International Paper appoints chief sustainability officer

International Paper (IP), a Memphis, Tennessee-based producer of fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper, has appointed its first chief sustainability officer. Sophie Beckham will lead the company’s recently announced Vision 2030, a sustainability goal to “advance its contributions to the circular, low-carbon economy while building on its commitments to its people and communities,” IP says.

“Customers, investors and employees depend on us to be leaders in environmental stewardship and to strengthen our people and communities; appointing a chief sustainability officer is the next step in our continuing progress,” says Mark Sutton, chairman and CEO at IP.

Beckham first joined IP in 2013 to manage the company’s forest stewardship and sustainability efforts. In her new position, she will lead the development and execution of IP’s sustainability strategy, including efforts to integrate the Vision 2030 goals across the company’s global business, IP says. The company’s Vision 2030 goals are in four areas:

  • healthy and abundant forests by leading forest stewardship efforts globally;
  • thriving people and communities by promoting employee well-being and providing safe, caring and inclusive workplaces;
  • sustainable operations by improving IP’s impact on climate and advancing water stewardship; and
  • renewable solutions by accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy through innovative fiber-based products.

IP says each of these four goals includes one to three specific, measurable targets for the company to track its progress throughout the decade. The targets include commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent from 2017 levels, to reduce water usage by 25 percent and to create products that are 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable.

“Today, we recognize the broader role we can play in advancing sustainable outcomes—both environmental and social,” Beckham says. “This is an important time for International Paper, and I’m extremely excited to amplify our ambition to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world.”

Sonoco appoints new president/CEO

The board of directors for Hartsville, South Carolina-based packaging company Sonoco unanimously elected R. Howard Coker, then the firm’s senior vice president of its Paper/Industrial Converted Products segment, as its president and chief executive officer Feb. 3.

Coker, 57, succeeded Robert C. Tiede, 61, who elected to retire from Sonoco after serving as president and CEO since April 2018. Coker also was elected to the company’s board of directors, replacing Tiede.

“Howard’s strong operating acumen, along with his passion for Sonoco, has played a significant role in the development of our global Industrial and Consumer businesses over his 35-year career,” James M. Micali, lead independent director of the Sonoco board, says. “He has built an outstanding track record of growth and improved business performance and is an authentic leader who is driven by Sonoco’s core values. He is well-positioned to lead Sonoco into the next decade.”

“I’m honored by the confidence the board has shown in me and embrace this opportunity,” Coker says. “I grew up in this company, so I am deeply connected to Sonoco, its culture and all the people who have helped build it into what it is today. I look forward to working with our strong leadership team, alongside our 23,000 associates globally, to build Sonoco into an even greater company to the benefit of our shareholders, our people and our communities,” he continues.

Tiede became Sonoco’s CEO in April 2018 after serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2016, in addition to holding other senior leadership roles throughout his career with the organization.


The Aluminum Association names new president/CEO

The Aluminum Association, Arlington, Virginia, has announced that Tom Dobbins became its new president and CEO as of March 16. He previously spent 13 years as the head of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), also based in Arlington, which represents composites manufacturers and their suppliers.

“The Aluminum Association has a proud legacy as one of the leading voices for the materials manufacturing sector in Washington and beyond,” Dobbins says. “I look forward to taking on a leadership role as the team continues to execute on the recently developed Aluminum Agenda—from policy advocacy to supporting market growth to industry-leading research and data on sustainability and other issues.”

At the ACMA, Dobbins prioritized market growth and development, leading government affairs, communications, events and education programs, the Aluminum Association says. During his tenure, the ACMA revamped its annual trade show, more than doubling its size; worked with Congress to include provisions on composites in the last eight major infrastructure bills signed into law; spearheaded a program to bring composites manufacturers to private events with automotive and aviation original equipment manufacturers; and worked with the Department of Energy to launch an advanced manufacturing institute for composites.

“Tom’s extensive experience in public policy advocacy and association management make him a perfect fit to help move the aluminum industry forward during this critical time,” says Marco Palmieri of Novelis North America, who chairs the Aluminum Association.

Dobbins is a recent member of the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA).

Prior to the ACMA, he was director of partnership outreach for the Internal Revenue Service, where he developed a comprehensive outreach and education program for small businesses, the Aluminum Association says. He also was the director of government affairs at the American Council of Engineering Companies and spent several years working on Capitol Hill.