Paper offers a sensory experience no other communication medium can replicate. The type of paper used can evoke a world of emotions, memories, experiences shared and those still to come – it can say so much, without using any words. We do not merely use paper, we engage with it. Paper stimulates our senses and our emotions.
A world without paper would provide information in a soulless, impersonal manner; never tangible and always dependent on an electronic device, batteries and power sources. A world without paper would provide would have no sustainable, renewable and biodegradable solution for packaging. Imagine a world without paper: no books to snuggle up with in bed; no magazines with views, trends and features to read and share with friends; nothing on which to scribble your brilliant ideas or to practise your art; no sheet of music when playing your piano and no packaging to protect valuable goods in transit. Not even toilet tissue or kitchen wipes.
Digital media has its place, but paper is still very much part of our daily lives - that’s true even for the younger generation. A survey by a UK bookseller found that three-quarters of students would prefer to use physical books over ebooks for their studies. The survey also showed that 76% of respondents preferred printed textbooks, compared with 18.5% who chose ebooks and 5.5% who opted for digital courseware.
Perhaps this relates to another survey which showed that digital media can be distracting: 'The reading process and experience of digital text are greatly affected by the fact that we click and scroll, in contrast to the tactilely richer experience when flipping through the pages of a printed book'.
Through photosynthesis, trees and other plants use water and sunlight to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbohydrates to provide energy and the building blocks for plant growth. The process releases oxygen as a by-product. The CO2 removed from the atmosphere is converted and stored in plant material and wood. In other words, trees and the use of forest products – like paper and paper packaging – can act as carbon sinks. In all regions, our industry has played a significant role in expanding forests and plantations. Harvesting is not equal to deforestation. It is an important part of the cycle of growth, materials manufacture and regrowth. Learn more with our FAQ on climate change.
Yes, it is. Here’s why.
Learn more in our FAQ on Certification.
In South Africa, we own and lease 399,996 hectares (ha) of plantations, of which 261,605 ha are planted. The remainder is managed by Sappi Forests to conserve the natural habitat and biodiversity found there. Sappi Forests enhances our fibre base in South Africa through leading-edge tree improvement programmes which aim to produce high-quality wood with the required pulping characteristics, increase yield per hectare and mitigate against pests and diseases. We actively pursue this aim, particularly through the genetic improvement of planting stock. An example is enhancing our tree breeding process through the development of DNA marker tools which speed up the tree selection process. Learn more in our FAQ on Genetically Modified Trees.
Yes. Paper comes from nature and it returns to nature. Not only is it strong, versatile, beautiful, re-usable and recyclable, it is also fully biodegradable. In seawater conditions – much of the world’s garbage ends up in our oceans – paper generally biodegrades fully within four months, returning to nature without leaving any toxic residue. This is in sharp contrast to fossil-fuel based plastics and other non-biodegradable materials which can take hundreds of years to degrade.
Although our manufacturing activities have some impact on the planet, we aim to tread as lightly as possible. We are achieving this is by establishing five-year targets under our Thrive25 strategy – and aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
We report every year on progress – or lack thereof – against these targets in our group sustainability report and our Sappi Southern Africa corporate citizenship report, available in our resource hub.
Our responsibility to the environment does not end once our papers enter the marketplace.
Our waste paper division’s name, ‘Sappi ReFibre’ reflects the broad nature of our commitment to re-use what many people classify as waste. We recycle post-convertor and post-consumer waste, procured from homes, offices, wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers, in both the formal and informal sectors, through an extensive network of independent collection agents across the country.
Sappi ReFibre has developed a successful outsourced business model that supports entrepreneurial development and job creation while providing a secure market for recovered paper.