Sappi North America Receives 2020 AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award

Company recognized for sustainability efforts with 'Caustic Reclaim and Reuse' project at Somerset Mill

BOSTON, Dec. 3, 2020 -- Sappi North America, Inc., a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper, packaging products and pulp, was named a recipient of the Leadership in Sustainability – Water Award from the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) as part of its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Awards programSappi was recognized for its "Caustic Reclaim and Reuse" project at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine.

The "Caustic Reclaim and Reuse" project aimed to reduce the volume of purchased chemicals required to meet the mill's boiler flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) environmental goals, as well as offset the acid usage in its onsite waste treatment plant. The Somerset Mill operates a large steam plant and utilizes demineralized water as a main makeup water source for its recovery boiler and two multi-fuel power boilers.  This project repurposes a large source of spent caustic from the demineralizer regeneration operation to meet flue-gas desulfurization goals, as well as offsets purchased acid usage in its onsite waste water treatment plant as a consequence of the spent caustic utilization.

"Sustainability remains Sappi's priority and is critical to our strategy. At the Somerset Mill, we strive to challenge industry standards and ourselves to create innovative methods to better our environment," says Sean Wallace, Managing Director, Sappi Somerset Mill. "Receiving this recognition from AF&PA is an honor, and we look forward to being a part of the industry's step toward the association's 'Better Practices, Better Planet 2020' sustainability goals."

The project is expected to significantly reduce overall caustic purchases as well as acid usage for effluent treatment. The "reclaimed caustic" concentration to the wet industrial scrubber is significantly lower than the concentration of "fresh" caustic.  So, not only is the spent caustic reclaimed from the sewer, but so is the water that is diluting it to the lower concentration.  This added "reclaimed water" in turn reduces the "fresh" water demand to meet the FGD scrubber evaporation requirements by 12,000 gal/day. By implementing a similar process, other mills can reduce chemical demand by reusing demineralized regeneration caustic and benefit the mill's overall fiscal position.

"We had a record number of submissions to our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 awards program, which underscores that sustainability is a top priority for our industry, even in the midst of a global pandemic," said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. "I continue to be impressed by our industry's commitment to leadership in sustainability. Our members are constantly striving to reach new limits of possibility and these awards give us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on innovative sustainability success stories."

AF&PA's Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Initiative is one of the most comprehensive sets of sustainability goals established for a U.S. manufacturing industry, nearly a decade ago. The initiative recognizes the three essential pillars of sustainability — economic, environmental and social — interdependent factors that collectively support long-term viability, growth and improvement. The Sustainability Award winners demonstrate the industry's long-held commitment to improving practices to build a better planet today.

The 2020 AF&PA Sustainability Award winners were selected by a judging panel of sustainability experts from the Department of Energy, GreenBlue, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Quad Packaging, Two Sides North America and Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology.

To learn more about Sappi and its sustainability efforts, please visit To view the full list of winners, visit

About Sappi North America, Inc.
Sappi North America, Inc., headquartered in Boston, is a market leader in converting wood fiber into superior products that customers demand worldwide. The success of our four diversified businesses – high-quality Graphic Papers, Pulp, Packaging and Specialty Papers and Casting and Release Papers – is driven by strong customer relationships, best-in-class people and advantaged assets, products and services. Our high-quality Graphic Papers, including McCoy, Opus, Somerset, and Flo, are the key platform for premium magazines, catalogs, books, direct mail and high-end print advertising. We are a leading manufacturer of Dissolving Pulp with our Verve brand, a sustainable fiber, which is used in a wide range of products, including textile fibers and household goods. We deliver sustainable Packaging and Specialty Papers for luxury packaging and folding carton applications with our single-ply packaging brands, Spectro and Proto, and for the food and label industries with our specialty papers, LusterPrint and LusterCote. We are also one of the world's leading suppliers of Casting and Release Papers with our Ultracast, PolyEx and Classics lines for the automotive, fashion and engineered films industries. Customers rely on Sappi for high technical, operational and market expertise; products and services delivered with consistently high quality and reliability; and, state-of-the-art and cost-competitive assets and innovative spirit.

Sappi North America is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited (JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 12,000 employees and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and customers in over 150 countries.

About the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry's sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $55 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.