2022 Sappi Southern Africa
Corporate Citizenship Report


Sappi Southern Africa Corporate Citizenship Report

About our theme:


The world faced significant challenges in FY2022 in the form of the lingering impacts of Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine war and extreme weather events that impacted countries around the world. In South Africa, in April 2022, days of heavy rain across KwaZulu-Natal in the south-east of the country led to deadly floods. These developments have widened the fault lines of poverty and unemployment, particularly in developing countries like our own.

As a responsible corporate citizen, we amplified our commitments to the UN SDGs in FY2022, intensifying our actions across every aspect of our business. As highlighted by our cover image, which emphasises vigour, positivity and energy, we are working together with others to help solve the challenges faced by our colleagues, our communities and our country.

The challenge

Climate change is accelerating, biodiversity is in decline, inefficient production models and overconsumption continue, all with devastating impacts on our planet. Many people around the world do not have adequate access to health or education and millions go to bed hungry every night.

The opportunity

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are aimed at solving these challenges. The SDGs are all interconnected and aimed at creating a framework for positive change by safeguarding the future of the planet and creating a more equal society. In doing so, they are designed to support governments and corporations to collaborate in delivering on a common agenda.

The stakeholders

Every business, every organisation and every single member of the world’s approximately eight billion people.

The roadmap

The 17 SDGs are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all UN member states in 2015. The agenda provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

Our actions

This report sets out our performance against the SDGs we have prioritised as shown alongside.

All our actions are underpinned by our values: At Sappi we do business safely, with integrity and courage, making smart decisions which we execute with speed. At all times, we remain true to our purpose: Sappi exists to build a thriving world by unlocking the power of renewable resources to benefit people, communities and the planet.

This report covers the period 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022.

Who we are, where we operate and what we do

Plantations (owned and leased)


165,000 hectares (ha)


235,000 ha

Approximately one-third of this land is managed to conserve the natural habitat and biodiversity found there.

Please click on the dots on the map for more information.



99,000 m3 sawn timber



110,000 tons of mechanical pulp for own consumption

210,000 tons of unbleached chemical pulp for own consumption

240,000 tons of kraft linerboard

140,000 tons of newsprint

255,000 tons of dissolving pulp (DP)



170,000 tons of neutral sulphite semi chemical pulp for own consumption

200,000 tons of corrugating medium



60,000 tons of bleached bagasse pulp for own consumption

110,000 tons of office and tissue paper



890,000 tons of DP



83,000 tons of waste paper collection and recycling for own consumption

2022 scores for
Sappi Limited

A   Forests
B   Climate
B   Water



Shaw Research Centre, Howick

  • Propagation techniques
  • Seed technology
  • Silviculture
  • Tree biotechnology
  • Tree breeding

Sappi Southern Africa Technology Centre, Tshwane

  • Chemical sciences
  • Environmental sciences
  • Fibre processing
  • Paper science

Saiccor Technology Centre

Sappi Dissolving Pulp Centre of Excellence, Umkomaas

  • Applications testing
  • Fundamental cellulose properties


Commercial nurseries

(Clan, Richmond)

(Escarpment, Ngodwana)

Rooted cuttings of pine and eucalypt species

Research nurseries

KwaMbonambi and Tweedie
(Shaw Research Centre)

Message from our CEO

Dear stakeholders,

We made considerable progress in every aspect of our business and had much to celebrate in FY2022. This is reflected in the exuberant, celebratory images used throughout this report. They demonstrate that we are succeeding in realising our purpose of building a thriving world by unlocking the power of renewable resources to benefit people, communities and the planet.

We amplified enterprise value with group earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation at its highest level since 2000 and regional return on net operating assets financial performance exceeding our financial target under SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Even more worthy of celebration is our excellent safety performance. Our combined employee and contractor lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) was the best ever – an indication that a 24/7 safety approach is being entrenched in the hearts and minds of our people.

One of the highlights of our year was the opening of our Saiccor Mill capacity expansion and environmental enhancement project by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. This was the realisation of a promise we made at the first South Africa Investment Conference in 2018. Speaking at the opening, the President said: “It is noteworthy that Sappi continues to use recycled and sustainable wood sources to produce circular and innovative bio-based products”.

The President’s words highlight the thread that runs through all our activities and is entrenched in Sappi’s DNA: innovation. Whether it’s the Sappi World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) uMkhomazi water stewardship project, which falls under SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation, or our enterprise and supplier development (ESD) initiatives. These range from small projects like the aquaponics venture at Ngodwana Mill, to the alien invasive plant clearing programme, which now incorporates five businesses. In FY2022, we spent over ZAR245 million with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), exceeding our annual target by ZAR133 million.

Our customers benefit from our high levels of innovation, which help them on their sustainability journeys and enhance the appeal of their products to their own customers. One of the ways we met this need in FY2022 was through machine enhancements at Ngodwana Mill. These enhancements enabled us to increase our range and quality of kraft linerboard to include lower basis weights. This in turn is helping our customers decrease their carbon footprints.

Turning to carbon and climate: climate change has been called one of the most significant challenges of our time. Against this backdrop, we were extremely pleased with the validation of our science-based targets by the Science Based Targets initiative. Our global target is to reduce carbon emissions by 41.5% per ton of product by 2030. We have also made a commitment that 44% of our suppliers (by spend) will have science-based targets by 2026.

Although 48% of our energy is currently derived from renewable sources, our business is still, to a certain extent, dependent on Eskom. This represents a challenge as most of Eskom’s power is derived from coal.

However, I know I can count on the creativity and expertise of our people to help overcome this challenge. They have done so in the past and continue to do so every day as we work to meet the needs of a growing, rapidly evolving society and build a thriving world.

Alex Thiel
Chief Executive Officer, Sappi Southern Africa