Leadership messages – Chairman
Our theme for this year's report is mutualism, present in every aquatic and terrestrial habitat. Mutualisms are crucial to the reproduction and survival of many plants and animals and to nutrient cycles in ecosystems. In fact, ecologists now believe that almost every species on Earth is involved directly or indirectly in one or more of these interactions.
This theme reflects our belief that, to succeed in the long term, Sappi needs to be inclusive. This means taking the issues and needs of our employees and customers, as well as the communities in which we operate, into account even as we focus on generating returns for our shareholders. It means understanding that we all inhabit the same Earth and that we have a responsibility to mitigate our impact on the natural world.
It means recognising that we need to participate in helping to solve the pressing challenges facing the world today, including supply chain transparency, biodiversity loss, climate change and social inequality.
Exciting new developments during the past year include our work in Europe on the use of blockchain technology for timber supply chain transparency and the US-based Forests in Focus partnership, an innovative new platform to identify risk in forest product supply chains. In South Africa, we made significant progress towards a relevant certification scheme for our small growers, with official endorsement by the Programme for Endorsement of Forest CertificationTM (PEFCTM) of the new South African Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS).
We continue to invest significantly in our communities, spending US$4.1 million in 2019 on support activities, as well as establishing training facilities and helping drive local economies by favouring local businesses. Internally we continued to invest in developing our people and promoting innovation across the business.
Our aim is to make an effective, relevant contribution and real, demonstrable difference through practical actions while driving business value.
Our 2019 Group Sustainability Report sets out our work to achieve this goal.
Social, Ethics, Transformation and Sustainability (SETS) Committee