JBM Packaging Recognized for Hiring Program

Company Says New Certification Validates Its Commitment to Recruiting Formerly Incarcerated Workers, Other Social Initiatives

Digital Exclusive

In 2015, JBM Packaging was looking for new ways to recruit workers—and that was long before the intense labor shortages of the past few years. The company, which is based in Ohio, considered several ideas, including hiring and training people who have experienced incarceration.

Working with various agencies and others in the Cincinnati region, JBM started its Fair Chance Program in 2016 and the initiative took off. In March, the company’s efforts helped it to garner B Corp Certification, which means it joins more than 2,400 U.S. companies that have achieved high levels of performance in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

“The B Corp Certification reflects who we are as a business, and we’re honored to stand among such an incredible group of companies using their business in a way to support society and our environment,” said Marcus Sheanshang, JBM president and CEO, in a news release. “From our recyclable packaging products to our Fair Chance Program and on-staff personal change coach, we continually look for meaningful ways to better our team members, communities, and the world.”

Not many packaging companies have the certification, and few companies are family-owned businesses that have embedded ESG programs into their operations, says David Warren, vice president of sales and marketing for JBM Packaging.

In March, PwC released its 11th Family Business Survey, which shows that 67% of respondents say they put little or no focus on ESG, Warren points out. The PwC report also notes that only 15% of the respondents say they consider themselves to be “very advanced” in having a clear ESG strategy.

JBM Packaging says it pursued the certification because it embodies its core values of “creating better solutions, better lives, and a better world.”

“With a vision to be the role model for a sustainable, purpose-driven company, JBM has operated as a socially conscious business since the launch of its Fair Chance Program. … JBM’s management team reflects its diverse workforce, with more than 64% of management from underrepresented populations,” according to JBM Packaging.

The company works with about 30 correctional and workforce development partners to identify qualified candidates for Fair Chance. As individuals re-enter society and begin working with JBM, they meet with the company’s life coach and undergo peer mentoring and on-the-job training, according to the company’s website. (In an interview this past year about the program with FlexPackVOICE®, Sheanshang said the program works with men and women but does not work with people convicted of sexual offenses or crimes against women or children.)

Hiring incarcerated workers strengthens the company’s communities by breaking a cycle of economic hardship and lowering the rate of those who become incarcerated again, according to the website, which adds that the program creates a positive impact on the local economy.

“Our Fair Chance team members also become role models among their family and friends for taking positive steps to turn their lives around,” according to JBM Packaging. “We believe these efforts are changing lives, and our employees are proud to say we’re making a difference inside and outside our organization.”

The certification to become a B Corp measures five impact areas: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers. Certification requires that all certified organizations—including national names such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Toms®—share their B Impact Assessment scores on B Lab Global’s website to enhance transparency and accountability. JBM had 93.1 points, according to the website. A score of 80 qualifies for certification.

JBM also has created a series of innovations that enable customers to eliminate plastic packaging waste by transitioning to paper packaging solutions, the company says.

“While the certification validates who we are, it also signals where we want to go as a company,” Sheanshang said in a statement. “Reassessment is required on an ongoing basis to maintain our certification, so we’ll continue looking for ways to further improve our business practices in a way that benefits our workers, community, customers, and the environment—this is just the beginning.” 

Thomas A. Barstow is senior editor at FlexPackVOICE®.