Given that our business is based on a natural resource – woodfibre – we are acutely aware of how dependent we are on the Planet and how important it is to help maintain ecological balance and join in taking concerted actions to mitigate the effects of climate change. We celebrate the fact that the forests and plantations from which we source woodfibre help mitigate global warming by acting as carbon sinks and that responsible harvesting of this renewable resource is balanced with regeneration and regrowth, thereby perpetuating the carbon cycle.
Against this backdrop, we invest in our Planet – today and every day. For instance, in South Africa, this focus begins in our nurseries from which we supply more than 57 million seedlings to our own operations and third parties. It continues with one third of our landholdings (approximately 138,000 hectares) in South Africa which are set aside and maintained to conserve the natural habitats and biodiversity found there. It also extends to the forests and plantations that we own and manage sustainably as well as the those responsibly managed by our suppliers. It’s apparent in our commitment to zero deforestation and to rigorous tracing practices and documentation regarding the origin of woodfibre [Sappi Group Woodfibre Procurement Policy], as well as the high percentage of certified woodfibre supplied to our operations worldwide – 77% in FY2022, with the balance procured from known and controlled sources.
Our steadfast commitment to treading lightly on the Planet enables our customers in more than 150 countries around the world to do so too. We offer them relevant and innovative solutions such as fibre-based packaging that is recyclable as well as biomaterials, both offering alternatives to fossil fuel-based solutions. Our solutions aim to use every part of the tree, thereby extracting the full potential of woodfibre and ensuring we keep waste to a minimum.
Tracy Wessels, Sappi Group Head Investor Relations and Sustainability commented: “Our investment in the Planet is far-reaching. Our investment in leading edge tree improvement programmes which help us grow better trees faster and trees which are more suited to rapidly changing climatic conditions, is one area of focus. Other areas include our focus on transforming the future with innovative, biobased, and renewable materials and giving our partners and customers the renewable innovation they need to be successful. To this end, we invested US$47.6 million in FY2022 in research and development. Our business depends on the Planet. That’s why we treat is with the utmost respect and continue to invest. Not just today, but every day.”