2020 GROUP SUSTAINABILITY REPORT



Customers

 

Self-assessment of quality of relationships:

Excellent

Why we engage

The more closely we engage and collaborate with our customers, the more likely we are to understand and respond to their evolving needs by offering relevant solutions in the form of sustainable and practical products and services. This partnership approach builds the loyalty and long-term relationships that enable us to thrive.


Shared priorities   Our response
High levels of service  

In SEU, we enhanced services levels by launching Paperini that allows customers to accurately track their paper deliveries. The tool, which can create an automated arrival notification and, subsequently, an automated credit note is currently being trialed by several logistics and carrier companies in Europe. We also established new infrastructure in Sweden and Denmark that enables us to distribute paper to printers within 48 hours.

The SNA eCommerce site is a customer portal with multi-language capability that connects customers 24/7 to real time information such as order status, inventory checks, document printing, claims reporting and order placement so they can plan and manage their business better. This included access to our carbon calculator where the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their order can be determined and the amount of emissions avoided by using a Sappi product that has a lower carbon footprint than the US pulp and paper industry average. In 2020, Sappi expanded the eCommerce customer experience to include casting and release papers globally.

During Covid-19 lockdowns all regions ensured that they engaged with customers to ensure we could meet their immediate requirements.

New or enhanced products
that meet rapidly changing
market demand
 

Consumers have become increasingly aware of social and environmental issues and our customers are looking to us for help in this regard. Against this backdrop, our Innovation and sustainability teams enable us to put sustainability at the heart of everything we produce, enhance our understanding of our customers’ current and future needs and enable us to bring new products to market at a faster pace.

Where relevant, we will conduct R&D and develop products to suit customers’ specific needs.

Read more: Developing and commercialising innovations in addition to adjacent businesses

Support for paper, packaging,
dissolving pulp (DP) and
sustainability goals
 

In FY2019, Sappi joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and in 2020, Cloquet Mill completed the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) sustainability self-assessment for Verve, our DP brand. The results position the mill as a leader in sustainable practices, evidenced by a low environmental footprint. The Higg FEM self-assessment tool is part of the Higg Index suite of tools that was developed by the apparel industry to evaluate materials, products, facilities, and processes based on environmental performance, social labour practices, and product design choices.

Information and campaigns
to promote print as a
communication medium
and encourage the use of
packaging
 
  • Globally and regionally, we continue to participate in industry initiatives like TwoSides.
  • SNA participates in the paper and paper packaging check-off programme that promotes the sustainable nature of paper and packaging.
  • We also participate in a number of tradeshows such as the PRINTING United tradeshow in Dallas, Texas (USA) where we presented our new Transjet Drive dye sublimation paper, different papers for large format inkjet printing and our new Ultracast casting and release papers.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic meant that events we sponsor, like the Citrus Symposium in South Africa were postponed. The pandemic also precluded our participation in the usual number of trade shows. However, where possible, we interacted on online platforms.
  • For example, the Sappi Packaging and Speciality Papers (PSP) sales and marketing teams hosted their first virtual Interpack Fair. Based on the motto ‘Pro Planet: Paper Packaging – welcome to the new pack-age’, the virtual event featured six livestream presentations that focused on our management of the Covid-19 situation, as well as our global packaging product offering.
Information about the fibre
sourcing and production
processes behind our brands
 
  • Customers generally approach us for information about the fibre sourcing and production processes behind our brands, including carbon footprint. In response to these requests, in SEU, SNA and SSA we publish Paper Profiles and/or information sheets for our papers. We also respond to many questionnaires from our customers that collect data on our CO2 reduction plans and performance. In SNA, we hold Customer Council meetings and have developed our own GHG emissions calculator that quantifies the amount of emissions associated with a customer order and how those emissions compare against the industry average
  • At the request of our customers, in all three regions, we participate in EcoVadis. All three regions achieved Platinum medals in the latest Ecovadis rating. The Platinum rating, a new medal category created in 2020, recognises the top 1% of companies evaluated for their environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement performance.
  • We also publish FAQs covering topics like climate change, as well as forest and energy certification.
Technical and thought
leadership information
 

Globally, a series of technical brochures and thought leadership pieces are available on our website www.sappi.com

  • Communication regarding the haptics of touch and neuroscience of touch speak to the power of printed communication.
  • The PSP site to provide targeted information on packaging and speciality papers. (www.sappi-psp.com)
  • The POP site is aimed at marketers, creatives, designers and printers looking to innovate in their categories. (www.sappipops.com)
  • Sappi etc is an educational platform for designers and printers. (www.sappi.com/sappietc)

Our paper and paper pulp product offerings are supported by strong technical teams at our technology and R&D centres.

Opportunities for value creation

  • Meet customer needs for products with an enhanced environmental profile.
  • Innovate to align with evolving market trends.
  • Increase awareness of the importance of sustainability.
  • Promote our customers’ own sustainability journeys.
  • Keep abreast of market developments.
  • Showcase our products and promote the Sappi brand.
 

Challenges for value creation

  • Confusing harvesting and forest management with deforestation and lack of understanding about the manner in which the forests and plantations from which we source woodfibre help mitigate global warming.

Collaborating to boost disruptive innovation

We joined forces with VIGC (Flemish Innovation Centre for the Graphic Communication) and EY to launch one of the first graphic arts industry hackathons – a method of creative problem solving designed to boost disruptive innovation. During 24 hours, teams of start-ups, scale-ups, corporates and students, supported by a team of experts and coaches, could collaborate and create digital and innovative solutions relevant for the graphic arts Industry. After the hacking, ideas were presented to a mixed jury. Winners of the innovation contest were given the opportunity to showcase their Minimum Viable Product/s to experts and industry decision-makers. at VGIC’s Het Congress event. They also received a Sappi sponsorship of EUR3,000 as well as three months of mentorship by Sappi experts to help bring their ideas to fruition.