MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The South Carolina Forestry Commission and the South Carolina Forestry Association (SCFA) are launching their 20/15 initiative, aimed at increasing forestry’s economic impact in South Carolina — and Georgia-Pacific will be there growing alongside, said Mark Luetters, president of Georgia-Pacific’s wood products business, in remarks made Nov. 4 at the SCFA’s 42nd annual meeting.
“We support efforts to retain and strengthen existing businesses,” Luetters said. “These are worthy goals — Georgia-Pacific wants to grow, not stand still.”
The 20/15 project, led by the state-run forestry commission and the private nonprofit SCFA, aims to increase the value of the forest products industry in South Carolina. Luetters noted Georgia-Pacific’s support of the project, as well as the company’s own plans for growth in the state, citing recent mill acquisitions in Allendale and Clarendon. Georgia-Pacific acquired the facilities in May. The Allendale mill is currently operating and Clarendon is under construction. Both facilities produce oriented strand board, a structural panel — similar to plywood — used in residential construction and remodeling.
In South Carolina, Koch Industries companies, including Georgia-Pacific, employ more than 2,700 people directly, and those jobs create more than 11,000 additional jobs indirectly.
Georgia-Pacific has been a long-time employer in the state, with nine facilities ranging from a plywood plant in Prosperity to a Dixie products facility in Darlington.
Luetters also addressed the state of the economy, noting that although the recession may technically be over, a big recovery is unlikely until there is an improvement in employment. To offset the uncertainty that lies ahead, he highlighted the need to incorporate sustainability efforts into the business to improve yield, reduce energy consumption and deliver products that meet the needs of today’s consumers.
“People want to buy from a company they feel good about, one that operates in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible and economically sound,” Luetters said. “We try to make business decisions that achieve the best balance among the dimensions.”
Georgia-Pacific, which has headquarters in Atlanta, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of building products, tissue, packaging, paper, cellulose and related chemicals. The company employs more than 40,000 people at about 300 locations in North America, South America and Europe. Georgia-Pacific creates long-term value by using resources efficiently to provide innovative products and solutions that meet the needs of customers and society, while operating in a manner that is environmentally and socially responsible and economically sound.