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Defining report content

Determining materiality

We consider material matters to be those matters that could facilitate or inhibit our One Sappi strategy and that could substantively affect—either positively or negatively—our ability to create stakeholder value over the short-, medium- and long term.

The information presented has been determined on the basis of our ongoing extensive engagement with our stakeholders and has been assessed against the backdrop of current business operations, as well as the opportunities, challenges and prevailing trends in our industry and the global economy.

These trends occur in the broader context of a world where climate change concerns and resource scarcity are raising expectations to make more and better with less and where sustainably manufactured products derived from renewable resources are more important than ever before.

Based on this context, we have realigned our strategy to maintain our position as a global forest products leader and developed a global vision based on the power of One Sappi.

In preparing this report, we have tracked environmental findings and research, public opinion, employee views and attitudes, the interests and priorities of environmental and social groups, as well as the activities, profiles and interests of investors, employees, suppliers, customers, communities, governments and regulatory authorities.

Throughout the report, qualitative text is backed up by quantitative information, generally as graphs illustrating performance over five years from 2015 — 2019. (Safety graphs include 2014 performance as this is referred to in the text.)

Regional sustainability reports for SEU and SNA, as well as our SSA corporate citizenship report can be found on

We aim to present information that is material, accurate, comparable, relevant and complete. The information presented covers topics and indicators that reflect our significant economic, environmetal and social impacts, as well as issues that would substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.

Prioritising content

This report is structured along Sappi's well-established 3Ps of sustainability: Prosperity, People and Planet. It covers material sustainability focus areas that affect the long-term success of our business, and relate to any significant impacts we have on the economy, environment or communities in which we operate.

While we do cover economic (Prosperity) issues to some extent, these are dealt with in greater detail in our annual integrated report.

Identifying stakeholders

We have identified the stakeholders we expect to use our report on the basis of our ongoing engagement—formal and informal—with them. The various ways in which we engage our stakeholders are set out in the Key relationships section. The stakeholders we expect to use this report include investors, customers, suppliers, employees, communities, governmental and non-governmental organisations, environmental bodies and all those who are affected by our activities.

External assurance

In 2019, we obtained external limited assurance on selected sustainability key performance indicators in this report (see Independent Assurance Practitioner's Limited Assurance Report on Selected Key Performance Indicators).

Assured data (Sappi group)

  Direct emissions (Scope 1) (tCO2e)   4,395,555.97LA
  Indirect emissions (Scope 2) (tCO2e)   1,608,661.38LA
  Employee (own) LTIFR (rate)   0.71LA
  Contractor LTIFR (rate)   0.41LA

LA: Limited assurance provided by KPMG.

Our sustainability information also continues to be verified by our internal audit team. Their verification process includes reviewing the procedures applied for collecting and/or measuring, calculating and validating non-financial data, as well as reviewing reported information and supporting documentation.

In addition, most of our key operations undergo external verification including the Eco-Management Audit System (EMAS) in Europe, ISO 50001 energy certification (Europe and South Africa), ISO 14001 environmental certification, ISO 9001 quality certification and OHSAS 18001 certification.

We are also assessed in terms of the forest certification systems we use, and in South Africa, our broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) performance is assessed by an external ratings agency.

In 2019, Sappi Limited was a constituent of the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index and the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Top 30 Index. Being included in these indexes means that our sustainability performance has been externally assessed.

Collectively, these external assessments and certifications, as well as interaction with our stakeholders, give us confidence that our performance indicators are reliable, accurate and pertinent. The Social, Ethics, Transformation and Sustainability (SETS) Committee is satisfied that the sustainability information in this report has been presented with a reasonable degree of accuracy.