We have a tremendous sustainability team in North America, enabling us to unlock the power of renewable resources to meet the needs of the planet and people in ways that seed prosperity for all.
Our fearless-female team is led by Beth Cormier, Vice President of Research, Development and Sustainability alongside Rebecca Barnard, Manager of Forestry Certification, and Lynne Palmer, Manager of Packaging Product Stewardship. What sets this team apart is their shared commitment to a science-based approach to sustainability, a collaborative spirit and a real passion for getting things done.
Beth sees her role as “the knitter, pulling in the threads of all the good work of others” to create a holistic approach to sustainability. “I'm always struck by the strong culture at Sappi, how so many people throughout the organisation really ‘own’ their part in our sustainability journey. I’m working to build on this spirit.”
This focus achieves far more than making Sappi more eco-effective. “Our sustainability strategy puts us in line with the needs of our customers”, explains Rebecca. “And creates an edge for us in the market.”
Lynne, a chemical engineer by training and a long-term employee at our Technology Center, has broad experience in papermaking, product development and anticipating the needs of our customers. Today, she works both up and down the supply chain to ensure that Sappi North America’s food packaging products meet stringent governmental food safety regulations and customer expectations for product safety. What does that have to do with sustainability? Everything.
Rebecca brings a decade and a half of forest management and policy experience to Sappi in her current role as Forestry Certification Manager. Before joining Sappi, Rebecca served as the National Forestry Programs Manager at the National Wild Turkey Federation. Earlier, Rebecca was the Forest Certification Coordinator for the State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources where she was responsible for managing dual SFI and FSC certification on nearly 5 million acres of state-administered forestlands, one of the largest certified land bases in North America.
At Sappi North America, Rebecca is responsible for material risk assessments for both wood and pulp suppliers, managing our FSC, SFI and PEFC Chain-of-Custody and fibre sourcing certificates, and providing training, support and strategic direction to Sappi staff on certification-related matters.
In Rebecca’s view, it's critical to promote an inclusive approach to the three certification systems, and to educate our customers and end-users on the value that certification brings. "How else can we provide our customers with the security of knowing that our wood is sourced from well-managed sustainable forests, where proper forestry practices ensure that the interests of wildlife, biodiversity, water quality, soil conservation, forest health, and the needs of local communities are all met for current and future generations?”
Rebecca advocates for a transparent, community-based approach to forest management. “Forestry is an art and a science that involves management of the forest and people to achieve balanced objectives.”
Sappi North America’s sustainability leaders stress their collaborative working relationship. “Rebecca’s wood fibre certification programmes ensure our forests for the future”, says Beth. She adds, “Our innovations in packaging offer a bright spot for the future of our business and gives our customers a choice in sustainable packaging materials with a lower carbon footprint.”
Beth is also connected with the Sappi group’s broader sustainability efforts, working closely with his counterparts in Europe and South Africa. The tactical approaches in each region may be different, due to regulation, laws or unique markets, but the commitment is the same. “We take a One Sappi view on managing our sustainability performance”, she comments. “The same commitment to fact-based and transparent reporting, with a global focus on safety, employee engagement, and climate policy, mitigation and resilience.”
The team stresses that for sustainability efforts to be successful, there must be employee engagement. They're working so that all Sappi employees understand the importance of - and Sappi’s role in supporting - vibrant, productive well-managed forests: “I was inspired that in our most recent certification audit, our organisation was commended for its strong culture, including mentorship of our newest foresters. This shows Sappi’s commitment and investment in the future of our forests and people!”
Lynne has led a significant management of change initiative, training Somerset employees to fundamentally rethink how they work. She is impressed by how everyone in the mill has responded to new standards under a Food Safety Management System - from monitoring and managing process cleanliness, to employee hygiene, to management of their own meals which are a potential source of contamination. Lynne says, “We have a large operation at Somerset, and making these changes involves everyone. Employees are asking great questions that are building everyone’s understanding of food safety guidelines.”
“When you are in a room with Rebecca or Lynne, what strikes you is their optimism, energy and enthusiasm. I couldn’t be more confident in the team we have assembled to help set our course for 2020 and beyond”, Beth comments. “Their passion, expertise, and willingness to tackle the detail to get to the right result is inspiring.” This sentiment from Beth might just say it best.