Today, Sappi joined the world in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and in honouring the theme of climate action. This theme is particularly apt in view of reports from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) indicating that last decade was the hottest on record. Globally, we see and feel the negative impacts of this in the form of sea-level rise, species decline and more frequent extreme weather events including longer, more intense heat waves.
Given that Sappi’s 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, for us, every day is Earth Day. For instance, in South Africa, this focus begins in our nurseries from which we supplied more than 60 million seedlings to our own operations and third parties in FY2019. It continues with one third of our landholdings (approximately 135,000 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 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 – 74.8% in FY2019, 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.
Graeme Wild, Sappi group head: investor relations and sustainability, commented: “Covid-19 has emphasised the interconnected nature of humanity by highlighting the fact that actions in one part of the world have a ripple effect across the globe. Similarly, the earth and the air are shared resources – deforestation in one part of the world and melting polar ice sheets, to cite just two examples, affect everyone to a greater or lesser degree. We need to be cognisant of this so that Earth Day is not a once-off annual event but is top of mind and that we try to minimise the negative impact and maximise the positive impact of our actions, every day of the year.”
At Sappi, we treat the Earth with the utmost respect. Not just today, but every day. More than ever we ask you to join us today in celebrating our Planet and the resources it provides.
About Sappi Limited
A global leader in dissolving wood pulp and paper- based solutions, Sappi Limited (listed and in the Top 40 on the JSE - SAP), is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa; has over 12,000 employees; manufacturing facilities on three continents, in seven countries (eight operations in Europe, three operations in America and five operations in South Africa) and customers in over 150 countries worldwide
Sappi works closely with customers to provide relevant and sustainable dissolving pulp, paper (speciality, packaging and graphic), paper pulp, and biomaterial products and related services and innovations. Our market-leading range of paper products includes: flexible packaging, label, release liner, containerboard, coated fine papers, casting release papers and in our Southern African region newsprint, uncoated graphic and business papers. These products serve the fashion, FMCG and industrial sectors. Our dissolving pulp products are used worldwide by converters to produce viscose fibre, pharmaceutical products as well as a wide range of household and consumer products.
Sappi drives product innovation and the development of new uses for its renewable resource (woodfibre) as well as for the biomass and other residues from its production processes. One such area is in the field of biomaterials (cellulose composites, nanocellulose and lignins), biochemicals including hemi-cellulose sugars and bio-energy forest products materials which Sappi believes will play a key role in its future range of products, both as commercial products and for applications within Sappi.
We continue to grow into a profitable and cash-generative diversified business with an exciting future in woodfibre, a renewable resource. www.sappi.com
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