Achieve 15% reduction in specific water use in water-stressed locations
Our actions in forests and our mills can combat some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, especially climate change.
That’s why we act as champions for sustainable forestry—working to keep forestland forested for generations to come. And not just in Sappi forests and plantations, but also in those maintained by our suppliers around the world.
At our mills, we're on a continuous journey to reduce waste and maximise material and resource use at every opportunity. These 'eco-effective' operations help accelerate the transition to the biobased, circular economy our planet demands.
Achieve 14% reduction in specific landfilled solid waste
At Sappi, we act as stewards of forestlands together with our suppliers. Our policies and practices aim to ensure that forests and plantations are expertly tended, harvested and most importantly, regenerated for healthy regrowth.
We practise sustainable forest management on our land because it ensures clean air and water, protects biodiversity, and defends against climate change, amongst many other critical benefits.
We use forest certification to validate our forest management practices and those of our suppliers. With rigorous standards and third-party verification, these systems ensure that forests are well-managed and our use of woodfibre does not jeopardise the forest.
Forests hold solutions for so many pressing global challenges. We need ambitious, collective action to reverse deforestation and forest degradation. In forests and with our fibre-based products, we are working to scale-up more nature-based solutions. Read more in our FAQ: Forests Matter.
Forests grow on land that in many regions is increasingly under competition for use in farming, ranching and other land uses. By providing a dependable market for responsibly grown fibre, we encourage landowners to manage their forestland instead of selling it for development or other non-forest uses. This investment keeps forests healthy and continuously growing for generations to come.
European forests grew by 58,390 square kilometres between 2005 and 2020 – that’s an area bigger than Switzerland.
Deforestation in Canada is among the world’s lowest at 0.02% of its forested area. The key causes of deforestation in Canada are not forestry, but rather urbanisation, agriculture and energy developments.
Forests expanded in the US from 746 million to 766 million acres (2.6%) between 1990 and 2015. This is equivalent to an average growth rate of 1,660 NFL fields per day.
Rural uplift programmes
In South Africa, Sappi has pioneered programmes that uplift rural areas through sustainable forestry without harvesting indigenous trees.
Our practices ensure far more than healthy forests. They enhance lives and uplift communities by:
Well-managed forests with Sappi also play a vital role in carbon sequestration which prevents and mitigates climate change.
We responsibly source woodfibre to ensure that the millions of hectares of forestland we rely on remain healthy today AND tomorrow.
We source our woodfibre from well-managed forests and strive to continually increase the share from certified forests. We require all suppliers to provide evidence that woodfibre is at minimum from controlled and non-controversial sources. We do not accept woodfibre from illegally logged forests or from forests where high conservation values are threatened by management activities.
Our strict Woodfibre Procurement Policy ensures rigorous tracing practices and origin documentation for all woodfibre in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) Controlled Wood Standard, as well as the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and in the United States, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) risk-based Due Diligence systems.
We constantly seek to increase our use of certified wood by supporting landowners and wood suppliers to implement these standards.
Our Woodfibre Procurement Policy ensures that we source woodfibre that:
Tree species identified as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are neither utilised nor imported. We comply with the US Lacey Act, EU Timber Regulation, Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation and other regional legality requirements.
We neither harvest nor buy woodfibre that originates from tropical natural forests. With our Woodfibre Procurement Policy, our sourcing causes zero deforestation because we:
With innovation and ingenuity, we're making our mills eco-effective—reducing waste, emissions and maximising material and resource use at every opportunity.
Transforming woodfibre into the paper products that people rely on every day is an energy-intensive process. With eco-effective actions big and small, Sappi mills worldwide are reducing their environmental footprints and turning waste into new resources. We have ambitious targets and commitments in place and continuously monitor and report our performance.
Together with our partners, we’re accelerating the transition to the low-carbon, circular economy by:
cutting greenhouse gas emissions
integrating more renewable energy
improving energy efficiency
reducing our water consumption
reducing waste sent to landfill
Our culture at Sappi is built to realise the full potential of responsibility in our everyday operations. Our management systems are best in class with expert teams committed to continuous improvement in all aspect of performance. Our many third-party certifications are the proof of our promise.
Black liquor, a byproduct created during pulp production, is a biofuel and the primary renewable fuel source used to generate steam and power in our integrated pulp and paper mills. It’s a great example of how we turn waste into new resources while reducing our reliance on fossil-based fuels. Today, we even sell green electricity from some locations into the local grid. Learn more about black liquor.
Decarbonisation remains a top priority at our mills. We’re working towards further integration of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, we’re co-investigating a range of technologies to radically change today’s pulp and paper-making processes and energy systems. Learn more about decarbonisation with Sappi.
We act as responsible stewards of water resources, reducing our water consumption and improving the quality of water we return to the environment.
Water is vital to all life, and especially to our business. Water not only nourishes trees but is used to make pulp and paper, generate steam power and do so much more in our mills. That’s why we take so seriously our role as responsible water stewards in the regions where we live and work.
We're focused on eco-effective actions that can reduce our water consumption and improve the quality of treated water we return to the environment. By collaborating with the communities where we operate, we strive to improve the long-term sustainability of the water resources we all share.
By reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and scaling up nature-based solutions, we´re increasingly part of the solution to climate change.
The world needs urgent action to limit global warming by 1.5 degrees. The trees in forests capture and store carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases causing climate change. By keeping forestland forested, forests can continue serving as the lungs of the planet—providing clean air to breathe and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
On the plantations under our watch, we're pioneering climate-smart forestry practices. From conducting investigations with satellite imagery to planting more resilient hybrid species and implementing fire protection strategies, we're at the front lines. With our nature-based solutions, we're replacing fossil-based materials. This is another powerful way that we can act on climate change.
By becoming eco-effective in our global operations, we're also working to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We have committed to the Science Based Targets* initiative and are actively mapping out our decarbonisation pathways across the business. We track our global emissions and disclose them annually in our Group Sustainability Report as well as in numerous programmes, including the:
• EU Emissions Trading System
• Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
• US Environmental Protection Agency’s Mandatory Reporting Rule
*Science Based Targets is a collaboration with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
We continually monitor and review forest best practices in light of changing environmental factors, helping to mitigate any increased threat from water shortages or drought.
Climate change investigations determine which plantations are most at risk, and identify which climatic variables are likely to change, as well as the magnitude and direction of such change. This shapes our planting plan.
Modelled future climate data helps us to produce and select the most optimally suited hybrid varieties for each climatic zone.
The use of satellite imagery focused on rapidly detecting and reacting to damage (drought, pests, diseases) to our plantations enables quick response to any change.
We annually measure approximately 500 permanent sample plots. This information gives us real-time estimates of growth rates. This allows us to react quickly to any decline that may be observed.
Maintaining a broad genetic base facilitates response to new challenges such as pests, disease and climate change while providing continuous genetic improvement over the long term.
We are replacing pure species with hybrids that are less sensitive to changes in temperature. Our tree breeding division has a target of developing a hybrid varietal solution for all our sites by 2025.
Implementing an extensive fire protection strategy is essential, as climate change exacerbates the potential for fires.
The forests and plantations from which we source woodfibre help mitigate global warming by acting as carbon sinks.
"We need healthy ecosystems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to address climate change: they can provide 37% of the mitigation needed to limit global temperature rise."
United Nations Secretary-General,
International Day of Biodiversity 2019