Our sustainability targets for a thriving world

At Sappi, we’re unlocking the power of trees to make every day more sustainable – for the customers we serve, the communities where we operate and the planet we all call home.

That’s why we’ve made the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) an integral part of our business. The goals define 17 global priorities that challenge us all at Sappi to lean in and apply our creativity and innovation to contribute solutions to challenges – from climate change to poverty.

Globally, Sappi has identified seven priority SDGs where we believe we can make the biggest impact. More than ever before this focus is important. With only 10 years left to achieve the global goals, Sappi is joining the call to step up for this Decade of Action and will, using its global impact, work together with governments, civil society, businesses and society to achieve ambitious action for sustainable development. 

In 2022, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) approved our global targets to reduce carbon emissions 41.5% per ton of product by 2030, as well as our commitment that 44% of our suppliers by spend have science-based targets by 2026.

All seven of Sappi’s priority SDGs and related 2025 targets are set out below with some If you’re interested in our regional targets for Europe, North America and South Africa, the full overview is available here. in Europe, we have made especially bold progress toward our goals with over 80 projects targeted for completion by 2025. Discover the SDGs in action in Europe.

Our journey to a thriving world

The SDGs were a natural starting point to develop Sappi’s new sustainability framework and 2025 targets. They enabled us to establish focused, ambitious and measurable targets that will deliver on Sappi’s business strategy and also address broader global concerns. Focus teams across Sappi worked intensively to evaluate the 17 SDG themes, and identify the seven goals that are now our global priority areas. From these goals, we then selected the indicators to measure our progress and set our 2025 targets. In South Africa, home to our global headquarters, we selected two additional priority SDGs that reflect the socio-economic development priorities that reinforce our unique and longstanding investments in people and local communities in the country.  

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 so much more in our mills. That’s why we take our role as responsible water stewards in the regions where we live and work so seriously.  Our water reduction target focuses especially on our mills in South Africa where we have some of our largest operations.   

As an energy-intensive industry, Sappi’s fuel choices have a major impact on air emissions. We're focused on increasing the share of renewable and clean energy within our energy consumption, while also continually improving our energy efficiency.

As a responsible business operating in many locations around the world, this broad goal aligns with our focus on being a responsible corporate citizen and providing a safe working environment in which our employees can reach their full potential. 

Manufacturing products from renewable resources is the core of Sappi’s business and central to our commitment to the circular economy. Through R&D, practical innovation and new product development, we continually create new products, solutions and value from natural resources. 

Taking urgent and appropriate actions to combat climate change and its impacts is a shared responsibility. We are focused on the continued reduction of Sappi’s greenhouse gas emissions.

With Sappi’s excellence in sustainable forest management and commitment to stewardship, we want to continue to increase our positive contribution to healthy landscapes. We practise and promote sustainable forestry because it ensures clean air and water, protects biodiversity, and defends against climate change, amongst many other critical benefits. Forest certification validates our forest management practices and those of our suppliers in the well-managed forests and plantations from which we source woodfibre. We strive to continually increase the share of certified woodfibre supplied to our mills.

While Sappi is already engaged in, and has been contributing to many partnerships and collaborations, we look forward to working more deeply with others to scale our ambition in pursuit of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Of particular importance in South Africa is the role that Sappi plays in community development. Our footprint in rural areas due to the location of our forests and mills focuses our attention, as a responsible corporate citizen, on the needs of these communities. The results? Actions which not only strengthen the business but also have a positive impact on the lives of the people in our communities. Discover more in our 2021 Corporate Citizenship Report for South Africa.