Smurfit Kappa sets new sustainability targets with Better Planet 2050

Better Planet 2050 broadens the Group's commitment to sustainability by introducing ambitious targets in new areas and updating its existing set of sustainability targets 

Smurfit Kappa has today announced ambitious new sustainability targets in a number of different areas. The new targets focus on a further reduction of its environmental footprint, increased support for the communities in which it operates and further enhancement to the lives of its employees. These targets build upon the company’s well-established sustainability record, on which it has been reporting since 2005, and are contained in the Better Planet 2050 commitments. 

Better Planet 2050 quantifies Smurfit Kappa’s continued commitment to sustainability, targeting environmental and social sustainability in areas where it believes it can have the greatest impact. These include delivering sustainable packaging to customers, reducing its environmental footprint in water usage, waste and carbon emissions and supporting its communities, promoting inclusion and diversity as well as health and safety. The targets identified are specific, measurable and provide a roadmap to deliver results in the short, medium and longer timeframes.

Smurfit Kappa Group CEO, Tony Smurfit said: “Sustainability has always been part of our DNA but concerns about how we treat our planet, how we create a more inclusive world and support greater equality across our communities has never been so important. More needs to be done to address these global challenges. That is why we are setting new, more ambitious short-term targets and longer-term goals. Better Planet 2050 quantifies our commitment to protect what we care about – our planet, our people and our business - through a set of ambitious goals that will drive actions and behaviours that will deliver better outcomes.”

Smurfit Kappa is the undisputed industry leader in delivering Chain of Custody certified sustainable packaging solutions to its customers. The company will further increase its certified deliveries to customers to 95%, up from its current 90% target. Chain of Custody certified deliveries are essential in providing transparency and traceability to customers who have trust and confidence that our raw materials are sustainably sourced. 

As a large processor rather than a large consumer of water, the new target will see the company reduce its overall water intake. As a manufacturer of products that are renewable, recyclable, recycled and biodegradable, the company will continue to seek alternative ways to reuse, recycle and recover waste material to reduce waste to landfill. Last year, Smurfit Kappa set out its most ambitious target to date when it announced a goal to achieve at least net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

Demonstrating Smurfit Kappa’s care for its people and support for communities in which it operates, the company is targeting a range of measures including a further annual reduction in its Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR). Separately and in addition, its stated ambition is to ensure female gender representation is above 30%. Finally, the company is also committing to donate over €24 million in the next five years to support community initiatives, building upon the extensive volunteer and community work done locally throughout the world. 

Tony Smurfit continued, “We recognise that good social citizenship, shown in our interactions with employees, business partners and host communities, can improve lives. It is essential to creating a sustainable future for all.”

By committing to these sustainability targets, the company’s Better Planet Packaging portfolio of sustainable products will continue to be produced using less resource, less energy and create less waste. In providing and developing innovative paper-based packaging solutions, reducing its impact on the planet, Smurfit Kappa can make a positive contribution to the world and help its customers to deliver on their own short and long term sustainability goals.

Finally, the company recently aligned its sustainability ambitions and targets into its financing by embedding its sustainability targets via Key Performance Indicators into its existing €1.35 billion Revolving Credit Facility (“RCF”), creating a Sustainability Linked RCF.

A summary of main sustainability targets are outlined below.

CO2 Emissions

  • Existing Target: 40% reduction in fossil CO2 emissions in our global paper and board mill system
  • New Target 1: 55% intensity reduction in fossil CO2 emissions in our global paper and board mill system
  • Timeframe: By 2030
  • New Target 2: Reach at least net zero fossil emissions 
  • Timeframe: By 2050

Chain of Custody

  • Existing Target: 90% of deliveries to customers are Chain of Custody Certified
  • New Target: 95% of deliveries to customers are Chain of Custody Certified
  • Timeframe: By 2025

Water Intake

  • New Target:  At least 1% intensity reduction of water intake by our global paper and board mill system
  • Timeframe: Annual

Inclusion & Diversity

  • New Target 1: Create a diverse workplace and ensure that female gender representation across the Group is above 30%
  • TimeframeOngoing
  • New Target 2: 25% Females holding management positions across the Group which is a 2% annual increase for the next three years
  • TimeframeUntil 2024

Community & Social Responsibility

  • New TargetBetween 2020-2025 we will donate over €24 million to support social, environmental and community initiatives *
  • TimeframeBy 2025

Water Quality

  • New Target: : 60% intensity reduction of COD content of water returned to the environment from our global paper and board mill system 35% COD reduction achieved to date
  • Timeframe: By 2025


  • New Target: 30% intensity reduction in waste sent to landfill by our global paper and board mill system 7% reduction achieved
  • Timeframe: By 2025

Health & Safety

  • New Target: Reduce Total Recordable Injury Rate by at least 5% Achieved reductions of well over 5% per year since 2017 (starting year)
  • Timeframe: Annual


* Smurfit Kappa has a well-established and proud tradition supporting local social, environmental and community initiatives at sites throughout the world. This new sustainability target captures an ambition for a 20% increase on the level of donations over the previous five year period. 

Better Planet 2050