Diversity and inclusion group

Celebrating our differences in Europe on our DEI journey

At Sappi, we’re unlocking the power of trees to make every day more sustainable. We are committed to do this through the creation of a workforce that is genuinely diverse, equitable and inclusive. We're making steady progress on this journey in Europe and around the world.

Together, we’re working to build a culture where people thrive in their careers, from the forests and mills to sales and central offices. Where differences are celebrated, and where everyone feels valued and engaged. It’s a culture we’re co-creating with our employees, our business partners and the communities that surround us.

Progress in Europe

While we’re making good progress, there’s still much to do. In Europe, we’re driving forward with our people in the lead. Employees are playing a vital role in defining our goals and opportunities and sharing about their experiences.

As part of this process, we’re evaluating our recruitment, development and retention practices and proactively seeking ways to foster a more inclusive culture across our operations. This has involved educating our leaders on a range of topics, such as increasing their awareness on how biases potentially play a role in recruitment and selection. 

We also launched a series of ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions covering themes such as ‘How biases affect the workplace and how to mitigate them’, ‘How to foster an inclusive workplace’ and ‘How can we be more inclusive at Sappi?’ These continuing sessions are helping to create awareness and initiate conversations on how to further embed diversity, equity and inclusion into our company culture.

See our Group Sustainability Report to learn more about our DE&I actions in Europe and Sappi globally.

Sappi people in Europe are feeling positive 

An employee survey conducted in 2023 in Europe showed that Sappi people think we are headed in the right direction on DE&I.

•    82% of employees feel that they work in an organisation that encourages diversity and inclusion
•    84% affirmed that Sappi employees appreciate others whose backgrounds, beliefs and experiences are different from their own
•    82% agree that the company hires candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences, who can bring in new ideas and perspectives

Fuel for our innovative spirit

Importantly, the culture we’re cultivating is also fuel for our innovative spirit. Diversity of people brings with it diversity of thought and experience that’s critical to creativity on the job. Research shows that diverse teams are better at creative decision-making 87 per cent of the time and diverse workforces of a company are 70 per cent more likely to capture more markets which in turn drives profits. 

Globally in 2023 we have colleagues representing more than 68 nationalities at Sappi.  It is exactly this diverse workforce that powers our thriving business. Maria Giulia Dal Farra is a Product Development Engineer at Carmignano Mill just outside of Venice, Italy. “Working in the Innovation Department, the opening to what is new and diverse is fundamental to our progress. I’m glad to see this value applied with a wider scope to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.” 

Since starting in September 2022, Kalaiyarasan Sathiaseelan feels very appreciative. "I've experienced tremendous support here since my first day and I'm learning a lot to improve myself and excel in this position," says the Product Development Engineer at Alfeld Mill. "My close cooperation with colleagues from other Sappi mills and sites in various countries shows me every day that I'm part of a very international and well-connected team. We tackle challenges together across national borders. Regular feedback helps me to continuously improve. It's a wonderful journey I've embarked on at Sappi.”

As the capital of Europe, Brussels is ideal to host our European HQ with a workforce that brings together Europe’s diverse people. Heloise Le Drezen is Group Exciter, Innovation and Futures Program Manager, explains: “I experience daily Sappi’s geographical diversity and the diverse cultures represented in our people. It’s truly inspiring to be in the room and see all our people with all their differences working together to achieve our innovation goals.”

Marcella Toson who works as our organisational development manager in Italy says this is the culture she shares about with jobseekers. “We encourage people to be themselves and bring their whole selves to Sappi. “And to trust that it’s your expertise, ideas and performance that matter most here, not your title or where you come from.”

“We encourage people to be themselves and bring their whole selves to Sappi. “And to trust that it’s your expertise, ideas and performance that matter most here, not your title or where you come from.”

Grow as we grow

This unique culture enables people to grow as we grow as a company. “People commonly change roles and work in different departments to gain new skills and experiences. It's a fantastic opportunity to show you can succeed in many areas”, explains Marcella. At the same time, this flexibility can allow you to move into different roles to fit your needs during different stages of life.

“We want people everywhere to see Sappi as an employer of choice”, says Sappi Europe CEO, Marco Eikelenboom. “To know us as a company that is open about our identity and story – the highs and lows – and absolutely committed to continuous improvement on our journey to a thriving world.”