OUR COMMUNITY COMMITMENT
Victorian Bushfire Appeal
Despite the difficult economic times, PaperlinX companies have continued to support the communities around them in any way they can. In response to the devastating bushfires that descended upon Victoria in February 2009, PaperlinX and their employees in Australia donated over $50,000 to charities associated with bushfire relief. Some employees also gave their time to volunteer at relief centres set up to assist those affected.
|ACHIEVEMENTS 2009||GOALS 2009|
Through its Sustainability Charter, PaperlinX has a made a broad commitment to support communities in which it operates.
Working within Communities
As one of the largest private-sector employers in Tasmania, we recognise that the business decisions we make can have a significant impact on the local communities in which we operate.
During the year, we have been carrying out a review of the economic sustainability of our two mills in Tasmania and have been in close consultation with key stakeholders within the community, including government, as we consider carefully all options available to us. We expect to announce the outcome of the review in the first half of the 2010 financial year.
From our Australian mills, we work with nearby communities on continuously improving our environmental performance. We host public tours and open days, we have open dialogue with environmental groups, and we support local community organisations.
Our many operating companies around the world provide a broad range of community support through charitable contributions of cash and paper, commercial sponsorships for industry support, cause-related marketing initiatives and employee involvement activities. All of these activities are led by local management to support local organisations.
We have a Community Consultative Forum for the Company’s Australian manufacturing sites to gain feedback on our operations and to better understand community concerns. These long-standing forums involve people representing diverse organisations that have an interest in the mills’ operations. These groups provide a valuable contribution to the development of an annual Environmental Improvement Plan that forms part of a site’s Environmental Management Plan, addressing issues such as air and noise emissions, and water and energy use improvements.
During the past year, we completed the upgrade of the pulp capacity at Maryvale Mill in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, ahead of the sale of Australian Paper (excluding Tasmanian operations) to Nippon Paper Group. The upgrade delivered a range of safety, health and environmental benefits although the development work caused several short-term environmental disturbances involving odour, noise and waste that relate specifically to planned shutdowns and start-ups. We worked with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on these issues and advised nearby communities in advance through local media and other communications.
Our businesses also hold briefings throughout the year to provide community and environmental groups with the latest information on the environmental performance of our manufacturing operations and the paper products we market.
Our key areas of support are learning and creativity, the environment, health and wellbeing. This support takes on numerous forms and our challenge remains to improve measurement and reporting of our community activities across all our operations, particularly paper donations.
Over the past year, we have reduced some of our community partnership activities, including putting on hold our planned workplace giving programme. Yet despite the difficult times, many of our operating companies have continued to develop their corporate responsibility programmes and strengthen their community connections. For example, Atmosphere, which was launched in our Canadian operations last year, has now been rolled out in Australia. Atmosphere is a platform which focuses on making a social contribution while also driving behavioural change in the workplace to measurably improve environmental performance.
Across our many businesses, the spirit of giving and involvement has continued, with employees assisting in the raising of funds and volunteering for local events and good causes to support charities and communities we work with. In addition to involvement in large, national charities, such as Robert Horne Group’s link-up with the children’s charity Childline in the UK, many individual sites also get involved with charities specific to their local community. For example, employees at Spicers Paper’s Union City branch in the United States donated food to the San Francisco Food Bank, which delivers food to community food programmes in the area, while its Minnesota branch collects toys for the U.S. Marines-sponsored ‘Toys for Tots’ campaign. Other examples of our community support worldwide include:
- PaperCo in the UK has made Macmillan Cancer Support its company charity, pledging to fund a Macmillan nurse to help and support cancer patients and their families for 100 days. And in readiness for the London Olympics in 2012, PaperCo has become a partner of Team Superschools, which involves promoting sport to young people under the age of 16.
- Since partnering with Landcare Australia in 2003, Spicers Paper Australia has donated $0.5 million as part of the Spicers Paper Recreate Program. On World Environment Day on 5 June, Spicers Paper also sponsored the Your Planet Needs You campaign by donating $2.00 for every person registering their interest in becoming a Landcare volunteer.
- Coast Paper in Canada has been supporting the United Way for four years through employee pledges and corporate donations. United Way provides the infrastructure for community giving and relies on employees to champion fundraising activities within their company.
- For several years, PaperlinX has supported the work of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) by donating paper for its quarterly magazine and annual report.
Supporting Design and Printing Communities
Many of our businesses are actively involved in providing paper education and supporting professional development to build the talent and creativity of printing and design communities around the world such as the Spicers Paperpoint School in Australia.
We are involved in creating industry awards to support excellence in print and design for professionals and students. In the UK, Howard Smith Paper Group held their third Graphic Design and Print Awards this year to promote the value and benefits of graphic communications. PaperCo supports Brief Encounters, an annual awards scheme to promote commercial design to UK degree students. Now in its ninth year, Robert Horne Group’s Shout awards in the UK recognise innovation, excellence and creativity in design and print on materials from the Robert Horne Group range.
We work with a number of industry groups in Europe, North America and Australia to tackle specific issues that arise.