Sappi's Jennifer Miller Reflects on Community Engagement as Key to Success

Sappi's Jennifer Miller Reflects on Community Engagement as Key to Success

This October, I joined members of our Sustainability Customer Council in the Falmouth Town Forest. We observed an active wood harvest and learned more about what Sappi’s role is in keeping forests healthy and growing for future generations.

Our host Paul Larrivee, a Sappi North America forester for over 17 years, described how a key part of SNA’s business success is our access to competitively priced wood. And since Sappi has a strong reputation for harvesting practices that protect water sources and wildlife, and promote tree stand vigor, we enjoy strong access to that wood.

As Paul puts it, while it takes many cups of coffee to first earn the trust of landowners, what is even more important is to do what you say every season, every year. Kathy Fernstrom, our Customer Council Chair and Publishing Sales Manager, walks with long-term customer Charles David Mathieu-Poulin of TC Transcontinental Printing—demonstrating that strong customer loyalty also depends on that kind of trust, creating value that drops to the bottom line.

Sappi Customer Council member Vicki Trieglaff shares a laugh with Todd Seavy, an independent logging contractor with Sappi. Sappi carefully selects forest professionals like Todd who use in-woods equipment that is low impact on soil and especially suited for selective cutting as prescribed by certain management plans.

Customers now expect that high-quality products come with responsible supply chains. Matthew Jacobson, business development manager of J.S. McCarthy Printers, understands that the trees harvested today might well become coated paper or packaging used in his plant, one of New England’s oldest and largest sheetfed printing operations. It is reassuring to see firsthand how responsibly sourced this wood is.

As Vice President of Corporate Development and Fiber Procurement, Anne Ayer is responsible for sourcing all of Sappi’s market pulp consistent with these high standards. Sappi’s management practices and traceability processes are baked into our wood and fiber procurement policy.

Trip tickets, required by law in Maine, ensure traceability of every truckload of wood that leaves a harvesting site. They identify information about the location, landowner, logger and hauler, as well as the state harvesting permit number. Digitized tickets, perhaps the wave of the future, could allow immediate traceability and enhance the integrity of the supply chain.

SNA’s Chief Information Officer, Marjorie Boles, joined us on the tour. She’s exploring promising new technology platforms that offer secure, encrypted systems to improve traceability of all raw materials in the future.

As Paul and Kathy led us back to our offices in South Portland, I reflected on our time in the woods. Healthy, growing, working forests and strong, sustainable businesses really require the same robust values and practices. A company needs light, air and transparency to avoid falling victim to changing customer expectations or business cycles. It needs the courage to shed what has become obsolete or outdated, and the foresight to invest in new strategies and assets. Most important of all, it needs constant renewal, through open conversations with customers and colleagues, and all of the other communities that give life to our business.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 4:30pm

CAMPAIGN: Sustainability Report 2017

CONTENT: Multimedia with summary

Jennifer Miller, Chief Business Sustainability Officer, reflects on how customer, colleague and community connections build stronger companies.