How International Paper Strengthens Community Resilience

Apr 4, 2023 12:20 PM ET
Squares of photos of volunteers and squares with data listed under Tracking Progress

Originally published in International Paper's 2021 Sustainability Report

International Paper mobilizes our people, products and resources to address critical needs in the communities where our employees live and work.

Our four signature causes — education, hunger, health and wellness, and disaster relief — address basic needs to build stronger, more resilient communities. Often, the underserved and vulnerable populations that most need this support include people who are Latinx, African American, Native American, refugees, LGBTQ+, and children and women. By addressing the most basic needs of these populations, we can help eliminate or reduce barriers that impede self-sufficiency, resilience and opportunity.

Through our community giving strategy, we aim to improve the lives of 100 million people by 2030.

Empowering Employees to Support Communities and Causes

Despite the ongoing pandemic, we found ways to engage and connect our employees to support our communities and signature causes. Our initiatives included:

  • Day of Caring volunteer kits delivered for six separate initiatives to interested employees
  • 100,000+ trees planted in 10 International Paper communities through our partnership with Arbor Day Foundation, including an environmental equity event to improve the urban tree canopy in Chicago and tree planting in Cedar River to restore the area following a devastating derecho
  • 14 facilities participating in packing Period Poverty contributions for local community distribution

While our overall volunteer hours were down due to pandemic restrictions, we are proud of the contributions our International Paper volunteers made, and especially pleased to welcome the increased participation by our hourly employees, made more accessible with our shift to virtual volunteerism.

In 2021, International Paper contributed more than $23.3 million worldwide to support charitable organizations aligned with our signature causes, positively impacting more than 13.6 million people
84,626 people of that total were reached in Sylvamo communities

Giving Locally, Nationally and Internationally

Our strategy is implemented through a combination of locally driven support, grant funding and national and global collaborations.

Despite the ongoing challenges, International Paper employees generously supported our communities through approx. 13,500 socially distanced volunteer hours across 32 U.S. states and eight countries.

At the local level, for example, our facility in Chile supported Casa Betal, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Graneros, with supplies, volunteerism and a cash donation. Our Chalon, France facility supplies corrugated offcuts to Id’ees Services, a social agency that supports people with disabilities, which uses the waste material to make cat litter.

In North Carolina, our Maysville and Henderson Mills awarded the Henderson Boys & Girls Club $75,000 over three years. The grant will contribute to the renovation of the local armory into their new facility.

Nationally, we continued our support to Wreaths Across America and its mission to remember fallen U.S. veterans. Each year, we provide in-kind donations of customized shipping boxes, as well as funding and transportation for more than two million wreaths to Arlington Nation Cemetery.

Read more about our community contributions here.

Our Signature Causes: How We are Making a Difference

Education: We focus on literacy from birth through third grade because reading skills form the foundation of all childhood learning.

Hunger: We partner with food banks and other agencies to address hunger and food security for children, families and seniors.

Health and Wellness: We engage our employees and work with agencies to promote healthy living habits and achieve measurable improvements in health and wellness.

Disaster Relief: We partner with agencies to help communities prepare for and recover from natural disasters, and we use our Employee Relief Fund to support our affected colleagues.

Our employee giving campaigns and company matching gift programs generated $3.4 million to help people in need throughout our communities.

Tracking our Progress to 100 Million Lives

Working collaboratively with our non-profit partners, we can quantify our impact on people in our communities. Standardized metrics and reporting enable us to track each organization’s impact and quantify the number of lives improved through our volunteers and contributions.

  • $23.3M in IP Global Giving in 2021
  • 13.6M people reached
  • 160,000 corrugated products, boxes, bags, paper and absorbent pulp products donated
  • $3.4M employee giving and company match combined
  • approx 13,500 volunteer hours across 32 states and 8 countries
  • 2,800+ IP employee volunteers

Read more

About International Paper
International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global supplier of renewable fiber-based products. We produce corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods, and enable worldwide commerce, and pulp for diapers, tissue and other personal care products that promote health and wellness. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., we employ approximately 38,000 colleagues globally. We serve customers worldwide, with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, North Africa and Europe. Net sales for 2021 were $19.4 billion. Additional information can be found by visiting