Sappi hosts Deputy Minister Sotyu to launch National Arbor Month campaign

The Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Makhotso Sotyu, was hosted by Sappi in Mpumalanga at its Ngodwana Nursery, as part of the official launch of the National Arbor Month campaign on Wednesday, 01 September 2022.


Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Makhotso Sotyu
during her visit at the Ngodwana Nursery in Mpumalanga.

With the theme this year of ‘Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption’, Sappi was ideally positioned to kick off the day’s proceedings with an overview of the company, setting the scene as to how sustainably-managed forests forms the basis for a circular economy, using the power of trees and renewable resources to create sustainable products.

It also reinforced the role that Sappi plays, through these sustainable forestry management practices and how its various initiatives supports the Forestry Sector Master Plan. Duane Roothman, Vice President of Sappi Forests outlined some of these initiatives, which include Sappi’s Enterprise Supplier Development programme, which is aimed at introducing and upskilling more entrants into the forestry value chain.


Duane Roothman, Vice President of Sappi Forests

“As an anchor tenant in the rural economy, Sappi is intent on increasing access to the forestry value chain for more participants. Our Sappi Khulisa programme, which has over 3,600 participants has yielded a total volume 4,731,488 tons to the value of ZAR2.9 billion since 1995, and in addition we have more than a hundred SMEs that train, mentor and guide to become fully entrenched into the value chain. Not only do we provide the skills, but we also provide the offtake market which allows for economic growth and development for these participants, supporting our priority Sustainable Development Goals SDG 1, No Poverty and SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth,” he said.

In keeping with the theme of Arbor Month, which is aimed at the need to conserve, protect and plant trees for environmental and human related ideals, Roothman went on to provide background to Sappi’s extensive conservation efforts that are recognised through internationally accredited forest certification systems like the Forest Stewardship Council™.

(FSC™ N003159); and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC/01-44-43). Approximately 135,000 hectares of our land is set aside and maintained by Sappi Forests to conserve the natural habitat and biodiversity found there, including indigenous forests and wetlands. This includes seven declared nature reserves on our landholdings in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, in addition to 166 Important Conservation Areas, all which actively demonstrates Sappi’s support for SDG15, Life on Land and SDG13, Climate Action.

An overview of the manufacturing capabilities of the Sappi Ngodwana Mill was provided, along with the role that the Ngodwana Biomass Energy Project – which forms part of the government’s REIPPP programme (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers’ Programme) – plays in generating 25 MW of green energy and contributing to Sappi’s support of SDG7, Affordable and Clean Energy. Using biomass to generate renewable energy is yet another example of how Sappi uses the full potential of every tree harvested, in support of SDG12, Responsible Consumption and Production, and in perfect alignment with the theme for Arbor Month.

“It has been a privilege to host the Deputy Minister and her delegation and to provide them with this valuable insight as they launch this month-long campaign celebrating National Arbor Month from 01 – 30 September,” commented Duane.

The official programme at Sappi ended when the Honourable Deputy Minister and members of the delegation planted three Warburgia salutaris trees in keeping with the Arbor Month tradition. Read more about Sappi’s role in conserving the endangered Warburgia salutaris Pepper-bark Tree.


For further information

Zelda Schwalbach
External Communications Lead
Sappi Southern Africa
Tel +27 (0)31 001 7300
Mobile +27 (0)83 652 8528


About Sappi Southern Africa

Sappi is a leading global provider of powerful everyday materials made from woodfibre-based renewable resources. As a diversified, innovative and trusted leader focused on sustainable processes and products, we seek to support a more circular economy.

Sappi is powered by the expertise of more than 12,000 people worldwide; with headquarters in four key regions: South Africa, Europe, North America and Asia.

Locally, we have a footprint in Gauteng (head office), KwaZulu Natal (three mills, forestry operations and a shared services hub), Mpumalanga (two mills and forestry operations) and the Western Cape (sales office staff). Our product offering in South Africa include dissolving pulp, packaging and speciality papers, graphic papers and forestry products.

We also generate shared value in the communities in which we operate, by investing in skills training and SMME development to boost employment and grow the economy.

Sappi will continue to build a thriving world by acting boldly to support the planet, people and prosperity.