DS Smith, a London-based packaging firm that set up shop in Atlanta earlier this year, is building out its executive team to advance its sustainable business model in North America. 

The British company put its regional headquarters in Buckhead in June, announcing that it would hire 50 at the start of what is being planned as an aggressive growth path in the U.S. 

Already the company has acquired smaller companies and broken ground on a new factory in Lebanon, Ind. More U.S. factories and a recycling center are planned in the “near term.” 

Mark Ushpol

This week the company hired Mark Ushpol as director of packaging for North America and Monica Anderton as director of human resources. Both came from the Mondi Group, another European paper and packaging company with Atlanta offices and a plant in Eastman, Ga., making paper bags for the building products, agriculture, mineral and chemical segments. Mr. Ushpol will be charged with transforming the packaging division so that it mirrors the global focus of the rest of the group. 

DS Smith says it was pulled into the U.S. as demand for sustainable solutions rose. The company employs a circular, model whereby much of its new packaging is made using recycled corrugated and paper material that the company collects. In Europe, it operates in 17 countries and collects 5 million tons of material. New pilot projects in urban recycling are envisioned in the near future. The company recently opened a new packaging plant in Lebanon, Indiana.  More greenfield factories are slated for the future, but none are yet planned for Atlanta. 

As a corporate base, Atlanta made sense from a talent perspective. Georgia, a long-time epicenter of the pulp and paper sector, is home to DS Smith competitors and customers such as Georgia Pacific, Graphic Packaging and WestRock. 

DS Smith focuses on innovation, helping customers adapt to a changing world where consumer expectations for both speed and sustainability are rising along with the prevalence of e-commerce. 

In May, the company became one of 10 global partners of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, named after the English sailor who broke the then-world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe and after retiring has become an advocate for ridding the world’s oceans of plastic. Separately, DS Smith made available more than £1 million from its foundation for sustainability or education initiatives. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...