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Our key material issues

The issues on the following pages are those we believe underpin our strategic risks and opportunities and have the highest potential impact—positive and negative—on stakeholder value.

How we determine materiality


Identifying regulatory and reporting issues

We take various stakeholder guidelines into account, including those set out in the Sustainable Development Goals, GRI, the International Integrated Reporting Council and King IV; as well as ratings agencies such as ISS-oekom and the FTSE4Good Index Series


Mapping stakeholder issues and local and global trends

Regulatory and reporting guidelines are mapped against stakeholder issues, as well as trends and developments in the external operating environment


Prioritising issues through the lens of materiality

How relevant is each issue to our business? How does each issue impact our ability to create value in the short-, medium- and long-term?


Reviewing issues

We regularly review our key material issues and their alignment with our strategy of intentional evolution


Material issue   Why it's
  What we did
about it in 2019
  How it
to risk
  How it links to
other aspects of
our business
Supply chain
  Visibility into the supply chain helps identify risks and issues early and addresses consumer concerns about issues like deforestation  
  • Rolled out our Supplier Code of Conduct across the group and began the review process by assessing raw material suppliers in countries that have a score of 50 or lower in the global Corruption Perceptions Index.
  • Participated in Trado, a consortium including the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership that is testing blockchain technologies. The project is trialling the concept by using a shared data system for tea farmers in Malawi that supply Unilever and UK-based supermarket Sainsbury's.


#5 Natural

Integration of sustainability

  Operating context – Increasing consumer and brand owner concerns about sustainability-related issues
and corruption
  Creating clear boundaries and a consistent framework across geographies for ethical behaviour provide a foundation for unlocking growth opportunities as One Sappi   Global training on ethics targeted relevant new employees across the group, while regional training covered topics relevant to each region including general data protection regulations (GDPR) in Europe, insider trading in North America and the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act in South Africa.  


#7 Uncertain
and evolving

Integration of sustainability

  Operating context – Increasing consumer and brand owner concerns about sustainability-related issues

(Emerging risks are highlighted in green)

1 Key risks from 1-10 and emerging risks are detailed on pages Key relationships of the 2019 annual integrated report