Guiding International Paper toward sustainability leadership

As the world’s largest producer of fiber-based packaging, pulp, and paper, International Paper is an important supplier to some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Whether it’s corrugated boxes for shipping, recyclable cups and food service items, packaging for consumer goods, absorbent products for health and hygiene, or printing papers, most people come into contact with International Paper products on a daily basis.

The challenge

Sustainability is encoded in International Paper’s business DNA. Their longstanding efforts include, among others, a leading employee safety program, strong partnerships with NGOs and community organizations, and substantial investments to reduce waste, water use, and emissions. However, the company was not connecting its sustainability and business strategies through a cohesive story to its stakeholders. The company needed internal alignment, strategy, and storytelling platform to help amplify its impact.

Our solution

Over the years, our work with International Paper has focused on one goal: to achieve a deeper, more meaningful integration of Global Citizenship throughout the company, and to help transform global citizenship from something IP does “in addition to” its core business to something that is embedded as an integral part of the company’s diverse range of global businesses. In short — to change the corporate culture.

Our work has included both top-down and bottom-up efforts. At the highest level, thinkPARALLAX has helped guide International Paper’s executives, directors, and key leadership through the process of updating its corporate mission and vision. We also developed a strategic framework and platform for global citizenship.

At the grassroots level, thinkPARALLAX has worked directly with a variety of marketing, communications, and business teams to ensure that key messaging and engagement efforts were appropriately tailored to meet the unique needs of each of International Paper’s wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

Culture change doesn’t happen overnight, and the process of embedding global citizenship in a company with 55,000 employees in 24 countries takes time. But ultimately, we’re confident that the work we’re doing will result in greater alignment, a stronger corporate reputation, a more competitive employer brand, higher levels of engaged employees, and ultimately will better position International Paper to deliver long-term, sustainable value for its many stakeholders for generations to come.

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Key outcomes

Key Outcomes

Fostered leadership alignment around strategically integrating sustainability

Developed a new vision, mission, and strategic framework that aligns business and sustainability priorities

Activated the new brand platform through reporting and communications that engaged all key stakeholder groups in unique ways, yet with a consistent story

“Thanks for the outstanding strategic and tactical support. Your contributions helped us to find our voice, and are changing the trajectory of our company. Our leaders and colleagues are embracing our new direction and acting in alignment with The IP Way Forward. Continuing to work with thinkPARALLAX will enable us to achieve our vision of being among the most successful, sustainable, and responsible companies in the world.”

Tom Cleves
VP, Global Citizenship, International Paper
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