We’ve set eight sustainability goals that reflect our commitments to social responsibility, industry leadership and the continued growth of our business (see “Our sustainability goals” here). To achieve our goals, we’re basing our efforts on a clear philosophy, strong governance, thoughtful assessments of materiality and ongoing stakeholder engagement.
At the foundation of our strategy is a science-based sustainability framework developed by The Natural Step, an international NGO. The framework is rooted in principles stating that in a sustainable society, “nature is not subject to systematically increasing concentrations of substances from the earth’s crust (such as fossil fuels and heavy metals), concentrations of substances produced by society (such as antibiotics and endocrine disruptors), or degradation by physical means (such as deforestation and drowning of groundwater tables). Consequently, in a sustainable society, there are no structural obstacles to people’s health, influence, competence, impartiality and meaning.”
Our Retail Branding and Information Solutions business also employs the Future Fit Benchmark, a set of science-based goals. When met, these goals constitute “the breakthrough point beyond which a company stops exacerbating global problems and starts delivering positive societal value to help solve them.”
We’ve worked with The Natural Step since 2014 to align our goals with its framework and integrate its principles into our business. The Natural Step framework is the basis for our own environmental and social guiding principles:
● Don’t pollute with extracted materials.
● Don’t pollute with manufactured materials.
● Don’t over-harvest or over-encroach on living systems.
● Don’t impede people’s wellness, influence, competence, equity and meaning.
● Discover and capture lost value at every stage of the value chain.
● Empower all of our people to innovate and create value.
● Embrace the collaboration that is inherent to sustainability.
● Create shared value for our customers, their value chains and the communities we serve.
More information about The Natural Step is available at www.thenaturalstep.org.
Our sustainability efforts are overseen by our Sustainability Council. This group is made up of members of our business units’ leadership teams. The Council is led and managed by our corporate sustainability leader, who is also vice president of global procurement for our Label and Graphic Materials Business. The Council is held accountable for progress by Avery Dennison’s Board of Directors and reports periodically to the Board’s Governance and Social Responsibility Committee.
Consistent with Global Reporting Index G4 reporting, we want to focus our sustainability efforts on those areas where we can have the most impact, both in terms of building a sustainable business and building a sustainable society. In 2016 and 2017, working with third-party consultant Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), we conducted our second materiality assessment. We reviewed and ranked a wide range of sustainability concerns to identify those most material to our business and the concerns of our stakeholders. By soliciting input from internal and external stakeholders, we affirmed that our priorities are related to the areas most relevant to our business, and in which we can make the biggest difference. As part of the process, BSR interviewed more than 19 stakeholders, including 13 Avery Dennison employees, four customers and partners, and two representatives of NGOs. Their input was invaluable in helping us set priorities, understand what we’re doing well and identify opportunities for improvement.
Our actions have effects that reach beyond the boundaries of our business. In addition to the stakeholder interviews we conduct as part of our regular materiality assessments, we maintain regular communications with a range of people and organizations that have an interest in how we do business. Doing so ensures that our sustainability efforts are consistent with stakeholders’ expectations and helps us work with them to address more problems than any of us could solve alone.