A focus on our people

In Our material issues within a global context we described the importance of increasing productivity within economic areas such as forestry by educating, attracting and retaining the future workforce in our sector and how opportunities exist for business to help improve people’s livelihoods and lifestyles in more sustainable ways.

Mondi is able to enrich the economic and social conditions of the communities where we operate by creating employment and improving livelihoods, thereby contributing to the socioeconomic health and stability of these communities. Our forestry operations are located in rural areas in developing economies, where neighbouring communities are typically affected by geographical remoteness, poor infrastructure and depopulation of rural villages. In this section, we focus on some of the ways in which we support our employees and local communities.

Improved health and safety

The introduction of fully mechanised harvesting systems in South Africa and Russia has made a major contribution to improved safety and ergonomic performance due to reduced exposure of the workforce to sharp tools, chainsaws and other traditional manual forestry activities. The total recordable case rate has decreased in our forestry operations by 30% since 2009. The severity of these incidents has also decreased.

In the silviculture operations in South Africa, where the physical force demands on the body are generally lower than in harvesting and there is not the same exposure to dangerous equipment, the focus has been on eliminating prolonged, awkward, stooped postures and reducing force demands on the body.

Promoting professional forestry education in Komi, Russia

The population of Komi has decreased in the last seven years. In Russia, young people leave smaller towns in remote areas such as Komi for bigger cities with more diverse employment opportunities. Also, modernisation requires more skills and training but has necessitated a reduction in personnel. We collaborate with a number of key educational institutions and NGOs to train specialists in the forestry industry. A good example is our long-standing partnership with the Syktyvkar Forest Institute. Mondi has equipped three laboratories to train students in paper production and mechanics in forestry and safety training.

Our efforts to promote the forestry industry and broaden the national skillset go deeper. Three years ago we launched the Forest Academy of Komi in partnership with the Komi Government to promote work in the forest sector, train and retrain personnel, contributing to social stability in the local community. The initiative is strongly supported by academic institutions and NGOs such as Silver Taiga.

In 2012, 82 people attended a forestry-focused entrepreneurial programme through the Forest Academy of Komi. After completion of the programme, 32 people started their own businesses in areas such as forestry maintenance, agriculture and children’s centres, creating 60 additional jobs in 2013. 49 people were employed by Mondi after being trained at the academy, eight of whom used to work in the logging operations. A further 17 employees also attended the School of Forestry Masters held at the academy during 2013.

An annual Komi Academy Award is held for students and their teachers. One of the main aims of the award is to promote and create awareness of the employment opportunities in the forestry, pulp and paper industry in the local scientific community. In 2013, 43 winners of the award were announced, each receiving a trophy and a cash prize.