MILES ROBERTS, GROUP CEO AT DS SMITH:
"As DS Smith responds to the global Coronavirus crisis, my first thought is always with our people who have remained steadfast in these challenging times. Their continued health and wellbeing is my priority, but I also recognise the critical role DS Smith and the wider packaging industry has to play right now, right across global, national and regional supply chains. Our packaging is predominantly used to transport and protect food and personal care items or to deliver goods to peoples’ homes through e-commerce. We also serve the vitally important pharmaceutical sector and it is these sectors that we are prioritising in the days and weeks to come.
This means that we are supporting our customers to deliver food direct to supermarket shelves, or to ensure that medicines or medical equipment are able to be shipped to where it is needed most. Our design teams are working flat out to develop bespoke packaging to allow retailers to support vulnerable citizens and give them access to everyday essentials through drop and go packages. We are also working with customers that are adapting their production to develop much needed protective equipment like facemasks so they can be shipped to those on the front line.
It is the continued production of paper and packaging that allows these goods to get to where they are most needed and that’s why our teams continue to go to work every day to run these operations and support our customers’ businesses. I am immensely proud of the way in which they have responded to this challenge. While we haven’t faced significant disruption, our sites are pulling together to support each other, to transfer orders and ensure we don’t let our customers down. This is a testament to the values we have embedded right across the business."
STEFANO ROSSI, CEO, PACKAGING DIVISION AT DS SMITH:
"We have an important role in society, which is very evident during the current global Coronavirus crisis, as our packaging solutions allow continued distribution of essential goods such as food and medical supplies. We work in close partnership with our customers and others to ensure essential products reach their destination safely, be it to the retailers, people’s homes or medical facilities.
Our first and foremost priority is always the health and wellbeing of our people and I’m immensely proud of the DS Smith team across every country that make this happen. They continue to deliver with quality and service as well as respond to new needs with incredible speed. All our plants are up and running, and our ability to continue production is further growing the trust from our customers."
ALEX MANISTY, GROUP HEAD OF STRATEGY AT DS SMITH:
"With a third of the world’s population currently in lockdown, we’re beginning to see structural changes to the way society operates, particularly with regards to purchasing habits and e-commerce. Some online retailers and food suppliers are experiencing extraordinarily busy periods as more people try out home delivery while social distancing, making packaging a crucial element in these supply chains. With home delivery during this period a first-time experience for many, we can also foresee potential long-term structural changes to the market as they continue to rely on the ease and flexibility of having goods delivered directly to their homes even after the lockdown has been lifted.
In the meantime, being able to deliver critical goods to people at home is now more important than ever, and at DS Smith we are committed to continuing to ensure this access to vital goods including food, medicines and daily essentials. We are doing everything we can to support both our customers and communities, developing new stackable cardboard box technologies to reduce contact, providing solutions to customers at the forefront of these critical sectors and giving back to our communities through our charitable foundation."
COLIN MCINTYRE, CEO OF PAPER AND RECYCLING DIVISIONS AT DS SMITH:
"At DS Smith we are committed to working with all customers to make sure they can continue to provide essential goods and services in these challenging times. A vital part of that is working to ensure we can continue to manage recycled packaging through our paper and packaging manufacturing operations.
As one of the largest recyclers in Europe, DS Smith manages over 5.5 million tonnes of paper for recycling every year and we are well-positioned to draw on our Europe-wide infrastructure to ensure there is no cardboard shortage where it is needed most. In particular, we have seen a spike in packaging for recycling delivered from the grocery retail sector, driven by increased consumer demand during this crisis. We are working closely with collectors of materials from households and encouraging them to maintain collections during this crisis. The continued supply of essential raw materials underpins the critical work of the paper and packaging industry in keeping essential goods moving."
KEITH LEDBETTER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, NORTH AMERICA AT DS SMITH:
"We are in unprecedented times. None of us has seen a global health pandemic that is truly changing our daily lives so profoundly, and I want to thank all our colleagues for their tremendous response to the COVID-19 crisis so far.
The past few weeks allow us to reflect even more on our commitment to our employees. The health and wellbeing of our employees and communities continues to be our number one priority and we will monitor and react to the situation with that in mind.
Importantly, we have been designated as an essential manufacturer in all jurisdictions. In examining this a bit further, over 80% of our customers are also deemed essential. Our continued production is a critical component to a supply chain that involves feeding people, healthcare, and eCommerce among others, and it is critical we do our best to maintain these essential services.
We have several customers that are indeed changing their own production to produce masks, sanitizers, and other healthcare devices and we fully support these changes by designing and delivering packaging that will get these critical products to their end-user as efficiently as possible. As a company and as employees, we should be proud of the fact that we are recognized as an essential supplier and continue to operate our plants and fulfill our commitments to our customers.
I cannot stress enough how proud I am of how our organization has reacted to this crisis. We have not experienced significant disruption despite the uncertainty and fear a situation like this creates.
As we face the difficult few weeks ahead for our nation, it will indeed require us to be as agile and flexible as ever so that we continue to fulfil our important role in manufacturing and to support our customers. I am confident with the team we have we will in fact do so."
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams are working around the clock to keep vital supplies of food and medicine moving to the people and places that need it most. Packaging is often overlooked but it is a critical way that vital supplies of any life giving or saving products can reach where they need to be. Our partners are setting us new challenges in this time and we are finding the will and resources to respond when they need us the most.
But helping our communities is more important now than ever before. Not just through the shock of the health crisis now but how we rebuild our local economies, livelihoods and culture once this terrible moment has passed.
We are always humbled and appreciative of what the communities that are home to our factories give us. We aim to give back and work with local schools, charities and causes to offer help where it is needed the most.
From Kemsley to Krusevac, Tampere to Timisoara, and in over 300 locations across the world, our employees are embodying our values and helping communities. Whether it’s by donating time and expertise or by raising money to support local causes, our teams are being caring, tenacious and responsive, and making a real difference.
We have a wonderful business and lots of cutting-edge capability, but nothing makes me prouder of working at DS Smith than when our people look to help others.