A year of supporting local communities

We are proud to announce that we have achieved our annual 2020/21 community engagement target in our Now and Next sustainability strategy; all sites with 50 or more employees to complete a community activity or project each year.

Equipping people to lead the transition to a circular economy

We’re focused on championing the transition to a circular economy, within our industry and beyond. But we cannot build a sustainable future alone. We’re using our expertise to engage 100% of our employees on the circular economy by 2025 and 5 million people on the circular economy and circular lifestyles by 2030.

We operate across hundreds of sites across the world and we have the responsibility to serve and support the communities we operate in. Every DS Smith employee, site, and division has a vital role to play in delivering upon our commitments outlined in the Now and Next Sustainability Strategy. That’s why, through our Strategic Partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we have been focusing on embedding circular economy engagement and training materials into existing development programmes across our business.

A total of 166 DS Smith sites engaged with their communities as of 31 April 2021, with activities occurring almost every other day somewhere at our sites in the last financial year.

How we achieved this target

We delivered 71 Covid-19 related community projects that engaged customers, local policymakers and won hearts and minds. 


Community projects

In Spain

We manufactured and donated 10,000 multipurpose bedside tables made from corrugated cardboard to IFEMA field hospital in Madrid to help during Covid-19.

In Finland

We donated 7000 e-commerce packages for disinfectants so they could be safely delivered to those who needed them.

In France

We manufactured over 100,000 plane and helicopter toy models, partnering with Carrefour supermarket to distribute them to children confined to their homes during their school holidays.

In England

We donated 75,000 boxes to SalutetheNHS.org's campaign to help ship personal care packs to frontline NHS staff.

In Wales

We made a charitable donation of benches made from recycled plastic to the temporary hospital in Bridgend, Wales.

Education is a key part of our community programme and charitable giving. We worked on multiple educational initiatives and created a circular economy lesson plan for use in schools and on digital platforms across the world.


Community projects

IN Hungary

We worked with the Pais Dezső Elementary School to build a new eco-classroom with a rainwater collection system, solar panels, organic garden and compost - creating a space for inspiring education and stimulating eco-consciousness.

In the Netherlands

We developed a circular economy educational package for nearly 200,000 Dutch schoolchildren every year. It included a digital tour of our sites, presented by Anne Appelo, known for presenting on Dutch television.

In Romania

We designed and delivered an educational programme to over 200 children aged 6 -10; teaching them about sustainability and the circular economy.

"This annual target from our Now and Next Sustainability Strategy demonstrates the importance of our employees in helping us achieve our Purpose: ‘Redefining Packaging for a Changing World’. It’s great to see engagement with local communities; each site choosing an initiative or a project which has local significance to them. This is a huge achievement, so I thank all of our employees for their time and effort and look forward to seeing more initiatives over the next year."

— Wouter van Tol, Head of Government, Community Affairs & Sustainability at DS Smith

Our work doesn’t stop here, we’ll aim to achieve this target every year. We’ve also been carrying out local biodiversity projects on our sites or in partnership with local schools, organisations and charities. In fact, we aim to launch 100 biodiversity projects across Europe and North America by 2025.

Our biodiversity target supports EU policy including the EU Biodiversity Strategy’s long term ambition to protect nature and put Europe on track to recover its biodiversity by 2030 and the EU Forestry Strategy’s objective to plant at least 3 billion additional trees in the EU by 2030.