Pulp and paper company Sappi says the lockdowns implemented across the world to help curb the spread of Covid-19 have brought to light the need to make 'Time for Nature’, which is also the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, on June 5.
‘Time for Nature’ focuses on the role nature plays in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development.
The company emphasises that this focus is particularly important to it, as it “has unlocking the value of wood fibre from its forests, at the core of its sustainable business strategy”.
“Biodiversity is key to the healthy functioning of the forests and plantations from which we source wood fibre – they would not be productive without biotic processes taking place, making World Environment Day particularly relevant to us,” the company states.
“The most important ecosystems and biodiversity refuges on land are forests, which cover some 30% of our planet’s land area and are home to 80% of all terrestrial species. The ecosystem services they provide to humanity range from purifying air and water to producing foods, medicines and wood and paper products.
"Forests sustain essential watersheds and influence the global climate and rainfall patterns,” comments United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
“Forests also provide renewable resources central to the building of sustainable economies and societies. We need to work together to promote healthy forests for all the benefits they deliver to People and the Planet,” says Sappi investor relations and sustainability group head Graeme Wild.
Sappi highlights that a third of the forest plantations that Sappi Southern Africa owns and leases in South Africa, are managed to conserve natural habitats and the biodiversity they contain; to the extent that the company has six declared nature reserves on its property, which form part of the national stewardship programme.
In Europe, Sappi indicates that it is actively working in a number of forest-sector collaborations to ensure that its thriving forest bioeconomy remains an integral part of the European Union (EU) Green Deal.
“Through sustainable forest management practices, responsible sourcing, efficient use of resources and manufacturing innovation, our sector helps to mitigate EU emissions and safeguard biodiversity while providing fibre-based and low carbon products for the circular economy.
"Given the urgency of the biodiversity and climate crises, together with Covid-19 recovery, we endeavour to scale up our collective response and deployment of nature-based solutions,” it says.
Besides Sappi’s plantations converting carbon dioxide into carbohydrates that provide the energy and building blocks for plant growth, its trees also release oxygen into the atmosphere, it adds.
“This abundance of fresh air is just one of the reasons why so many people enjoy those parts of our plantations in South Africa that have been opened up to offer safe and enjoyable trails for mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers and other nonmotorised trail users.
This aligns with our commitment to promote a healthy lifestyle and to nurture an appreciation for nature and the sustainable use of renewable resources, thereby also helping to boost local economies,” enthuses the company.
Besides promoting environmental awareness through these programmes that promote conservation and responsible land use, Sappi notes that it also acts #ForNature by using forest certification systems, which ensure that responsible forest management practices are implemented in the forest and that woodfibre from certified forests can be identified throughout the supply chain.
“By ensuring responsible environmental management and promoting biodiversity, we offer our customers in more than 150 countries around the world relevant solutions based on a renewable natural resource, thereby supporting their own goals to act #ForNature,” Sappi says.