Learn more about the common terms used when talking about sustainable development, greenhouse gases, and forestry. Sustainability issues explained clearly and simply. Words and acronyms defined.

Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact that human activities have on the environment in terms of greenhouse gases produced. It is the total amount of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride) and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service.

When the carbon footprint of a product or a service is known, improvement measures can be taken in order to reduce it. Results can be surprising. Long transport distances in particular (especially by air) can increase the carbon footprint significantly.

Carbon footprint is a useful indicator of eco-effectiveness and can be used in order to find measures for improving our sustainability.


Chain of Custody (of forest products)

In a chain of custody every link of the production chain is monitored, verified and certified. This means that the end product is traceable and it assures end consumers about the sources of what they are buying.

The traceability provided by the chain of custody offers more advantages for Sappi and our supply chain partners than simply the label; it also helps in complying with local and international policies and regulations, reducing the risk of illegal or non-compliant material entering the supply chains.

Sappi has an integrated approach to chain of custody certification accepting credible and internationally accredited certification schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®).


Chlorine-free bleaching

Both mechanical and chemical cellulose pulp need to be bleached to improve their optical brightness before use in the manufacture of graphic papers.

All Sappi papers in Europe are made from chlorine-free (TCF or ECF) pulp.

  • TCF (totally chlorine free - bleached with oxygen, peroxide, ozone or a combination of these)
  • ECF (elementary chlorine free - bleached with oxides of chlorine or in combination with oxygen, peroxide or ozone processes).

Well-controlled processes and the biological treatment of waste water ensure that both processes have a low environmental impact. AOX (Adsorbable Halogenic Organic Compound) emissions are less than 0.17 kg per ton of pulp, meeting EU Flower, Nordic Eco-labelling standards and EU Best Available Technology Reference (BREF) requirements.

Studies have shown that the environmental impact of TCF and ECF bleaching are comparable and both technologies are considered as Best Available Techniques in Europe. ECF bleaching is the most commonly used process worldwide. Specific AOX emission data for our paper (including the emissions of our own integrated pulp production, as well as that of our pulp suppliers) can be found in our Paper Profiles.



The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a voluntary management system comprising the highest environmental standards requiring environmental stewardship, determined continuous improvement and detailed public reporting. The scheme has been available for participation by companies since 1995. It targets public or private organisations operating in Europe.

EMAS is used at all of Sappi Europe’s mills.


EU Ecolabel (EU Flower)

The EU Ecolabel is the European Union’s voluntary environmental labelling system. Products bearing the distinctive flower logo meet specific sustainability criteria. From a consumer perspective, the label has been designed to make it simple to know that a product or a service is environmentally friendly and of good quality.

In order to obtain this certification for Sappi’s paper grades, the environmental aspects of paper production have been examined, as well as the use of raw materials (use of chemicals and energy, emissions to air and water, waste management, sustainable fibre sourcing.)



The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) is an organisation established to promote sustainable forest management globally. It operates according to a number of core principles, defining standards for responsible forest management and the chain of custody. It also has a system of tracing, verifying and labelling timber and wood products, which originate from FSC® certified forests. FSC® certified products (i.e. those that have the official FSC® logo) adhere to the standards set by the organization.

Sappi supports credible forest certification schemes such as FSC®, PEFC™ and SFI®. These initiatives support good forest management practices in meeting the current need for forest products.


ISO Standards (ISO 9001/14001/50001)

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) sets and promotes industrial and commercial standards, which are globally recognized and respected.

We benefit from ISO certifications because they enable us to control every dimension of our business and to communicate this fact to our customers.

Here at Sappi Europe we are concerned with many ISO standards. Our management systems are certified against the three below:

  • ISO 9001 – Quality management
  • ISO 14001 – Environmental management
  • ISO 50001 – Energy management (mill specific)

The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management. ISO 9001 provides us with guidance and tools to ensure that our products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.

ISO 14001 is concerned with environmental management. It provides tools for companies such as ours to both identify and control our environmental impact. The focus is on the constant improvement of our environmental performance.

ISO 50001 supports the more efficient use of energy through the development of an energy management system (EnMS).


ISEGA / Food contact / Toy safety

ISEGA is an independent testing and certification institute. Every two years, it tests our papers for conformance with

  • the 36th Recommendation for Paper and Board for Food Contact from the German Federal Institutefor Risk Assessment, and
  • European regulation 1935/2004/EC.

Materials that come into contact with food must comply with the latter regulation in Europe.

The ISEGA certificates for our graphic paper grades made in Europe also state that the paper grades comply with toy safety standards EN 71 part 3 and part 9.


Nordic Ecolabel (Nordic Swan)

The Nordic Ecolabel was initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers. It specifies stringent environmental criteria for products and services that are regularly revised.

Sappi Europe’s graphic papers fall into the ‘Copy and Printing Paper’ product group. Strict environmental criteria have been determined and are intended to identify the least environmental hazardous copy and graphic papers The criteria cover a number of environmental aspects including

  • fibres from sustainable forestry,
  • limits for the use of environmentally harmful chemicals
  • production with low emissions to air and water, and
  • reduction of energy use.

Many of our paper grades have the ‘inspected paper status’. They do not bear the logo as such. Nevertheless, a Nordic Eco labelled printer however can use inspected paper to print a Nordic Eco labelled print product.


OHSAS Certification

All of Sappi Europe’s European mills hold OHSAS 18001 certification. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration Standard is aimed at minimising risks by conducting health and safety analysis and setting appropriate standards.


Paper Profile

In conjunction with Sappi’s industry associations, we have devised an environmental product declaration scheme for paper specifiers and users called Paper Profile. This is a voluntary scheme offered by Sappi, as well as other leading European paper producers.

Paper Profile is a standardised environmental data sheet which contains all significant environmental information for a particular product on one page. It provides essential figures regarding product composition and key environmental parameters, as well as information on environmental management and wood procurement. Paper Profiles for each of our brands are freely available from local Sappi sales offices.



The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC™) is an organisation established to promote sustainable forest management. The PEFC™ incorporates different national forest certification schemes. This is intended to make forest certification easier and more applicable to different types of forests. PEFC™ certified products (i.e. those that have the official PEFC™ logo) adhere to the standards set and agreed by the organization.

Sappi supports credible forest certification schemes such as FSC®, PEFC™ and SFI®. These initiatives support good forest management practices in meeting the current need for forest products.



The Publishing Industry Product Safety Forum (PIPS) is a UK based industry association made up of twelve publishers based in the UK and the US. It was formed in 2010 in response to changing chemical safety legislation. The PIPS database aims at risk assessing materials that are used for the production of books against requirements listed by chemical safety legislation in the EU, United States and around the world to support the publishing supply chain in demonstrating compliance.



Waste paper is a valuable worldwide traded commodity, with many paper, board and tissue grades made from recovered fibres. However, some waste papers carry lacquers and varnishes or have been converted to laminates which can affect their re-pulping characteristics. The re-pulping and de-inking processes leaves approximately one sixth of fibres too small or weak to make new paper. The use of virgin fibres is a key requirement to sustain paper recycling.

Waste sludge from the processes is often further used in applications such as the manufacture of bricks or cement, while de-inking sludge, containing ink and varnishes, can also be used as a fuel substitute.

All our papers are fully recyclable.


The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® program is based on the premise that responsible environmental behavior and sound business decisions can co-exist. SFI® program participants practice sustainable forestry on all lands they manage, and influence millions of additional acres through the training of loggers and foresters in best management practices and landowner outreach programs.

Sappi supports credible forest certification schemes such as FSC®, PEFC™ and SFI®. These initiatives support good forest management practices in meeting the current need for forest products.

Sustainability/Sustainable Development

Sustainability is based on the principle that the way we live has direct consequences on our environment, our economics and our people, and our future generations. Conducting business in a non-sustainable way is taking the risk of denying future generations biodiversity, a clean planet and vital resources.

We at Sappi Europe approach sustainability based on a holistic view of Prosperity, People and Planet. Being a sustainable organisation means that we balance and integrate this view into our business decisions, strategies and processes to help us create added value for all our stakeholders. Sustainability doesn’t look at products, services or businesses in isolation; it examines our whole process as an interconnected and interdependent whole.