Hear the word 'connect' and you invariably think of digital connection. There is no doubt it has profoundly and irrevocably changed humanity. However, there is another way of connecting – travel – that has an equally significant effect. The evolution of the railroad and the car shifted travel by horseback and wagon to one side, as the aeroplane did with ocean liners.

As an example – in 1949, flying from London to New York took around 20 hours. Today, 70 years later, it takes just over seven hours.

The benefit of shortening travel times is that it can enhance human connection by truncating time and space. This in turn can increase understanding and appreciation for geographic and cultural differences it drives home the message that it is our diversity that makes us stronger. At Sappi we believe in the power and the benefit of diversity and a multiplicity of views.

Human connection and interaction is what drives us forward and makes for a successful business. The power of trust, mutual understanding and support flowing from our ongoing engagement with our stakeholders underpins this success and cannot be replicated without connection.

It is why we hold an employee engagement survey every two years. Why we listen closely to our customers and design products and services to meet their needs. Why we pay attention to the needs of the communities in which our operations are situated. Why we collaborate closely with our industry partners.

It is how we ensure that all our stakeholders are listened to, heard and valued. It is how we anticipate future trends and challenges to ensure we are shaping the realities of today to connect with tomorrow