Christian Fischer of Georgia-Pacific on giving back to community
How Metro Atlanta has developed to become a home for major firms, which then give back to the community
Focus: Atlanta, Atlanta’s first and only yearly, in-depth business guide was released in November of this year. The report gives a comprehensive insider perspective on the ongoing success story that is Atlanta. The region’s top leaders from business and government share their insights on what is driving the city’s growth and in what direction Metro Atlanta is moving. Job growth, a robust startup environment and cross-sector investments in city improvements that increase the quality of life are all highlighted as factors underlying the success of Atlanta in continuing to attract new businesses and retain long-time economic staples.
One such local icon featured in the Focus: Atlanta is Christian Fischer, President and CEO of Georgia-Pacific, with whom Capital Analytics met to discuss these topics and more.
What can Atlanta do to encourage continued growth?
Georgia-Pacific employs approximately 3,000 people in Downtown, so we’re supportive of investments that make the city safer, cleaner, more modern and appealing. Specifically, improving public education and our public transportation system are areas we need to continue to tackle. These improvements are not only good for us as a major employer, but they help sustain local businesses and attract new business and investors.
How has Georgia-Pacific capitalized on partnerships within Atlanta?
As a member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber board for many years, we’ve been an active part of the issues and initiatives that have improved our city’s quality of life – from education to infrastructure. We also have collaborated with other businesses recently on an exciting new accelerator program called Engage Ventures, which helps entrepreneurial companies with their go-to-market strategies. Georgia-Pacific is one of the founding partners, along with several Fortune 1000 brands based in Atlanta who are contributing capital, expertise, time and resources. Georgia-Pacific has committed $1.5 million to the fund, which is worth a total of $15 million.
How can the private sector best engage with the community in Atlanta?
Anything that we or other companies can do to give back and contribute to the well-being of our community is imperative – strong communities make life better for everyone. Georgia-Pacific has been a longtime supporter of initiatives that address critical areas such as affordable housing, community and public safety, arts and culture, and youth enrichment. Just a few of the worthy organizations we support that work tirelessly in these endeavors include the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, Youth Entrepreneurs and United Way of Greater Atlanta. In our 35 years in this city, we’ve seen many positive transformations right outside our windows at Georgia-Pacific Center. We’re proud to have been actively involved in Atlanta’s progress over the years. The city is experiencing a renaissance, with growth in areas such as the educational sector and the BeltLine, but progress will need to be supported and sustained. As a company, we are also excited by positive growth in the business community and efforts to attract entrepreneurs and startups to the city. While we have a lot of work to do on areas like public transportation and more affordable housing options, we remain optimistic and committed to keeping Atlanta the top international city that it is.
Find out more information about Georgia-Pacific at www.gp.com