A CEO Q&A with International Paper Chairman and CEO Mark Sutton
on the Purpose of a Corporation and Donating 2 Million Boxes for COVID-19 Relief
Have you met the commitments outlined in the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation?
Sutton: Yes. And we will continue to pursue our Vision to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world. While our shareholders are at the center of our attention, we remain committed to meeting the needs of all stakeholders affected by our company. For example, we contribute more than 25 million annually of our annual profits to address critical needs in the communities where our 50 thousand global employees live and work.
Why did you decide to approve the donation of two million boxes?
Sutton: We remain committed to addressing critical needs in the communities where our employees live and work. Five years ago, our employees determined that Hunger should be one of our signature causes (along with Education, Health & Wellness, and Disaster Relief).
Since then, we have created ongoing relationships with local and regional food banks, Feeding America and The Global Foodbanking Network. When local economies began to shut down as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a spike in demand from food banks, and we knew that we could help by providing the corrugated boxes needed to pack and deliver food to those in need.
Our board of directors and our employees are passionate about mobilizing our people, products and financial resources to address critical community needs. This is our single-largest, most comprehensive response to emergency community needs.
What kind of an impact is the donation having during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Sutton: Feeding America and The Global FoodBanking Network projected a global surge in reliance on food banks driven by the pandemic. We contacted them and volunteered to provide the extra boxes, which enabled food banks to feed individuals and families struggling with food insecurity, including many people that never before needed help from a food bank.
Food banks around the world are providing nourishment to hundreds of millions of children who are missing school meals and to families impacted by the pandemic.
That is why International Paper donated 2 million corrugated boxes to food relief agencies in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, and Turkey.
Please tell us about the hashtag you created to encourage others to help with food insecurity.
Sutton: We created #HelpFillTheBoxes and promoted it globally on social media to encourage others to donate to Feeding America, The Global FoodBanking Network and local food banks. Thousands of people clicked on the links to these organizations; we hope they contributed to fill our boxes with food.
How is this resonating with your more than 50,000 team members around the world?
Sutton: Our employees know that our Vision is to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world. Addressing critical community needs — in this case, donating two million boxes — brings that vision to life. This effort is one more example of our actions matching our words.
The boxes and the #HelpFillTheBoxes campaign make our employees proud to be IP.