Social responsibility (People)

Our strategy of empowering our employees to reach their full potential extends to the communities around our operations.

Skills development—both internal and external—is a key aspect of our approach to social responsibility, given that operating successfully in a technical environment like ours depends on having a strong skills base. Our skills development strategy is aligned with the South African government’s focus on integrated workplace learning and skills development, and aims to develop a pool of the scarce and critical skills needed to enhance our own sustainability and that of our industry.

Currently, we are involved in a number of internal skills development initiatives, all of which have a strong bias towards uplifting the previously disadvantaged. These include bursaries, a graduates-in-training programme, apprenticeships (directed by a sector education and training authority and presented by an accredited training provider) and learnerships. In FY2018, the average number of training hours per employee in Sappi Southern Africa was 39, with average training spend per employee amounting to approximately US$700.

In view of our commitment to promoting a healthy life style and nurturing an appreciation for nature and the sustainable use of renewable resources, we support mountain biking on Sappi land and have taken up the naming rights of Sappi Karkloof MTB; the Sappi Mankele Mountain Bike Challenge and the Sappi Howick MTB Classic.

Our employee wellbeing programme includes various initiatives including substance abuse (alcohol and drugs), weight-loss programmes and awareness programmes including cancer, HIV/AIDS and TB. Our focus is on educating and empowering our people with the skills to take ownership of their wellbeing to make better lifestyle choices, and where necessary, to support them and provide care and treatment. Please click here to view our FAQs on ‘HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa’.

Sappi Southern Africa has a number of shared value initiatives focused on the communities surrounding our operations:

Our approach to safety is based on the principles of our global initiative, Project Zero - zero fatalities and zero injuries. Our safety approach comprises four behaviour based steps:

  • A behavioural observation and feedback process - observation of employees and the documentation of safe and unsafe behaviours. Employees are then given positive feedback on safe and unsafe behaviours and provided with suggestions on correcting unsafe behaviour
  • A formal review of observation data - following the step outlined above, data is analysed to determine an employee's or department's improvement in safe behaviours and the data is shared with employees
  • Improvement goals - these are established to increase the effectiveness of the feedback and the success of the behaviour-based safety process, and
  • Reinforcement - improvement and goal attainment are recognised and reinforced.

Our safety performance is reported on annually in our sustainability reports.

Our Sustainability Charter and group policies give all our geographically diverse stakeholders a common blueprint for action.
Realising that we could not continue to do tomorrow what we did yesterday, over the last few years we have reviewed and refocused our business.
We support the spirit of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) and commit Sappi to significant planned and enacted transformation.
Our holistic approach to the environment begins with responsible management and procurement of our woodfibre resources and continues through every aspect of the manufacturing cycle.