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Key relationships – Communities

We work to incorporate communities close to our operations into our journey of intentional evolution, which recognises the importance of sharing value with all our stakeholders; conserving natural resources; and uplifting people so that they are well-positioned to thrive in our increasingly interconnected world.

Various formats of community engagement meetings are held by our mills in regions where they operate. These range from broad liaison forums for business, local government and communities to legally mandated environmental forums which form part of the licencing conditions of mills. In South Africa, there are local farmer and community forums related to our forestry communities.

Our initiatives are described in more detail onSharing value

  Shared priorities   Our response
  Community support including employment, job creation, business opportunities, economic and social impacts/contributions and community support  


  • Mills offer support and financial sponsorships to local schools, sport and hobby clubs, forest products industry students, local safety/environmental organisations and support local charities. Supporting youth in our communities was a key priority in 2019. SOS Children’s Villages International, Save the Children and Global Exploration were some of the charities that we contributed to. We also engaged with and contributed to local schools.


  • Each business unit has a lead sustainability ambassador who is responsible for supporting sustainability communication, conducting training and fostering community engagement through local projects.
  • Education programmes are supported at targeted colleges and universities as are programmes to encourage study in fields relevant to our operations.
  • Our employees supported initiatives like Living Lands & Waters and the Charles River Watershed Association, focused on environmental stewardship and education.
  • The Ideas that Matter programme, now in its 20th year, recognised and rewarded designers who support good causes.
  • The Employee Ideas that Matter programme allows employees to apply for grants made by Sappi to the employee’s favourite non-profit or charity.


Given South Africa’s significant development needs, the bulk of community support is allocated to this region. Support covers education, environment and socio-economic development, based on helping communities help themselves. Initiatives include:

  • Sappi Khulisa, our enterprise development scheme
  • The Abashintshi programme
  • Early childhood development
  • Education, including Khulisa Ulwazi, our training centre for small growers and two training centres for local unemployed youth, at Saiccor Mill and Ngodwana Mill
  • Support for local tourism through our mountain biking sponsorships and promotion of recreational riding on Sappi land.

In SSA, we have appointed a specialist team to drive local procurement forward.

  Opportunities for value creation
  • Enhanced licence to operate and thrive
  • Promotion of socio-economic development which could, in the long term, lead to increased demand for our products
  • Initiation of real social mobilisation and change for the better.
  Challenges for value creation

Community expectations related to jobs and service delivery.


Supporting Living Lands & Waters

SNA supports Living Lands & Waters, an Illinois-based environmental organisation established in 1998 to clean up America’s rivers. It has grown to be the only ‘industrial strength’ river clean-up operation of its kind in the world.

Spending up to nine months a year living and travelling on a barge, the Living Lands
& Waters cleanup crew hosts river clean-ups, watershed conservation initiatives, workshops, tree plantings and other key conservation efforts. Through SNA’s corporate sponsorship, employees participate as volunteers in river clean-ups.

To date, the organisation has removed approximately 4 million kilograms of rubbish and debris from 24 rivers in 21 states.