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International Paper

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International Paper case study describes an Industrial company that has had social responsibility as a core value since it started business more than 110 years ago. Ranked number one in Social responsibility out of more than 600 companies from all industries International Paper is not just big, but admirable . In the year of 2009, it sold over $23 billion worth of paper, packing, and wood products, placing number 104 slot on the fortune 500, IP also employs more 50,000 employees. IP uses the slogan, “Sustaining a better world for generation, the IP way”, it’s not just a catch phrase but lies at the heart of IP’s corporate mission statement, to maintain a balance IP put these three concepts into action: Managing natural resources, reducing the environment footprint, building strategic partnerships. The company manages natural resources by supporting research to improve the management of forest resources, and through conservation which they believe is an investment instead of a sunk cost. By reducing environmental footprint, IP means that it is committed to reporting its activities that impact the environment, health or safety to the public.

Because of its reporting practices, IP is more motivated to reduce its environmental footprint, over a recent two-year period the company has cut its hazardous waste by almost 8 percent. To carry out its sustainability efforts, IP enlist the help of organizations, and these partnerships are guided by the objectives of making progress in sustainability. A minor partnership oriented around a small product can make a difference in the world, together with DaniMer Scientific and NatureWorks LLC, IP developed a new type of cup lining made from plants instead of petrochemicals. The disposable cup with the new lining when discarded in commercial and municipal operations become compost, which can be used for gardening, landscaping and farming. International Paper hasn’t been one of the high-growth of the corporate world, but it has grown to become one of the 100 largest companies in the US, it has been consistently profitable and proves that good business and good corporate citizenship can go hand in hand.

What is wrong about it?

I don’t believe there is anything wrong about it, IP has kept its focus in social responsibility and it has paid off with their success. But if there is anything wrong about it, it would be in the beginning of the company when few people would care about the social environment but they still chose to go down that route.

Possible Solutions to this problem?

Possible solution would be creating a company just like their competitors and then changing their core value to environment friendly now that the world is more conscious about the environment.

Best possible solution and why?

In my opinion the best solution possible solution is to keep the core value that made them successful by being responsible about the social environment and if they start losing money they can start focusing more on the other values like cheaper products and less expensive materials that are not so environmentally friendly.


Philip Kotler, Gary Armstrong (2011).
Principles of Marketing 14th ed Pearson Prentice Hall.
Page 611-613

Sources: Extracts and other case information are from International Paper’s corporate Web site, at www.internationalpaper.com/US/EN/Company/Sustainability/index.html, accessed September 2010; with additional information from money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/mostadmired/2010/snapshots/229. html

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