A Letter From Jennifer Miller

Sep 27, 2019 6:40 PM ET

Looking back on 2018, I am struck by the degree to which sustainability-driven values, ideas, and strategies were an integral part of Sappi North America’s business success. We have a market advantage as a renewable resource company, offering customers around the globe sustainably sourced printing papers, packaging, and specialties, and dissolving wood pulp products. Our energy profile makes us a leader in the manufacturing sector, with 74 percent of our fuels derived from renewable sources, and with a low carbon footprint reflecting a decades-long focus on energy efficiency, conservation, and reduction of use of fossil fuels. 

Equally important, we have made decisions designed to deliver long-term sustainable value— recognizing the role of customer preference for natural, recyclable materials plays into our packaging, textile and communication goals. In 2015, the Sappi Group shared our 2020Vision, which details a bold realignment of our business and increases contributions from packaging and specialties, dissolving wood pulp, and biomaterials—all while continuing to optimize graphic paper. 

In 2018, we renewed our commitment to a leading sustainability platform by adopting a new Group policy for wood fiber procurement and setting forth a comprehensive Group Supplier Code of Conduct. Sappi North America now has a full complement of sustainability professionals in Sandy Taft, Rebecca Barnard and Lynne Palmer featured earlier in this report. This engaged, collaborative team is focused on how to best implement the new risk management strategies and increased market transparency implicit in these policies. With our newly diversified business profile, we will continue to reinvent how we connect with our customers—addressing market trends and customer expectations to sustain our position as a relevant, trusted partner in all our business segments. 

Sappi recognizes that we operate in a complex, circular economy and that continual innovation in our products and the materials we choose can be as important as the attributes those products carry. We are actively exploring innovative uses for renewable wood fiber, biomass and other residuals our manufacturing processes involve. Exciting biomaterials, some at the nano-cellulosic level, can be added to material composites to add strength while lightweighting and thereby lowering overall carbon footprint. 

The first step in any renewal process is to look back and see where you began. In Sappi North America’s very first regional sustainability report back in 2011, I stated that our commitment to sustainability would be based on “proof, not promises.” In the years since, we have worked hard to honor that statement and have remained committed to a fact-based dialogue with our employees, customers and communities. We have been transparent and forthcoming in reporting our progress against goals, admitting gaps where they exist and celebrating success when achieved. As our journey continues, we look forward to hearing from you—both your good ideas and your challenging questions. Together, we will continue to build a strong, sustainable company—one that delivers value beyond our product, through the contributions we make to healthy environments and thriving economies that foster real opportunities for people to grow and prosper.

Read more from Sappi North America's 2018 Sustainability Report here: tiny.cc/SappiNA_SR18