Demonstrating the spirit of Ubuntu during the pandemic

Compassion and humanity. Those are the attributes of ‘ubuntu’. And that’s the spirit Sappi demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic in a number of different ways.

Volunteering salary reductions

The Sappi board of directors and regional leadership teams volunteered a 10% reduction in salaries or fees for the three months ending June 2020, as well as forfeiting short-term incentive bonuses for 2020.

Feeding the hungry

We entered into a partnership with the Southern Lodestar Foundation, a non-profit organisation which provides innovative food solutions for children. Their highly nutritious instant porridge – known as A+ – is being used in school breakfast programmes. Together, Sappi, the Southern Lodestar Foundation and the Spar Group spearheaded a collaborative effort whereby 60,000 kg of A+ instant porridge was distributed to vulnerable communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. We used our knowledge and access to rural community health networks to ensure that the porridge was reaching those that needed it most in many peri-urban and rural areas adjacent to our mills and plantations.

A one-kilogram pack of A+ instant porridge can feed five adults (200 g serving per person) or can provide a 50 g serving to 20 children.

Cleaning up

Following countrywide shortages in the supply of hand sanitiser, the Sappi Technology Centre in Pretoria focused on producing the company’s first prototype hand sanitiser. This led to a partnership with a Johannesburg based company to produce 16,000 litres of Sappi hand sanitiser worth about ZAR1 million. We were then able to distribute the sanitiser to more than 80 community clinics and health care centres in the rural and peri-urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. We’re also distributing sanitiser to our own employees and their families.

Valida sanitiser


Hitting a collaborative note

‘Live a Life of Note’ is the Sappi Typek brand message and in a continuation of its drive to encourage people to remain positive and to initiate positive change, Typek challenged South Africans to do just that. Using its social media platform, for 35 days, people who shared their messages of hope and inspiration with others on how they were ‘living a life of note’ during the lockdown could win a ZAR1,000 a day, with Sappi pledging an additional ZAR1,000 a day to the national Solidarity Fund.

A paper trail of empathy

We made a donation of Sappi manufactured toilet paper and Typek office paper to the value of ZAR2 million to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for their distribution to deserving recipients.