOs, including WWF and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, says Naylor. “SDGs have provided a great platform for us to demonstrate the value of these partnerships, and the progress we have made on the ground.”

This sense of multi-stakeholder collaboration is shown in Mondi’s involvement with the new forestry sector roadmap, developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Covering six specific SDGs, including responsible consumption and production (12) and climate action (13), it shows how the forestry sector can use the SDGs as a lens to respond to societal and environmental trends.

The roadmap also flags up the work Mondi has carried out in South Africa through the WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship Partnership, which since 2014 has been promoting a landscape approach to protecting the water in the uMhlathuze catchment area. The collaborative nature of the project has brought in other forestry growers, as well as the wider agricultural sector, and is helping to deliver a trio of SDGs, including clean water and sanitation (6).

Mondi has been focussing on safety at work in line with SDG 8. (Credit: Mondi)

Another key goal for the business revolves round SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth. With around 26,000 employees across 33 countries, promoting good working conditions and high standards of employment and human rights are essential for our business, explains Naylor. “Increasingly, we are working on behavioural and social aspects of safety at work, to influence greater and more lasting change.”

In 2018, Mondi launched its “think twice” safety campaign, using employee stories of life-altering injuries to bring home the importance of safety. The videos and posters demonstrated the impact of workplace decisions and the severe consequences of unsafe behaviour. “We are determined to go beyond ticking boxes to build a safe culture for our workforce,” says Naylor.

Lead2030 is a great example of how large, global corporations can support youth led startups in order to positively impact the SDGs

Mondi also works with One Young World, the global forum for young leaders supporting youth-led innovation that can contribute to the SDGs. Specifically, the company sponsors the SDG 12 challenge, part of its Lead2030 programme, supporting projects working towards a global waste future. Last year’s winner was Hope Wakio Mwanake, who developed Eco Tiles – roof tiles made from recycled plastics, which are now being widely used by local builders in Kenya – on the back of $50,000 of new investment and business coaching from Mondi.

“We believe that collaboration is key in achieving the SDGs, and Lead2030 is a great example of how large, global corporations can support youth-led startups in order to positively impact the SDGs,” adds Naylor. 

This article is part of the Reporting the SDGs briefing. See also:

Making the rubber hit the road in drive to achieve SDGs by 2030

WBCSD  WWF  Ellen Macarthur Foundation  water stewardship  WASH 

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