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Key relationships – Suppliers and contractors

We are committed to establishing mutually respectful relationships with our suppliers and encouraging them to join our commitment to economic, social and environmental responsibility. We encourage them to share our commitment to doing business with integrity and courage; making smart decisions which we execute with speed, underpinned by a commitment to safety. We aim to build long-term value partnerships, based on the importance of suppliers to a sustainable supply chain.

  Shared priorities   Our response
  • Safety
  • Transparency
  • Given our focus on zero harm in the workplace, we work with our contractors to ensure they follow Sappi’s safety systems. In South Africa, Sappi Forests works closely with contractors and their workers in implementing its innovative Stop and Think Before You Act safety initiative.
  • Rolled out our Group Supplier Code of Conduct (further details on Our key material issues).
  • Increased value
  • Decreased costs
  • Security of fibre supply, certification, income generation and job creation


A joint sourcing partnership assists in negotiating better terms with timber and other suppliers. In addition, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), of which SEU is a member, participates in actions supporting and promoting the development of sustainable forestry management tools, including forest certification, all over the world, particularly in less-developed countries.


  • The Sappi Maine Forestry Programme and the Sappi Lake States Private Forestry Programme assist forest landowners to meet their objectives for managing their woodland. Sappi’s trained foresters are able to develop a forest management plan geared to the interests of the landowner including wildlife management and aesthetics, marketing of timber to generate maximum return and providing an extensive network of environmental and marketing resources.
  • Procurement practices extend far beyond avoiding of controversial sources by requiring the promotion of biodiversity, logger training, forest research, landowner and community outreach, and implementation of best management practices for soil and water conservation, as evidenced by our conformance to the SFI® fiber sourcing standard.


  • Qualified extension officers provide growers in our Sappi Khulisa enterprise development scheme with ongoing growing advice and practical assistance.
  • We have established a training centre, Khulisa Ulwazi, for Khulisa growers. The objective is to develop growers’ and contractors’ skills so that they can conduct silviculture operations economically and to a good standard. Training material has been developed in conjunction with the Institute of Natural Resources and covers area like entrepreneurship, fire management, harvesting planning, leadership and management development, as well safety.
  • As at the end of September 2019, Sappi was involved in 60 land reform projects, helping beneficiaries to manage approximately 18,320 ha of land. Many of these properties previously belonged to commercial farmers who had supply agreements with Sappi. For many of the land claims in which we have been involved, and where there has been a change in ownership, we continue to buy the timber and help to manage those plantations.
  • Sappi Forests pays small growers a premium for certified timber.
  Opportunities for value creation
  • Security of woodfibre supply
  • Improved supplier relations
  • Better understanding of the requirements of the Sappi group
  • Expanded basket of certified fibre
  • Support for local economic development
  • Support for emerging supplier/contractor development.
  Challenges for value creation

Balancing the need to support SMMEs with the need to source from suppliers with strong social and environmental credentials.