Stakeholder Engagement & Materiality

Stakeholder Engagement & Materiality

GRI 102-49
Changes in reporting

We published our first sustainability report in 2009. While Greif has experienced incredible success in the past 13 years, we continue to evolve and refine the way we approach sustainability. In 2021, we enhanced the sustainability programs that make our company efficient, enhanced the management of our material topics, engaged internal and external stakeholders on sustainability and worked to further integrate Caraustar into our organization and our sustainability strategies. Our 2021 GRI Core report showcases our accomplishments and progress on our long-term sustainability goals.

Value Chain

GRI 102-9
Supply chain
Greif’s value chain consists of raw material suppliers, transportation and distribution partners, customers, life cycle services and external stakeholders that influence our activities.
chaîne de valeur

Materiality Assessment Process

GRI 102-42 | 102-43
Identifying and selecting stakeholders


Approach to stakeholder engagement

In 2017, Greif conducted our first materiality assessment to identify and prioritize our material sustainability topics, identify and engage our key stakeholders and
inform our sustainability strategies, reporting and communications. The assessment was led by a third-party and conducted in accordance with industry best practices for material topic identification and stakeholder engagement. In late 2020, we refreshed our materiality assessment to ensure our sustainability strategy addresses current and emerging stakeholder expectations. As part of the materiality refresh process we:

  • Reviewed a wide range of source documents to determine potentially material topics, including:
  • Greif’s vision, strategic priorities, CEO scorecard, business unit strategies and colleague engagement survey
  • In depth interviews conducted with customers as part of the “Voice of the Customer” project
  • Peer sustainability reports
  • ESG investment analyst reports
  • Industry association priorities
  • Global sustainability trend reports
  • Conducted interviews and surveys with Greif leadership and external stakeholders and reviewed additional publicly available sources to collect feedback on material topics
  • Consolidated feedback from interviews and surveys to prioritize our most material topics

Through the interview, survey and document review process, participants were asked to identify and provide specific evidence to reveal topics that posed impact, risk and/or opportunity for Greif. Participants were asked to consider impact, risk and opportunity in terms of financial gains or losses, reputation and trends that may alter the way Greif creates value and provide specific examples in support of their answers.

Through this process we prioritized 17 material issues based on their importance to internal and external stakeholders, adding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as a new material topic. We incorporated the results of the assessment into our sustainability strategy and significantly increased our focus on climate and circularity. The results of the assessment were reviewed and validated with Greif’s leadership during a third party-led validation workshop and serve as the basis for our reporting.

Material Topics

GRI 102-40 | 102-44 | 102-46 | 102-47
List of stakeholder groups


Key topics and concerns raised


Defining report content and topic Boundaries


List of material topics


Greif’s most recent stakeholder engagement and materiality assessment process validated many topics that have historically been important to our company and our stakeholders. The process resulted in identifying the 17 most highly material issues described below. These issues guide and form our sustainability strategies. Our sustainability reporting serves to address topics that are of high concern to each group, as indicated below, and yielded topic owners in Greif and goals for 2025 and 2030. We continue to strengthen our approach to managing and addressing the opportunities available to our company.

Throughout this report you will learn about our goals, management approach and performance for our material topics.

Material Topic Boundary Stakeholders Engaged, Types of Stakeholder Engagement & Concerns Raised
    Greif’s Board of
Directors & Leaders
Customers Investors Society/Community Environment
Types of Engagement Daily interactions, impact mapping interviews, materiality assessment survey, quarterly updates on sustainabiltiy Daily interactions, bi-annual satisfaction surveys, materiality assessment interviews Daily interactions, investor day events, materiality assessment interviews Community engagement (face-to-face meetings, interviews, survey), community service events Greif LCA, interviews with sustainability experts (e.g., WBCSD)
Delivering Superior Customer Experience
Product Quality
Producing products that maintain high performance and value through superior design and manufacturing across facilities, driving customer satisfaction and averting throw-away dynamics.
All internal operations; during use      
Customer Service Excellence
Creating effective policies, systems, best practices and incentives that drive the highest level of customer service; taking into account customer feedback regularly and having systems in place to address their needs; outperforming competitors.
All internal operations; all customers    
Reducing Our Footprint
Environmental Management Systems
Utilizing a comprehensive environmental management system with dedicated environmental management resources (i.e. personnel, budget, etc.), an environmental policy, certifications (e.g., ISO 14001) and compliance.
All internal operations  
Climate Strategy
Creating a climate strategy to address risks, opportunities and impacts such as changes in energy and emissions regulation (carbon taxes, efficiency regulations, etc.), increasing operational costs, renewable energy, natural disaster preparedness and social impacts; managing and reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
All internal operations
Reducing water use, particularly in facilities with significant water use and water stressed regions; returning wastewater to a safe state.
PPS operations  
Managing and reducing waste (hazardous and non-hazardous) in Greif’s operations; reducing waste to landfill; reclaiming waste and byproducts for beneficial reuse.
All internal operations  
Addressing Risk
Ethics & Compliance
Maintaining governance structures, practices and training that promotes ethical behavior and steering clear of anti-competitive behaviors (bribery, corruption, etc.).
All internal operations; all suppliers    
Risk Management & Business Continuity
Regularly conducting risk assessments that include environmental, social and governance factors: determining high-risk suppliers (only one supplier), high risk/politically unstable regions (e.g., weather impacts in Houston) and potential labor-related work stoppages; putting plans in place to ensure uninterrupted supply, operations and delivery to customers (e.g., qualifying backup suppliers).
All internal operations; all suppliers    
Adopting a proactive approach to information security—including personal data and intellectual property—taking into account not only Greif’s internal level of protection, but also the security of the entities with whom Greif is connected (suppliers, employees, customers, etc.); taking necessary measures to ensure that Greif’s customers’ customers receive what they order versus counterfeit products.
All internal operations      
Valuing Our People
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Ensuring fair hiring processes and a non-discriminatory work environment; fostering an inclusive and diverse culture that reflects the communities where Greif operates; striving to achieve equitable pay and treatment among all employees, regardless of any characteristics such as race, ethnicity, color, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, language, religion, creed, social status, disability, or any other legally protected class.
All internal operations          
Talent Attraction, Development & Retention
Attracting and retaining qualified and talented employees, managers and executives. Cultivating a culture of growth and development through education, training, mentorship, performance reviews, coaching, etc.
All internal operations    
Health & Safety
Promoting and practicing the highest standards of workplace health, safety and well-being through management systems, targets, policies, programs, trainings, certifications, audits and compliance.
All internal operations; Community  
Human Rights & Fair Labor Practices
Ensuring compliance with laws, standards and internal policies on topics within the realm of human rights and fair labor practices such as child labor, forced labor, fair remuneration, human trafficking, working conditions, freedom of association, collective bargaining, discrimination and conflict-free minerals.
All internal operations; all suppliers  
Advancing Circular Economy
Carefully considering raw material inputs and alternative and recycled materials (e.g., post-consumer resins, water-based paints and linings, recycled wood pallets) based on environmental and social impacts; reducing the amount of materials used in Greif’s products; taking customers’ specific needs and Greif’s expertise and using that to drive innovative, customized solutions to drive business growth.
All internal operations; suppliers; customers  
Circular Economy
Advancing the circular economy within the packaging industry by taking actions that enable reconditioning, reuse and recycling of products at end of life, including avoiding mixtures of plastics and developing designs that enable recycling (e.g. fully recyclable fibre drums); educating and incentivizing customers to return/recycle Greif’s packaging materials; creating policies, processes, targets and tools to support these efforts.
Reconditioning operations; reconditioning partners; customers
Supply Chain Management
All internal operations; all suppliers; trucking partners
Financial Performance & Profitable Growth
Financial Performance & Profitable Growth
Maintaining a sustainable business model by implementing integrated economic practices that allow Greif to provide economic value to its stakeholders (e.g. employees, suppliers, and shareholders) and invest in long-term growth.
All internal operations    




Our people—principled, intelligent and reliable—reaffirm our reputation for integrity every day with their every action.


Years of Experience

For the past 145 years, the world’s most important products have travelled around the world in Greif industrial packaging