Risk Management

Committed to building robust, effective risk management to quantify, qualify and mitigate specific risks that we may define or discover.


  • Greif’s risk management practices allow us to proactively mitigate adverse impacts on our business, customers and the environment.
  • In 2023, we conducted countrywide risk assessments to identify physical and transitional climate-related risks to our business.
  • We conduct crisis response tabletop exercises on an annual basis to ensure appropriate procedures are in place to respond to unforeseen emergencies. In 2023, we conducted three tabletop exercises related to cyber incidents and how we continue selling, producing and shipping our products to customers even in adverse circumstances.
  • In 2023, we adjusted how our enterprise prioritizes risks, shifting to an impact- and likelihood-based approach.

Why Risk Management Matters

GRI 3-3
Management of material topics

Proactively addressing risks to Greif, our customers and the environment is fundamental to our strategy to achieve long-term success and value creation. Our robust processes not only enhance stability throughout the value chain, but also improve financial predictability and reduce legal liability. By adequately managing risks and fortifying our organization’s resilience, we ensure the excellence of our products, prioritize the safety of our colleagues and customers and uphold our commitments to stakeholders and the environment.


Our comprehensive Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) process diligently assesses risks throughout our global business units. In our continuous effort to refine the ERM system, we engage the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) early in the process, equipping them with actionable information for strategic decision-making. The oversight for risk management comes from the ELT, Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC), Risk Management and Legal/Compliance groups. Additionally, we analyze stakeholder feedback from customers and investors to enhance our risk evaluation.

We integrate sustainability updates and risk statements into our 10-K and proxy statements, ensuring transparent and thorough disclosure. Within Leadership Council meetings, we address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, risks and opportunities. ESG topics continue to be strategic priorities for the Leadership Council, emphasizing the deep integration of sustainability—encompassing climate, waste, circularity and diversity, equity and inclusion—into our organizational culture. Our prioritization of ESG topics shapes the daily behaviors of colleagues and reinforces our risk management processes, as exemplified by the introduction of the Build to Last Strategy.

Our commitment is echoed by the routine reporting of sustainability KPIs to the ELT, vice presidents, business unit leaders and regional leaders. Quarterly sustainability updates are shared with the ELT and Audit Committee, with an annual presentation to the Board of Directors. We provide regular updates across the organization on sustainability-related progress through town halls, webinars, virtual plant tours, quarterly podcasts and weekly internal news update emails.

Greif’s Crisis Management Program enhances our ability to prepare and address potential crises. The system allows us to quickly reach and notify Greif colleagues during emergencies and significant operation-disrupting situations that could pose a danger to colleagues. Alerts are provided via several mechanisms, including text messages, phone calls, email and smartphone app notifications. Greif’s Crisis Response Team utilizes the Greif Crisis Communications Playbook System to swiftly develop communications in response to crises. The system is also used to assemble a team of executive leaders—along with identified backups for each member of the team to always ensure coverage. We also conduct tabletop exercises on a regular basis to test our procedures and ensure we can adequately respond to unforeseen emergencies, see more in the Security section of our report.

Greif draws from various sources, including industry reports, trade associations, ESG ratings and rankings, energy pricing and evolving government regulations and programs to diagnose emerging risks to our business. Greif’s ERM Risk Leader Committee (RLC), led by Greif’s Chief Risk Officer, is comprised by members of Greif’s ELT, Business Unit and Strategic Business Unit Leadership Teams, the Vice President of Sustainability and department leaders, including Legal, IT, Human Resources and Global Supply Chain. In 2023, the RLC was reorganized to include Marketing and Commercial teams.

Once the RLC is provided information on emerging risks, it identifies, reviews and prioritizes them in partnership with Greif’s Audit Committee. This process determines the most critical risks based on potential impact and likelihood. We aim to identify potential opportunities from each of these risks and report them on a quarterly basis to the Audit Committee for approval. Risk mitigation and opportunity capture plans are developed by the RLC once the risks have been adequately evaluated. In 2023, we identified cybersecurity, emerging regulations and inadequate range of sustainable product offerings as key ESG-related risks.

Greif recognizes the importance of developing awareness and understanding for colleagues on the climate-related risks and opportunities for our business. We regularly hold internal workshops and collaborate through cross-functional and diverse teams to identify priority focus areas based on risk. In 2023, we identified the circular economy and the development of lost control projects as two focus areas. Please visit the Circular Manufacturing section of our report to learn more about our circularity programs.

We directly integrate climate-related risks and opportunities into our overall ERM process, complementing information provided by assurance providers. In 2023, we conducted country-level risk assessments to identify physical- and transitional-based risks to our business. This analysis identified flooding and heat stress as high-risk physical hazards for sites across several U.S. and Amsterdam locations, and market volatility as a key transition risk globally. For more information regarding our climate-related risks and opportunities, please see section C2 of our 2023 CDP response.

Goals, Progress & Performance

Greif’s risk prioritization consolidates our organization’s most significant top-down risks. This accounts for the likelihood of occurrence within the next 12 months and the potential impact over the duration of the event. In prioritizing, we also consider factors such as change in the likelihood of occurrence and speed from the onset of the risk to the impact. Our consistent monitoring allows Greif to address risk promptly and ensure companywide stability adequately. 

We evaluate our ongoing progress to mitigate risk and our business’s risk factors through our ERM process. As a result, Greif has earned a risk score of 14.1 from Sustainalytics, indicating our status as a low-risk organization due to our strong risk management practices.