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Knowing our woodfibre sources

Knowing the origin of woodfibre is a fundamental prerequisite for responsible sourcing.


Our wood sourcing partners (Sapin S.A. in Belgium, proNARO GmbH in Germany, Papierholz Austria GmbH in Austria and Metsä Forest in Finland) buy wood mainly from non-industrial private forests, municipalities and state-owned forests. Given that the use of local raw material makes both ecological and economic sense, most of the wood originates from local, managed semi-natural forests. Wood chips, a by-product from sawmilling, are purchased from sawmills. Pulp is also sourced from external suppliers based in Europe and the Americas.

Primary tree species: Spruce and pine (softwoods) and beech, poplar, aspen and eucalyptus (hardwoods).

South Africa

In South Africa, timber is sourced from about 255,000 ha of plantations managed by Sappi, 138,800 ha managed by private farmers and smallholders contracted to supply Sappi and a small amount from independent growers. Sappi has a comprehensive plantation management system to ensure that its plantations are sustainable.

The primary tree species are eucalyptus (hardwood) and pine (softwood). Some paper pulp is purchased from external suppliers, mainly from New Zealand, Spain and the Americas.

United States and Canada

Woodfibre is sourced from landowners and commercial loggers who procure from temperate forests in Maine, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and from the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Sappi also purchases paper pulp from external suppliers in the Americas.

The primary tree species used are maple, poplar, aspen, beech and birch (hardwoods) and spruce, pine and fir (softwoods). Cloquet Mill uses mixed northern hardwoods to produce dissolving wood pulp: aspen and maple sourced from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Our newly acquired Matane Mill in Canada procures from Quebec and New Brunswick provinces in Canada and from New England states in the north-eastern part of the United States, including Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Zero defrostration

We neither harvest nor buy woodfibre that originates from tropical natural forests and our wood sourcing causes zero deforestation. Our commitment to zero deforestation means:

  • Knowing the origin of woodfibre
  • Ensuring suppliers implement practices to promptly regenerate forests post-harvest, which is required under the global forest certification standards that Sappi is committed to upholding
  • Implementing our Supplier Code of Conduct to continually assess supply-chain, ethical and legal risk; and not sourcing from suppliers associated with deforestation.

We work to build transparent supply chains and maintain close relationships with our suppliers.

Sappi's woodfibre procurement commitments and ambitions are stated in the Sappi group woodfibre procurement policy.

Tree species identified as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are neither used nor imported. We comply with the US Lacey Act, EU Timber Regulation, Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation, and other regional legal requirements.


Working together for sustainable forestry

In SEU, we work closely with our wood and chip sourcing partners in Austria, Belgium, Finland and Germany, as well as a number of external pulp suppliers, mainly from Europe and the Americas. In addition to providing specific certification claims on each shipment invoice, they also provide us with regular reports on where the wood is coming from. This gives us the necessary insights on our sourcing. We also produce wood origin declarations for each mill to summarise and inform our customers on the wood origin.

Our sourcing partners give us direct access and insight to forestry issues as they emerge. One such issue is the outbreak of the spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) in Europe, which is having profound impacts on forest ecosystems. Following a few years with exposure to drought and high seasonal temperatures, the spruce trees' defence mechanisms to the pest have been depleted.

The thriving beetle population which is now attacking not only stressed and dying trees, but also healthy ones, is exacerbating the situation.

There is currently an aggressive response throughout the region to remove infected trees from the forest and work to control the outbreak. While these impacts of climate change also extend far beyond Sappi, our woodfibre sourcing plays an important role in regional forest economies and our sourcing partners help us prepare and consider ways to build resilience into our future sourcing strategies.



Focusing on forests

Shortly after year-end, SNA announced a partnership with the nonprofit organisations American Forest Foundation (AFF) and GreenBlue to support the Forests in Focus sustainability risk assessment. The Forests in Focus platform will optimise multiple public data sources to provide customers, brand owners and investors with user-friendly analyses of the sustainability strengths and risk profile of forested lands across specified landscapes.

The platform is designed to complement existing forest certification programmes and provide an account of sustainability for USA woodbaskets in the context of global supply systems. As an early adopter and investor in the programme, Sappi will leverage the new technology to support and validate its sustainability claims and to monitor risks and further strengthen its supply chain.

The Forests in Focus platform provides global customers and brand owners with scientific analyses on the condition of the forested landscape. This is especially important for family-owned woodlands, where there is otherwise a significant gap in information.

Collectively, individual and family-owned land account for more than one-third of all forests across the USA – more forest land than the federal government manages on behalf of the public. These lands are owned by more than 21 million individualrs, in small tracts that average 67 acres. According to the Forest Service, these lands collectively supply over 50% of the wood harvested and flowing into supply chains in the USA.

The Forests in Focus platform will be publicly launched in 2020.