Intertape Polymer Group Inc. is a recognized leader in the development, manufacture and sale of a variety of paper and film based pressure-sensitive and water-activated tapes, stretch and shrink films, protective packaging, woven and non-woven products and packaging machinery for industrial and retail use. 102-1, 102-2
Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, and Sarasota, Florida, in 2020 IPG employed approximately 3,600 employees with operations in 31 locations, including 21 manufacturing facilities in North America, four in Asia, and one in Europe. IPG is registered with the Toronto Stock Exchange. (TSX: ITP) 102-3, 102-4, 102-5, 102-7, RT-CP-000.c
IPG provides packaging and protective solutions for industrial markets in North America, Europe, Asia, and other geographies. IPG’s extensive product line permits IPG to offer tailored solutions to a wide range of end-markets, including general manufacturing, fulfillment, food processing, building and construction, retail, transportation, and other applications. 102-6
IPG has assembled a broad range of products by leveraging its manufacturing technologies, research and development capabilities, global sourcing expertise, and strategic acquisitions. Acquisitions slowed in 2020, and in response to COVID-19 uncertainties, an employee restructuring initiative resulted in the reduction of 52 jobs. We explain the financial impact of restructuring in our Form 20-F filing. Later in the year, IPG ramped up capital expenditures to address production needs mainly related to e-commerce products. 102-10
Information on employees and other workers
Human Resources (HR) has compiled this data as reported from each facility for permanent employees. IPG does not have a material number of temporary employees. No workers who are not employees perform a substantial portion of IPG’s activities. 102-8
Over the past year, we have continued to operationalize our sustainability approach and embed it in every aspect of our operations, from product design and innovation to manufacturing and supply chain.
Sustainability is a key strategy for IPG. Our continuous improvement initiatives focus on a safe work environment, environmental stewardship, efficiency in raw material and energy usage, and good corporate citizenship forming the foundation for adopting the more holistic approach espoused by sustainability.
In 2020, IPG adopted a Sustainable Product Design and Development Vision Statement, which places the precautionary principle outlined in the Compact and C2C principles as central pillars to guide our aspirational sustainable product lifecycle goals. 102-11
In 2020, we continued our engagement with William McDonough, co-author of “Cradle-to- Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” as a strategic advisor and continued to embed practice- proven processes to implementing circular economy solutions. We also established an ESG Committee on our Board of Directors and hired a Vice-President, Sustainability to guide our efforts further. Our sustainability framework is driven through four Sustainable Value Network (SVN) teams, each with its own mission, as shown below:
- Product and material innovation: To use the C2C protocol to certify products, assessing and optimizing the building blocks used in our products to fit into the circular economy of the future.
- Circular economy solutions: To direct the development of IPG products to better align with the circular economy by improving their recyclability, increasing their recycled/ renewable content, or improving their recycling processes.
- Operational footprint: To eliminate the concept of waste.
- People and communities: To align IPG’s activities to create a better future for our people and communities.
In 2020, dedicated SVN teams established benchmarks, set targets, and developed data collection processes to measure our progress. We describe these efforts throughout this report.
These efforts are reinforced through our commitment to the Compact. As a signatory, we have adopted the ten principles governing Human Rights, Labor, Environment and Anti-Corruption that link closely to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), as shown on the next page.
IPG Materiality Results 102-47
In 2020, IPG conducted a materiality assessment to identify and prioritize environmental, social, and governance topics relevant to IPG and our stakeholders. The results inform our sustainability strategy, governance, and reporting. 102-46
We performed a high-level study of sustainability trends, the Compact commitments, UNSDGs, relevant Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, and other indices/pertinent standards to IPG. We also reviewed an assessment of peer companies’ priorities, selected customer websites and reports, and generated an updated master list of topics based on the review.
Next, we identified key stakeholders by category. Contacts within IPG interacting with these stakeholders and stakeholder groups, and methods of interaction, were identified, and interviews were conducted with IPG staff to identify the key topics of interest to each. See the Stakeholder section on page 31 of this report for a table listing our key stakeholder groups. 102-40
Informed by this work, a revised list of issues was validated with IPG’s senior management and further revised to reflect their input. The result was a list of material topics and boundaries associated with IPG’s operations, services, and products.
To prioritize the material topics for reporting, a diverse group of IPG staff ranked the issues for importance to stakeholders and their significance following the GRI. The resulting ranking appears to the left. 102-47 The process used followed that outlined in GRI 101: Foundation 2016.
While our 2020 materiality assessment did identify some differences in topics and ranking relative to our previous material topic list, the lists are closely aligned. Notable additions include Product Material Health, Governance, Business Continuity & Risk, and Economic Performance, among other differences.
Bridge to Excellence Intertape Performance System
We implement our sustainability initiatives through the Intertape Performance System (IPS), our daily management system that drives continuous improvement throughout the Company. Based on six guiding principles—engagement, alignment, measurement, communication, operational focus, and use of zero-based loss techniques—IPS provides operational guidance for everything we do. In 2020, we took several steps to strengthen the implementing framework—updating our Environmental Policy and developing an Energy Policy, a Water Policy, a Sustainable Product Design and Development Vision Statement, and a Commitment to Inclusion and Diversity. Along with our Corporate Health and Safety Policy, these policies help to ensure we do the right thing.
Our operations are organized around eight pillar teams—safety, sustainability, visual communication, equipment optimization, organizational development, quality management, complexity management, and innovation, supported by a continuous improvement team. Currently, 15 of IPG’s 28 facilities use the IPS.
We postponed our plans to expand the IPS to our remaining facilities in 2020 due to COVID-19. As an interim effort, our scope was back to basics. The IPS effort was shifted towards:
- Establishing a COVID-19 response playbook to guide our sites through a framework for policies, cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, and best practice sharing.
- Training cross-functional groups on leader standard work (LSW) and core leadership skills such as recognition, coaching, and constructive feedback— crucial elements of an effective culture and daily management system.
- Updating core training materials and developing an IPS academy (a one-stop-shop for training materials).
At a site level, each location’s Operations Manager is responsible for the performance of the IPS. Local teams set improvement goals aligned to our operational strategy which are reviewed and approved by the Corporate Steering Team, comprised of the Global Continuous Improvement Leader and the Corporate Pillar Leaders. Each site audits its performance against metrics tracked at the site and the system itself.