Self-assessment of quality of relationships:


Why we engage

As we take Sappi into the future based on the clear roadmap entrenched in our Thrive25 strategy, leadership’s task is to help our people understand the plan and clear their path to success. Our aim is to unlock the wide-ranging, significant expertise of our people today and tomorrow. In doing so, we secure our exciting future in woodfibre as a business that provides relevant solutions, delivers enhanced value and is a trusted partner to all our stakeholders.

Shared priorities   Our response
Constructive action with regard to Covid-19  
  • Our main focus was on the safety of our people and providing them with support, information and resources.
  • In addition, we were able to continue to operate throughout the lockdowns that enabled us to reduce the impact on our people.
  • Our operations were classified as essential and wherever possible, we provided the information technology (IT) support and human resources (HR) processes to allow people to work from home.
  • Where people did contract coronavirus, they were provided with support and isolated according to health and safety protocols.
  • In each region, we established Covid-19 information hubs in order to support our staff, customers and their families.

Read more Covid-19 and our response.

Involvement in safety  
  • The theme for Global Safety Awareness week was ‘I Value Life’. In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual webinars and e-media were used to convey the messages to our people.
  • Involving our people in health and safety is part of our collaborative approach to doing business. Health and safety committees are in place at all our operations. Through these committees, our people are consulted about the development/review of policies and procedures and changes that affect workplace safety or health.
    – In SEU, formal health and safety committees are in place at different levels of the business in line with statutory    requirements. All employees are represented by the safety committees.
    – In SNA, all unions have the opportunity to participate in joint management worker safety committees.
    – In SSA, (including Sappi Limited), health and safety representatives are elected from non-supervisory staff. In line with    legislation, there is one representative for every 50 workers.
    Sappi Trading does not have formal joint management worker health and safety committees due to the small size of the    offices, but there are appointed safety officers.
Effective wellness and recognition programmes  
  • Well-being and wellness programmes are tailored to the needs of each region.
  • Our recognition programmes include:
    Sappi Limited
    – Technical Innovation Awards
    – CEO Award for Excellence
    – Annual Coryphaena Award
    – TOUTS Recognition Awards and
    – periodic regional President’s Awards
    – Excellence in Achievement Awards (EAA)
    – Annual safety awards
    Sappi Trading
    – SMART Awards

Read more: Ensuring the safety of our employees and contractors

Connection with Sappi’s
strategic goals and high levels
of engagement

We conduct engagement surveys every second year, with the last one taking place in 2019. Questions probe issues such as whether our people feel they have the right tools and resources to do their jobs well; whether their goals for career growth being met, whether they feel safe at work and whether they are clear on the direction in which Sappi is moving.

In 2020, group and regional leadership engaged extensively on the close out of our 2020Vision business strategy and the launch of our Thrive25 strategy. In South Africa, we introduced the Ask Alex initiative whereby the regional SSA CEO held employee roadshows (in person and online), with employees encouraged to ask him questions related to current and future operating conditions. In Europe the CEO established virtual update briefings and in North America virtual briefings were also undertaken.

Read more: Engaging more closely with our employees

Resources that enable our
people to grow intellectually,
fulfil their potential and drive
innovation in Sappi; policies
and procedures that promote
a diverse workforce

In FY2020 we:

  • Invested an average of US$434 per person in training and development
  • Established a 2025 gender diversity target
  • Continued to provide access to self-learning modules

Read more: Attracting, developing and retaining key skills


UNGC Principle 6:

The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Encourage employee
volunteerism through
initiatives like


Support of various local education, cultural and environmental projects based on annual requests and identified needs.


The Employee Ideas that Matter initiative through which we provide grants to employees to fund their individual projects to support good in local communities. Sustainability Ambassadors also lead and participate in local events, supporting community in programs as well as educating the community about the wood products industry, sustainable forestry practices, mill operations and the importance of recycling.


Employee well-being committees at each mill support local community projects as well as Mandela Day.

Read more: Sharing value with our communities

Understanding of Sappi’s
commitment to sustainability
that underpins our strategy

Globally, targeted internal publications and social media campaigns linked to global days like Global Ethics Day and our signing up to Business for Nature’s call to action #natureiseveryonesbusiness enhance understanding of the sustainability landscape in general as well as our actions to ensure that we play an active role in driving responsibility within this landscape, in particular.

Given the launch of our Thrive25 strategy and 2025 targets that are aligned with the UN SDGs, communication focused on SDG targets to show our people how they can become part of the global and regional drive and raising awareness of how our individual actions can collectively count towards a greater change.

SNA runs an active Sustainability Ambassador programme and held a virtual Sustainability Ambassador Assembly workshop this year. Due to the virtual nature of the workshop, there was greater diversity of participation as there were no travel costs involved.

Opportunities for value creation

  • Alignment with our strategic direction enables our people to contribute more positively to the business as well as their personal and career development.
  • By building our human capital base, we establish a base of technical skills needed by the industry.
  • A diverse workforce enhances our ability to service global markets and promotes a culture of inclusivity.
  • An increased commitment to safety delivers benefits at personal, team and operational levels.
  • By establishing an ethical culture where corporate citizenship is promoted, we ensure the ongoing viability of our business, enhance reputation and become an employer of choice.

Challenges for value creation

  • Recruitment and retention of key skills
  • Loss of institutional memory as older employees retire.