PGI releases first annual stakeholders’ report and highlights financial and sustainability achievements

May 20, 2011 – Polymer Group, Inc. (NYSE: BX) today reported continued strong progress toward achieving its financial and sustainability goals in its first annual Stakeholders’ Report, which combines sustainability reporting based on the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G3 reporting framework with annual report data.

Also underscoring the company’s sustainability accomplishments, PGI announced three recent awards it has garnered, including being named the most sustainable company in North Carolina by GreenBusiness WORKS, and winning nonwovens product and process innovation awards from the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA).

In the new integrated stakeholders report, PGI announced its net sales increased 30 percent to $1.1 billion, gross profit increased more than 15 percent to $212.4 million and adjusted EBITDA increased 13 percent to $143.1 million.

“2010 was a strategic year for PGI and we exceeded expectations on our goals of driving performance in our base businesses through strong execution and by becoming more important to our customers, all while implementing cost improvement initiatives,” said CEO Veronica “Ronee” Hagen. “We also continued to move ahead with our plans for investing in growth.”

Hagen also noted PGI’s new ownership by the Blackstone Group, which closed in late January 2011. “Blackstone is a strategic partner and a supporter of our growth plans,” she said. “Our goal is to maintain our leadership in high-growth regions and add capacity in our proprietary capabilities in spunmelt technology. We are pleased to move forward together.”

Sustainability Accomplishments
Themed a “Global Company Winning as One,” the report spotlights the progress the company has made toward meeting its five-year goals for environmental progress, as well as targets for safety, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and shareholder value.  The company added five new GRI indicators to its sustainability reporting for a total of 43.

Among PGI’s sustainability achievements (on a per square meter basis) were:

  • Reduced carbon footprint by 17 percent
  • Lowered electricity consumption by 11 percent, water consumption by 8 percent and natural gas consumption by 16 percent
  • Decreased solid waste generation by 28 percent
  • Lowered OSHA incidence rate by 11 percent
  • Commercialized a biodegradable and compostable J-Cloth® 3000 wipe

“We have made some pretty impressive progress in many key areas and we couldn’t be happier with our team’s level of engagement,” said John Heironimus, chief sustainability officer. “As always, we will continue to raise the bar for ourselves. One challenge we have is that we are a growing company, which, by definition, means that we will be using more resources.”

PGI Wins Awards
PGI has been named the top North Carolina company and second-ranked company in the Southeast in the2011 Southeastern Corporate Sustainability Rankings released by GreenBusiness WORKS. The rating was determined by using CRD Analytics, a leading provider of independent investment analytics, specializing in environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainability.  PGI came out ahead of leading consumer companies (3) Duke Energy Corp., (4) The Coca-Cola Co. and (5) Hanesbrands Inc.

Said rankings co-founder Stephanie Armistead, general manager of GreenBusiness WORKS:  “It’s great to see these top ranked companies like PGI actively embrace ESG and continue to be leaders in corporate responsibility. How companies manage their ESG performance tends to be a strong indicator of good management which affects overall positive financial performance over the long run.”

PGI also has been awarded two INDEX 11 Innovation Awards from EDANA. The first award was for its SafeCover™ Insect Repellant Blanket, a humanitarian aid blanket that protects against malaria by repelling mosquitoes and other insects.

The second award recognized the company’s transparent and far-reaching CSR initiatives, including publishing annual sustainability reports using GRI guidelines since 2008. The jury applauded PGI’s sustainability reporting process for its ambition and continued effort over several years at a recent ceremony inGeneva, Switzerland.

Polymer Group, Inc. is a global, technology-driven developer, producer and marketer of engineered materials, and one of the world’s leading producers of nonwovens.  With the broadest range of process technologies in the nonwovens industry, PGI is a global supplier to leading consumer and industrial product manufacturers. The company operates 14 manufacturing and converting facilities in nine countries throughout the world.