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Sourcing certified woodfibre

Forest certification provides assurance to our customers that our products originate from responsibly managed forests.

We use the following global certification systems: The Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™); the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™); and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program, and other PEFC-endorsed systems.

All our woodfibre suppliers must provide evidence that all woodfibre is sourced from controlled, non-controversial sources in accordance with the FSC Controlled Wood Standard, as well as PEFC (and SFI in the United States) risk-based due diligence systems.

Across the group in 2019, almost 75% of fibre supplied to our mills was certified. Our global target is to achieve 79% by 2020.

We promote the increased use of certified woodfibre throughout our supply and value chains, and work with credible, internationally recognised, robust systems described above, which give equal assurance of the origin of woodfibre and responsible forest management practices. Our goal is to offer our customers a wide basket of products that are certified by an independent third-party acredible system.

Forest certification
Overcoming barriers to entry

In South Africa, Sappi has worked hard to expand forest certification and has helped introduce PEFC into the country, based on the need for additional certification on customers' requests for PEFC labelled products. PEFC endorses national certification schemes, which meant South Africa had to develop a new certification scheme including a forest management standard. This is now known as the South African Forest Assurance Scheme (SAFAS) which has been assessed and endorsed by the PEFC.

In South Africa, we run a group certification scheme to help mitigate cost pressure on small growers. In FY19, this scheme had 44 members with plantations ranging from less than a hundred hectares to several thousand hectares. We pay small growers in the scheme a premium for certified timber.

How forest certification works
Forest management certification
Own forests
Third-party and outgrowers' forests
Chain of Custody (CoC) certification
Pulp and paper production

Chain of Custody (CoC) claims are only valid if each link in the chain is certified. For a final product to qualify for CoC claims, all entities that take legal ownership of the material/product along the supply chain must be CoC-certifed to ensure an unbroken chain from the certified forest to the final certifed wood-based products.

Independent third-party accredited certification bodies conduct CoC audits to verify that an entity’s wood flow accounting system conforms to applicable forest certification systems’ CoC standards.

All our mills are CoC-certified and our own plantations in South Africa are 100% FSC-certified for forestry management.

Expanding responsible forestry

The Sappi Maine Forestry Program and the Sappi Lake States Private Forestry Program, staffed by Sappi North America foresters, offer a wide range of services to private landowners. Sappi’s staff monitor the implementation of best management practices on harvest sites to ensure adequate regeneration, conservation of soil and water resources, and adherence to harvest plans.

In South Africa, a team of extension officers works with growers in our Sappi Khulisa enterprise development scheme to ensure responsible planting and harvesting practices.