Sustainability Report

Each year we publish a comprehensive sustainability report detailing progress against our sustainability objectives. Read our latest Sustainability Report to learn about the progress made in the past year and discover how we are leading the way in sustainability.

DS Smith Sustainability Report 2021 communicates our progress on delivering our Now and Next sustainability strategy. Since launching Now and Next, we’ve made tremendous progress - replacing problem plastics, taking carbon out of supply chains and providing innovative recycling solutions as we scale up circular solutions for our customers and society. 

2020/21 Performance Highlights 

  • 100% of our designers trained on our Circular Design Principles 
  • -4% reduction in CO2e per tonne of production compared to last year 
  • -23% reduction in CO2e per tonne of production compared to 2015
  • -5% reduction in water abstraction per tonne of like-for-like paper production compared to last year 
  • -32% reduction in waste to landfill per tonne of like-for-like paper production compared to last year 
  • 37.5% female representation on Plc Board 
  • -14% reduction in Lost Time Accidents (LTAs) versus last year 
  • 57 biodiversity projects launched in our local communities
  • AA MSCI score improved compared to A last year
  • A- Circulytics score improved compared to B+ last year 

Sustainability Report 2021


Sustainability Report 2021 is our first progress update since launching our Now and Next Sustainability Strategy, focused on the sustainability challenges we face today, as well as those that will impact future generations. 

We celebrate achieving seven of our Now and Next Sustainability Strategy targets, from training 100% of our designers on our Circular Design Principles to implementing water stress mitigation plans at 100% of our sites at risk of water stress. We maintained that 100% of our papers are recycled or chain of custody certified, 100% of our forests hold forest management certification, 100% of our in-scope sites hold FSC® certification, 100% of our in-scope sites hold ISO 50001 certification and 100% of our in-scope sites engage in community activities. 

We showcase packaging solutions that activate the circular economy, with customer and partner case studies of innovative, circular design that provides consumers with greater choice and convenience, whilst limiting the impact on the planet. 

We share how we are embedding circular economy thinking into everything we do, from our Circular Design Metrics, which help our customers make more sustainable choices to Circular Ready, the new part of our packaging value proposition which helps more customers to embrace the circular economy. 

We report our performance on carbon reduction, having reduced emissions by 23% per tonne of production compared to 2015 and by 4% per tonne of production compared to last year. This performance supplements our announcement of a science-based target to reduce emissions by 40% per tonne of production compared to 2019 and commitment to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050, elevating our plans to decarbonise our circular business. 

We discuss our analysis of the potential future implications climate change may have on our business, having implemented the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). 

We reflect on the challenges of adapting to the Covid-19 global pandemic, and how we pulled together to support each other, strengthening our focus on health, safety and wellbeing whilst ensuring that we continued to serve our customers. 

And finally, we disclose a wide range of environmental and social indicators that span a range of topics, providing ESG data to help readers perform their own analysis of DS Smith’s non-financial performance. Our report is aligned to the GRI Standard and SASB (Containers and Packaging) standard, following best practices in sustainability reporting.