DS Smith

Who are DS Smith?

DS Smith is a leading provider of sustainable cardboard packaging, supported by recycling and papermaking operations that work together to create a circular business model.

We are headquartered in London and a member of the FTSE 100, with a focus on creating innovative sustainable packaging solutions. With operations in 37 countries, we employ around 31,000 people, using the combined expertise of our divisions to work with customers to deliver solutions that reduce complexity and deliver results throughout the supply chain.

Sustainability sits at the heart of everything we do. Throughout our operations we focus on reducing energy consumption, minimising waste and embedding the highest ethical standards to ensure the most positive impact on our environment. We can collect a box, recycle it, and make it into a new box within 14 days, and are proud to be Europe’s largest recycler of paper and cardboard. As a net positive recycler, we handle more recycled material than we put out on the market. We are also a global partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, working together to move towards a more circular economy.

Our history can be traced back to the box-making businesses started in the 1940s by the Smith family.

What projects / schemes / initiatives to support women’s recruitment, retention and progression in STEM are DS Smith involved in?

We are reviewing our talent attraction strategy and developing external partnerships to help us engage with women at all stages of their careers and understand what they want from a modern workplace.

As a result of our targeted actions on graduate recruitment over the past 2 years, 40% of our graduate population are now female and we will continue to drive action to progress further.

We are working to deepen the leadership pipeline. In 2019, we launched a high potential leaders programme with 43% of the first cohort being female Research shows that often the biggest barrier for women is the first step into management. During 2019 we launched a First Line Manager programme to support that key career transition stage.

We are extending the provision of mentoring and sponsorship for female talent at all levels and considering what more career development support is needed to accelerate their progression.

To help all employees understand how they can support others to reach their potential, we have implemented Unconscious Bias training, with our Executive Team being the first to participate.

We have also undertaken internal research on gender. The insight is helping to target our action plan to address the specific barriers to progression women in the organisation have identified.

A Diversity & Inclusion forum with representation from across DS Smith has been established. This will help us to connect female colleagues within the business and support our diversity development activity locally.

Why did DS Smith join WISE?

“As we progress our plans to improve the representation of women at all levels in DS Smith we believe that partnering with WISE and connecting with other likeminded organisations within the WISE network to share learning will help us progress further, faster.”
– Jan Atkinson, Interim Group Head of Talent

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