The Three Pillars of Sustainability


AF&PA members are an integral part of the communities in which they operate, often having provided jobs and taxes there for more than 100 years. They have a variety of programs to promote the well-being of their employees and the communities.

New AF&PA member employees who received safety training in 2014

AF&PA members who offer apprenticeships or internships to college students

AF&PA members who have either a charitable giving program or a corporate foundation to promote philanthropic activities

Safety and Employee Well-Being

The safety of our workers is of paramount concern for our members. Injuries to employees are unacceptable, which is why the industry has a vision of zero injuries in the workplace. Our members continually work to develop innovative methods to realize this vision, such as developing protective gear specially designed for potentially hazardous situations encountered by workers.

The industry recognizes that we still have further to go before we realize our vision of an injury-free workplace. In addition to our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 goal, AF&PA and our members have embarked on a separate project to address the issue of serious injuries and fatalities at facilities.

AF&PA members have a variety of programs to promote the well-being of their employees and the communities where they operate. In addition to required safety training for 100 percent of new employees and providing
useful and timely safety updates, member companies offer employees health risk assessments and health promotion programs, as well as hosting on-site health fairs. Many of our members offer education on a variety of issues, including diet and weight management, high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking cessation, stress and substance abuse.

Promoting our workforce

Beyond health and safety, our members are dedicated to helping their employees realize their full professional potential. Fifty-nine percent of AF&PA member companies support their employees’ continuing education and career development efforts through reimbursement of college tuition or external programs, in-house training or sabbaticals.

The average age of a U.S. paper and wood products industry employee is 46.9 years.  To educate and train a new generation of paper manufacturers, 68 percent of AF&PA member companies offer apprenticeships or internships to college, university and technical institute students. And 48 percent work with colleges, universities or technical institutes to develop curricula that will produce trained graduates.

Award Winner

2015 Leadership in Sustainability Award for Safety

Resolute Forest Products’ Working Towards Zero Incidents Project

A multi-disciplinary task force at Resolute Forest Products took the initiative to design a safer, watertight, more comfortable, breathable chemical protective suit that is appropriate for all mill-related working requirements. In addition, the new suits can be used for at least a year, as opposed to the previous disposable suits, of which employees used and discarded many per month.

Improving Water Transport, Improving Lives

Greif’s PackH2O™ Backpacks

Greif’s PackH2O™ backpacks answer the need for clean, easy-to- carry means of transporting and storing household water in regions where water must be transported by foot from source to home and disaster areas with limited access to clean water. Seven times lighter and seven times smaller than an average plastic jerrycan, PackH2O TM backpacks ease the burden of water transport for women and children, while reducing spills and waste and helping to keep water clean. At the end of 2014, PackH2O™ backpacks were present in 35 countries on four continents.

Employee Volunteerism and Community Giving to Improve the Environment

Clearwater Paper Corporation’s Environmental Restoration Project

Clearwater Paper joined forces with the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute on a multiyear restoration project at Lindsay Creek, Idaho, a highly visible area that had deteriorated over the years. Clearwater Paper donates an annual $10,000, and employees have volunteered hundreds of hours planting trees, weeding and providing general clean-up services for the Lindsay Creek stream bank, helping to radically improve the wildlife habitat, water quality and the area’s visual appeal.

Transforming Communities, One Tree at a Time

Boise Paper’s Project UP TM Initiative

Boise Paper, a division of Packaging Corporation of America, created Project UP™, which turns abandoned urban spaces into neighborhood gathering places where families and individuals can come together, relax and thrive. Boise Paper provides the financial support for every Project UP™ park and partners with the Arbor Day Foundation, community leaders, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers to revitalize these neglected spaces into parks that help the planet, people and economy prosper.

Providing Insights and Exposure

Monadnock Paper Mills’ High School Program

At the local Conval Regional High School in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Monadnock Paper Mills participates in a STEM program that helps to prepare students for occupations such as industrial manufacturing after they graduate. Monadnock opens their facilities to allow students to explore aspects of their operations like testing methods, capital process, and quality control.

Partnerships for Success

Sonoco’s University Programs

Sonoco executives participate on the boards of The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University and The Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.  Through semester-long partnerships, students from these schools gain class credits through work with Sonoco on real-world business projects, providing experience to the students and fresh perspective and recruiting opportunities to Sonoco.


Our industry may support entire communities as the primary employer in many rural areas.