Sustainability is one of our core principles, and it drives everything from how we harvest trees and manufacture goods to how we help improve the communities where we live, work and play. Sustainability makes good financial sense, but it also goes hand in hand with our safety culture and how we care for our colleagues.
“At Domtar, we consider safety as part of our sustainability,” says Paige Goff, vice president of sustainability. “Helping our employees and other stakeholders make that connection strengthens our work in both areas.”
Goff spoke at the 2019 HSE Insight Summit in South Carolina about strengthening the connection between sustainability and a company’s safety culture. Here are four takeaways:
1. Align health and wellness with safety and sustainability.
Sustainability isn’t just about protecting our natural resources; it’s also, literally, how we sustain strong performance. A healthy and experienced workforce contributes to economic and environmental sustainability.
We connect our wellness initiatives with safety goals because we know that healthy employees may be less likely to have accidents at work. “Our experience shows that colleagues who struggle with chronic health conditions have an additional burden in performing their jobs safely,” says Larry Warren, senior director for health and safety at Domtar.
Incorporating wellness tips and reminding employees of the physical and mental health resources available to them are just two ways we integrate health initiatives into our safety culture.
2. Bring internal investment to safety and sustainability.
Sustainability, like safety, does not operate in a silo. Leaders in both areas must cultivate the belief that everyone in the company is responsible for sustainability and our safety culture, Goff says.
This belief helps individuals see themselves as accountable for helping us promote sustainability and maintain our safety culture while meeting our business goals and serving as responsible corporate citizens.
3. Communicate clearly and encourage accountability.
Sharing our sustainability story includes talking about our safety culture. In our 2019 Sustainability Report, we highlighted key statistics about our safety performance and our journey toward meeting our safety goal, which ranks among our top priorities.
Communicating sustainability and safety together helps not only employees but also investors, customers and prospective employees to understand our commitment to these principles. Sharing our goals, progress and challenges also helps build credibility with our nonprofit partners, such as the Rainforest Alliance and World Wildlife Fund.
4. Celebrate sustainability and our safety culture to recruit and retain employees.
Millennials and younger employees care about environmental issues and want more holistic health benefits. Communicating about our sustainability initiatives, our safety culture and our focus on wellness will benefit us in both recruiting the next generation of employees and retaining our valuable workforce.
“The people we want to hire and keep want to work for a company that is making a difference in their communities and in their own lives, as well as keeping the environment in good standing for generations to come,” Goff says.
Learn more about our safety culture.