Environmental responsibility (Planet)

Our holistic approach to the environment begins with responsible management and procurement of our woodfibre resources and continues through every aspect of the manufacturing cycle.

We have access to 516,000 hectares plantations, of which approximately 379,000 hectares are owned or leased, and 129,000 hectares are contracted supply. We are mindful of our responsibility to the natural resources on which our business depends. Our plantations mitigate global warming by absorbing carbon: during photosynthesis trees use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into organic compounds essential for their growth, storing carbon and releasing oxygen in the process. Without this vital daily exchange, life on earth would simply not be possible. All our owned and leased plantations are 100% FSC®-certified.

Biodiversity is key to the healthy functioning of our plantations which would not be productive without biotic processes taking place. The vitality of our stands of trees is dependent on biological processes such as soil regeneration, nutrient cycling, pollination, decomposition and predator prey relationships. In addition, the landscapes we grow trees in rely on biological processes to function. Approximately one third of our landholdings are managed for biodiversity conservation.

To lighten our environmental footprint, we focus on cleaner, more efficient manufacturing and waste beneficiation process, thereby producing more with less. The renewable energy we generate currently stands at 42.7%. Our level of specific energy intensity has reduced by 5.1% over five years and over the same period, energy self-sufficiency has improved by 10.5% while renewable energy has improved by 11%. Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) emissions have declined by 9.78% and 23.38% respectively over the last five years.

Approximately 95% of the water we extract is returned to the environment after being cleaned and filtered.
All these statistics indicate that we are succeeding in our goal of treading more lightly on the Planet.

Some of our stakeholders have expressed concern that forestry uses large amounts of water. However, unlike most other forms of agriculture, our plantations are not irrigated and use comparatively little water as indicated in the pie chart below.

Water use by sector in South Africa

Source: South African Department of Water Affairs 2010

To mitigate our exposure to climate change in our plantations, we:

  • Maintain wide genetic variability in our planting material. This enables us to breed trees for a wide range of conditions allowing us to respond to changes in climatic conditions.
  • Engage in research and collaboration with industry and tertiary institutions to develop biocontrol measures and breed genetically more resistant planting stock.
  • Deploy a diverse range of commercial species and hybrids across a wide range of climatic conditions.
  • Continually monitor and review forest best practices in light of changing environmental factors, thus helping to mitigate any increased threat from water shortages or drought. 

Please click here to view our FAQs on ‘Tree genetics – tree improvement in Southern Africa’.

Forests are particularly important for the hundreds of millions of people in rural areas, including many of the world’s poorest people, who depend on them for food, wood energy, shelter, fibre and livelihoods. They also help mitigate climate change, protect soils and water and harbour more than 75% of the world’s biodiversity.
Message from the XIV World Forestry Congress

Earth Kind Agent

This fun and interactive learning game is perfect for the whole family where busting myths and becoming earth kind agents for the paper and dissolving pulp producing town of Sustainaville is the order of the day.

As an Earth Kind Agent you can positively impact the health and wellbeing of Sustainaville.

Choose your own disguise and develop your online alter ego as you go undercover to parts of the town you have never been before. This is an epic journey, the first of its kind determined to conquer misconceptions and rumours threatening to destroy Sustainaville. You will set out into uncharted territory, your mission - save Sustainaville by busting myths, restoring order and making sure the town has a sustainable and prosperous future.

It won’t be easy, your mission will consist of 11 challenges and each challenge will increase your knowledge base about Sustainability. Your quest will take you through water, air, energy, biodiversity and waste. Dominate each challenge by busting myths, go beyond your previous understanding, change your mindset and restore the balance – Sustainaville is at stake - the power is in your hands.

HQ will be keeping an eye on all its field agents to see who qualifies for the Earth Kind Seal Certificate. Only agents who have absolutely conquered all 11 challenges will be recognised as official Earth Kind Agents.

This is a unique gaming experience, with easy to follow instructions and access to all the fields. It has been specifically designed for use on tablets with high-end 3D graphics.

Accept the challenge to join the ranks of Earth Kind Agents and download the game on your computer, tablet or smartphone now. Use the links below or search for 'Sappi Earth Kind Agent' in the appropriate app store.

If you would like to provide us with any feedback on your experience, please send it to EarthKindAgent@sappi.com  

Google-Play-logo.png Download from
Google Play
App-Store-logo.png Download from
App Store
Realising that we could not continue to do tomorrow what we did yesterday, over the last few years we have reviewed and refocused our business.
We support the spirit of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) and commit Sappi to significant planned and enacted transformation.
Our strategy of empowering our employees to reach their full potential extends to the communities around our operations.