Today’s businesses — especially those in manufacturing — are facing more questions from customers and consumers about the sustainability of their products and practices. Domtar, a part of the Paper Excellence group of companies, is proud to take a comprehensive view of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and to share our story as a sustainability leader through our ESG approach.
Paige Goff, Domtar’s vice president of sustainability, recently spoke to business leaders at an MX.0Southeast event focused on data-driven, resilient and sustainable manufacturing. She shared more about the comprehensive structure of Domtar’s ESG approach and outlook.
When people talk about costs as a barrier to being more sustainable, Goff counters that it’s more expensive to do nothing.
“There is an initial investment, but it pays off in the long run,” she says. “Our customers expect us to do the right thing and be responsible stewards of the environment. Our reputational risk is their reputational risk.”
Similarly, she says, an effective ESG approach is important for recruiting and retaining talent.
Understanding Our ESG Approach
The E in ESG gets the most attention, with the emphasis on environmental responsibility and care for natural resources. It’s an area where Domtar has been a leader, particularly in forestry.
But the G also plays a crucial role in our ESG approach. Governance is how we connect the dots from senior leadership to the frontlines of manufacturing, Goff says. Our ESG committee includes leaders from across the organization with a diverse collection of roles and responsibilities.
To lead efforts on our six sustainability priorities, we created working groups with subject matter experts in each area. These groups focus on putting into practice the improvements that will advance us in each priority area — water, waste, emissions, fiber sourcing, safety, community engagement, and diversity and inclusion.
“Though carbon is the ‘it’ word right now,” Goff says, “we have long been focused on the bigger picture. Our ESG committee is deliberate about our environmental stewardship in a broad range of areas, including water management, responsible fiber procurement, transportation and more.
“These really take our efforts beyond just carbon and emissions — though that’s important — to see how we can improve in a number of areas.”
Additionally, she says, the S in ESG cannot be overlooked.
“Our social responsibility is important to us,” she says. “We have a legacy of being a good neighbor in our communities, long before ESG was its name. We continue to invest in the places where we operate so that our employees and our communities will thrive together.”