Definitions of terms in content from Sappi, a leading global provider of everyday materials made from woodfibre-based renewable resources.

A terms


acquisition date - The date on which control in respect of subsidiaries, joint control in respect of joint arrangements and significant influence in associates commences.

ACR – Audit and Risk Committee.

AF&PA - American Forest and Paper Association.

AGM - Annual general meeting.

air dry tons (ADT) - Meaning dry solids content of 90% and moisture content of 10%.

asset turnover (times) - Sales divided by total assets.

associate - An entity over which the investor has significant influence.

average - Averages are calculated as the sum of the opening and closing balances for the relevant period divided by two.

B terms


basic earnings per share - Net profit for the year divided by the weighted average number of shares in issue during the year.

BBBEE – Broad-based black economic empowerment.

BCTMP - Bleached chemi-thermo mechanical pulp.

biochemicals - Enzymes, hormones, pheromones etc, which either occur naturally or are manufactured to be identical to naturally occurring substances. Biochemicals have many environment-friendly applications, such as natural pesticides that work in non-lethal ways as repellents or by disrupting the mating patterns of the pests.

biofuels - Organic material such as wood, waste and alcohol fuels, as well as gaseous and liquid fuels produced from these feedstocks.

biomaterials - New developments in wood processing support the move to a biobased economy that utilises materials that are renewable and biodegradable and in the case of wood feedstocks do not compete with food sources.

black economic empowerment (BEE) charge - Represents the IFRS 2 non-cash charge associated with the BEE transaction implemented in 2010 in terms of BEE legislation in South Africa.

black liquor - The spent cooking liquor from the pulping process which arises when pulpwood is cooked in a digester thereby removing lignin, and other extractives from the wood to free the cellulose fibres. The resulting black liquor is an aqueous solution of lignin residues and the inorganic chemicals used in the pulping process. Black liquor contains slightly more than half of the energy content of the wood fed into the digester.

bleached pulp - Pulp that has been bleached by means of chemical additives to make it suitable for higher brightness fine paper production.

board – Board of directors.

C terms


CAC – Control and Assurance Committee.

capital employed - Shareholders' equity plus net debt.

cash interest cover - Cash generated by operations divided by finance costs less finance revenue.

casting and release paper - Embossed paper used to impart design in polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride plastic films for the production of synthetic leather and other solid textured surfaces.

CAW – Combined Assurance Workgroup.

CDP – Formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project.

CEO – Chief Executive Officer.

CEPI - Confederation of European Paper Industries.

CFO – Chief Financial Officer

CFRONA – Cash flow return on net assets.

Cham Paper Group Holding AG (CPG) - Speciality paper business acquired by Sappi, which included CPG's Carmignano and Condino Mills (Italy) and its digital imaging business located in Cham (Switzerland) as well as all brands and know-how.

chemical oxygen demand (COD) - The amount of oxygen required to break down the organic compounds in effluent.

chemical pulp - A generic term for pulp made from woodfibre that has been produced in a chemical process.

CHP - Combined heat and power.

coated mechanical paper (CM) - Coated paper made from groundwood pulp which has been produced in a mechanical process, primarily used for magazines, catalogues and advertising material.

coated paper - Paper that contains a layer of coating material on one or both sides. The coating materials, consisting of pigments and binders, act as a filler to improve the printing surface of the paper.

coated woodfree paper (CWF) - Coated paper made from chemical pulp which is made from woodfibre that has been produced in a chemical process, primarily used for high-end publications and advertising material.

CoC - Chain of Custody.

COP26 – The 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) took place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021.

COP27 - The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022.

COP28 – The 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in November/December 2023.

commissioning date - The date that an item of property, plant and equipment, whether acquired or constructed, is brought into use.

compound annual growth rate - Is the mean annual growth rate of an investment over a specified period of time longer than one year.

control - An investor controls an investee when it is exposed, or has rights, to variable returns from its involvement with the investee and has the ability to affect those returns through its power over the investee.

corrugating medium - Paperboard made from chemical and semi-chemical pulp, or waste paper, that is to be converted to a corrugated board by passing it through corrugating cylinders. Corrugating medium between layers of linerboard form the board from which corrugated boxes are produced.

CSI - Corporate social investment.

CSR - Corporate social responsibility.

CSV - Corporate shared value involves developing profitable business strategies that deliver tangible social benefits.

current asset ratio - Current assets divided by current liabilities.

D terms


deep eutectic solvents – Systems formed from a eutectic mixture of Lewis or Brønsted acids and bases that can contain a variety of anionic and/or cationic species. They are classified as types of ionic solvents with special properties.

diluted earnings per share - Is calculated by assuming conversion or exercise of all potentially dilutive shares, share options and share awards unless these are anti-dilutive.

discount rate - This is the pre-tax interest rate that reflects the current market assessment of the time value of money for the purposes of determining discounted cash flows. In determining the cash flows the risks specific to the asset or liability are taken into account in determining those cash flows and are not included in determining the discount rate.

disposal date - The date on which control in respect of subsidiaries, joint arrangements and significant influence in associates ceases.

dissolving pulp (DP) - Highly purified chemical pulp derived primarily from wood and in some instances, cotton linters, intended primarily for conversion into chemical derivatives of cellulose and used mainly in the manufacture of viscose staple fibre, solvent spin fibre and filament. (Sappi Pulp - The business unit within Sappi which oversees the production and marketing of DP.)

dividend yield - Dividends per share, which were declared after year-end, in US cents divided by the financial year-end closing prices on the JSE Limited converted to US cents using the closing financial year-end exchange rate.

DP market price - Market price for imported hardwood dissolving pulp into China issued daily by the CCF Group.

E terms


EIA - Environmental impact assessment.

earnings yield - Earnings per share divided by the financial year-end closing prices on the JSE Limited converted to US cents using the closing financial year-end exchange rate.

EBITDA excluding special items (EBITDA) - Earnings before interest (net finance costs), taxation, depreciation, amortisation and special items.

energy - Is present in many forms such as solar, mechanical, thermal, electrical and chemical. Any source of energy can be tapped to perform work. In power plants, coal is burned and its chemical energy is converted into electrical energy. To generate steam, coal and other fossil fuels are burned, thus converting stored chemical energy into thermal energy.

EPR - Extended producer responsibility.

EPS excluding special items - Earnings per share excluding special items and certain once-off finance and tax items.

ESD - Enterprise and supplier development.

ESG – Environmental, social and corporate governance.

Eskom - Eskom is the South African national electricity public utility.

EUDR – EU Deforestation Regulation.

F terms


fair value - The price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.

fellings - The amount charged against the income statement representing the standing value of the plantations harvested.

fibre - Fibre is generally referred to as pulp in the paper industry. Wood is treated chemically or mechanically to separate the fibres during the pulping process.

financial results - Comprise the financial position (assets, liabilities and equity), results of operations (revenue and expenses) and cash flows of an entity and of the group.

fine paper - Paper usually produced from chemical pulp for printing and writing purposes and consisting of coated and uncoated paper.

FMCG - Fast-moving consumer goods. Examples include non-durable goods such as packaged foods, beverages, toiletries, over-the-counter medicines and many other consumables.

foreign operation - An entity whose activities are based or conducted in a country or currency other than that of the reporting entity.

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) - A global, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide. (FSC-N003159) (https://ic.fsc.org/en)

FSA – Forestry South Africa.

FSG – Forest Solutions Group.

full-time equivalent employee - The number of total hours worked divided by the maximum number of compensable hours in a full-time schedule as defined by law.

functional currency - The currency of the primary economic environment in which the entity operates.

G terms


GAAP - Generally accepted accounting principles.

GoO – Guarantee of Origin.

graphic papers (also printing and writing papers) - A generic term for a group of papers intended for commercial printing use such as coated woodfree paper, coated mechanical paper, uncoated woodfree paper and newsprint.

greenhouse gases (GHG) - The GHGs included in the Kyoto Protocol are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

GRI – Global Reporting Initiative.

GRMT – Group Risk Management Team.

group - The group comprises Sappi Limited, its subsidiaries and its interest in joint ventures and associates.

GSDC – Group Sustainable Development Council.

H terms


headline earnings - As defined in Circular 1/2019, issued by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in March 2021, which separates from earnings all separately identifiable remeasurements. It is not necessarily a measure of sustainable earnings. It is a Listings Requirement of JSE Limited to disclose headline earnings per share.

hemicellulose sugars - The biorefinery process for second-generation hemicellulose sugars involves recovering them from the prehydolysate liquor, and then separating them mostly from lignin.

high-yield pulp – Pulp that has a higher yield from wood logs than pure chemical pulps. High-yield pulp is processed either through mechanical processes or combined mechanical chemical processes such as Matane Mill high-yield bleached chemi-thermo mechanical pulp (BCTMP).

HR – Human resources.

I terms


Ideas that Matter (ITM) – More than a decade ago Sappi North America established the Ideas that Matter grant programme to recognise and support designers who use their skills and expertise to solve communications problems for a wide range of charitable activities.

inventory turnover (times) - Cost of sales divided by inventory on hand at balance sheet date.

ISO - Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 9000 is a series of standards focused on quality management systems, while the ISO 14001 series is focused on environmental performance and management and the ISO 50001 covers energy management.

IT – Information technology.

J terms


joint arrangement - Is an arrangement of which two or more parties have joint control.

joint venture - Is a joint arrangement whereby the parties that have joint control of the arrangement have rights to the net assets of the arrangement.

JSE Limited - The main securities exchange in South Africa.

K terms


KPI - Key performance indicator.

kraft paper - Packaging or other paper (bleached or unbleached) made from kraft pulp.

kraft pulp - Chemical wood pulp produced by digesting wood by means of the sulphate pulping process.

Kyoto Protocol - A document signed by over 160 countries at Kyoto, Japan in December 1997 which commits signatories to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) relative to levels emitted in 1990.

L terms


lignosulphonate - Lignosulphonate is a highly soluble lignin derivative and a product of the sulphite pulping process.

linerboard - The grade of paperboard used for the exterior facings of corrugated board. Linerboard is combined with corrugating medium by converters to produce corrugated board used in boxes.

liquor - White liquor is the aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphide used to extract lignin during kraft pulping. Black liquor is the resultant combination of lignin, water and chemicals.

lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) - Number of lost time injuries x 200,000 divided by man-hours.

lost-time injury severity rate (LTISR) – Number of days lost x 200,000/actual man hours.

LTSIP – Long-term share incentive plan.

M terms


managed forest - Naturally occurring forests that are harvested and managed commercially.

market pulp - Pulp produced for sale on the open market, as opposed to that produced for own consumption in an integrated mill.

mechanical pulp - Pulp produced by means of the mechanical grinding or refining of wood or woodchips.

MIS – Management incentive scheme.

M&A – Mergers and acquisitions.

N terms


nanocellulose - Cellulose is the main component of plant stems, leaves and roots. Traditionally, its main commercial use was in producing paper and textiles. Nanocellulose is derived from further processing cellulose to a smaller size fraction or nanoscale. These engineered celluloses open up opportunities for advanced, planet-friendly solutions in place of environmentally harmful products.

National Development Plan (NDP) – Aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.

natural/indigenous forest – Natural forests include old-growth and primary forests as well as managed forests where most of the principal characteristics and key elements of native ecosystems such as complexity, structure, wildlife and biological diversity are present.

NBHK - Northern bleached hardwood kraft pulp. One of the varieties of market pulp, produced from hardwood trees (ie birch or aspen) in Scandinavia, Canada and the northern United States of America.

NBSK - Northern bleached softwood kraft pulp. One of the main varieties of market pulp, produced from coniferous trees (ie spruce, pine) in Scandinavia, Canada and the northern United States of America. The price of NBSK is a benchmark widely used in the pulp and paper industry for comparative purposes.

NDC – Nationally determined contribution.

NED – Non-executive director.

net assets - Total assets less total liabilities.

net asset value per share - Net assets divided by the number of shares in issue at balance sheet date.

net cash (utilised) generated - Cash flows from operating activities less cash flows from investing activities.

net debt - Current and non-current interest-bearing borrowings and lease liabilities, and bank overdraft (net of cash, cash equivalents and short-term deposits).

net debt to total capitalisation - Net debt divided by capital employed.

net operating assets - Total assets (excluding deferred taxation and cash and cash equivalents) less current liabilities (excluding interest-bearing borrowings, lease liabilities and overdraft).

NPV – Net present value.

newsprint - Paper produced for the printing of newspapers mainly from mechanical pulp and/or recycled waste paper.

NGO - Non-governmental organisation.

Non-GAAP financial definitions - The group believes that it is useful to report certain non-GAAP measures for the following reasons:

  • These measures are used by the group for internal performance analysis
  • The presentation by the group's reported business segments of these measures facilitates comparability with other companies in our industry, although the group's measures may not be comparable with similarly titled profit measurements reported by other companies, and
  • It is useful in connection with discussion with the investment analyst community and debt rating agencies.

These non-GAAP measures should not be considered in isolation or construed as a substitute for GAAP measures in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

NPO - Non-profit organisation.

O terms


OHSAS - An international health and safety standard.

operation - A component of the group that represents a separate major line of business or geographical area of operation that is distinguished separately for financial and operating purposes.

operating profit - A profit from business operations before deduction of net finance costs and taxes.

ordinary dividend cover - Profit for the period divided by the ordinary dividend declared, multiplied by the actual number of shares in issue at year-end.

ordinary shareholders' interest per share - Shareholders' equity divided by the actual number of shares in issue at year-end.

OTC - Over-the-counter trading of shares.

Own measure – A term that refers to any internal reporting preferences that are currently not required by the GRI topic disclosures. These figures can be absolute, percentages of totals or intensity ratios. For example, intensity ratios are obtained by dividing the absolute value (numerator) by the organisation-specific metric, air dry ton (the denominator).

P terms


packaging and speciality papers – A generic term for a group of papers intended for commercial and industrial use such as flexible packaging, label papers, functional papers, containerboard, paperboard, silicone base papers, casting and release papers, dye sublimation papers, inkjet papers and tissue paper.

packaging paper - Paper used for packaging purposes.

PAMSA - Paper Manufacturers' Association of South Africa.

plantation - Large-scale planted forests, intensively managed, highly productive and grown primarily for wood and fibre production.

PM - Paper machine.

power - The rate at which energy is used or produced.

presentation currency - The currency in which the financial results of an entity are presented.

price/earnings ratio - The financial year-end closing prices on the JSE Limited converted to US cents using the closing financial year-end exchange rate divided by earnings per share.

printing and writing papers (also graphic papers) - A generic term for a group of papers intended for commercial printing use such as coated woodfree paper, coated mechanical paper, uncoated woodfree paper and newsprint.

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) - An international non-profit, NGO dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management (SFM) through independent third-party certification. PEFC works by endorsing national forest certification systems and is represented in 49 countries through national organisations such as SFI® in North America. (https://www.pefc.org)

PSP – Performance share plan.

pulpwood - Wood suitable for producing pulp - usually not of sufficient standard for sawmilling.

Q terms


qualifying asset - An asset that necessarily takes a substantial period (normally in excess of six months) to get ready for its intended use.

R terms


R&D - Research and development.

raster – A rectangular pattern of parallel scanning lines followed by the electron beam on a television screen or computer monitor.

recoverable amount - The recoverable amount of an asset or cash-generating unit is the higher of its fair value less costs of disposal and its value in use. In determining the value in use, expected future cash flows are discounted to their net present values using the discount rate.

related party - Parties are considered to be related if one party directly or indirectly has the ability to control the other party or exercise significant influence over the other party in making financial and operating decisions or is a member of the key management of Sappi Limited.

release paper - Based paper used in the production of making release liners, the backing paper for self-adhesive labels.

revolving credit facility (RCF) - A variable line of credit used by public and private businesses.

ROCE - Return on average capital employed. Operating profit excluding special items divided by average capital employed.

ROE - Return on average equity. Profit for the period divided by average shareholders' equity.

RONOA - Return on average net operating assets. Operating profit excluding special items divided by average net operating assets.

S terms


SAC – Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

sackkraft - Kraft paper used to produce multi-wall paper sacks.

Sappi Biotech - The business unit within Sappi which drives innovation and commercialisation of biomaterials and biochemicals.

Sappi Dissolving Pulp - The business unit within Sappi which oversees the production and marketing of dissolving pulp (DP).

Sappi Europe (SEU) - The business unit within Sappi which oversees operations in the European region.

Sappi North America (SNA) - The business unit within Sappi which oversees operations in the North American region.

Sappi Papier Holding (SPH) – Sappi’s international holding company.

Sappi Southern Africa (SSA) - The business unit within Sappi which oversees operations in the Southern Africa region.

SBS – Solid bleached sulphate board.

SBTi - The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The objective of SBTi is to drive ambitious climate action in the private sector by enabling companies to set science-based GHG emissions reduction targets. SBTi provides technical assistance and expert resources to companies who set science-based targets in line with the latest climate science and provides companies with independent assessment and validation of decarbonisation targets.

Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions - The Greenhouse Gas Protocol defines Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) emissions as follows:

  • Direct GHG emissions are emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting entity, and
  • Indirect GHG emissions are emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heat or cooling.

SDGs – See UN SDGs.

segment assets - Total assets (excluding deferred taxation and cash) less current liabilities (excluding interest-bearing borrowings and overdraft).

SETS - Social, ethics, transformation and sustainability.

SG&A - Selling, general and administrative expenses.

share-based payment - A transaction in which Sappi Limited issues shares or share options to group employees as compensation for services rendered.

significant influence - Is the power to participate in the financial and operating policy decisions of an entity but is not control or joint control of those policies.

silviculture costs - Growing and tending costs of trees in forestry operations.

solid waste - Dry organic and inorganic waste materials.

special items - Special items cover those items which management believe are material by nature or amount to the operating results and require separate disclosure. Such items would generally include profit or loss on disposal of property, investments and businesses, asset impairments, restructuring charges, non-recurring integration costs related to acquisitions, financial impacts of natural disasters, non-cash gains or losses on the price fair value adjustment of plantations and alternative fuel tax credits receivable in cash.

specific - When data is expressed in a specific form, this means that the actual quantity consumed during the year indicated, whether energy, water, emissions or solid waste, is expressed in terms of a production parameter. For Sappi, as with other pulp and paper companies, this parameter is air dry tons of saleable product.

specific purchased energy - The term 'specific' indicates that the actual quantity during the year indicated is expressed in terms of a production parameter. For Sappi, as with other pulp and paper companies, the parameter is air dry tons of product.

specific total energy (STE) - The energy intensity ratio defined by the total energy consumption in the context of the saleable production.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) - A solutions-oriented sustainability organisation that collaborates on forest-based conservation and community initiatives. The SFI® forest management standard is the largest forestry certification standard in the PEFC programme. (http://forests.org/)


T terms


TCFD – Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

TG – Turbine generator.

TNFD - Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures.

thermo-mechanical pulp - Pulp produced by processing woodfibres using heat and mechanical grinding or refining wood or woodchips.

ton - Metric ton of 1,000 kg.

tons per annum (tpa) - Term used in this report to denote tons per annum (tons a year). Capacity figures in this report denote tons per annum at maximum continuous run rate.

total market capitalisation - Ordinary number of shares in issue (excluding treasury shares held by the group) multiplied by the financial year-end closing prices on the JSE Limited converted to US cents using the closing financial year-end exchange rate.

total suspended solids (TSS) - Refers to matter suspended or dissolved in effluent.

trade receivables days outstanding (including securitised balances) - Gross trade receivables, including receivables securitised, divided by sales multiplied by the number of days in the year.

Transnet - Transnet is the state-owned South African rail, port and pipeline company.

TSR – Total shareholder return.

U terms


uncoated woodfree paper - Printing and writing paper made from bleached chemical pulp used for general printing, photocopying and stationery, etc. Referred to as uncoated as it does not contain a layer of pigment to give it a coated surface.

United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) - A principle-based framework for businesses, stating 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

UN SDGs – United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

V terms


Verve - The brand name for Sappi dissolving pulp.

viscose staple fibre (VSF) - A natural fibre made from purified cellulose, primarily from dissolving pulp (DP) that can be twisted to form yarn.

W terms


WBCSD - World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

woodfree paper - Paper made from chemical pulp.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – The world’s largest conservation organisation, focused on supporting biological diversity.

Tracy Wessels
Group Head Investor Relations and Sustainability
Sappi Limited (Reg no 1936/008963/06)
108 Oxford Road
Johannesburg, 2196
South Africa
+27 (0)11 407 8391