Woodfibre-based product producer Sappi has joined Business for Nature’s Call to Action – which represents 560 companies from around the world, with combined revenue of $4-trillion – in calling on governments to urgently adopt policies to reverse nature loss in this decade.
Covid-19 is causing societies, businesses and governments around the world to focus on ways to emerge more economically resilient from the crisis, states Sappi.
The company says that nature is at a tipping point – nearly one-million species are at risk because of human activity – and urgent action is required to reverse loss of natural habitats.
Business for Nature’s Call to Action is a global coalition of nongovernmental organisations and business groups including the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Wide Fund for Nature, We Mean Business, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Business for Nature's campaign “Nature Is Everyone's Business” has particular relevance for Sappi, given that its business is dependent on sustainably sourced woodfibre.
According to Sappi, the company recognises that nature underpins its prosperity and wellbeing by providing economic value and security, supporting human development and equality and increasing its resilience to climate change.
Sappi investor relations and sustainability group head Graeme Wild says the key is action. “Taking action means doing something with meaningful benefits for the natural world. Our foundation is built on responsible manufacturing and responsible forest management. We act for nature in all regions where we operate and look forward to new opportunities to work together to protect, restore and sustainably use natural resources.”
In South Africa, Sappi owns and leases 390 000 ha of land, of which 135 000 ha is unplanted, 101 000 ha hosts natural vegetation, 14 000 ha is under restoration and the remainder comprises roads and other infrastructure.
The areas under restoration are sites from which forestry operation plantations have been withdrawn, mainly to limit impacts on stream flow and to restore natural habitat.
Using systematic conservation planning, Sappi has identified seven areas of national and international importance that have been formally declared as nature reserves. Another 166 sites have been classified as important conservation areas and receive special management according to management plans that have been drawn up using specialist conservation advice, reports Sappi.
Globally, the company says it also enhances sound forestry management practices by using credible, third-party-verified forest certification schemes. As such, Sappi neither harvests nor buys woodfibre that originates from tropical natural forests and its wood sourcing causes zero deforestation.
“Our commitment to zero deforestation means knowing the source of woodfibre, and ensuring that suppliers implement practices to promptly regenerate forests post-harvest, which is required under the global forest certification standards that Sappi is committed to upholding,” states Sappi.
Together with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17: Partnerships for the Goals, Sappi has identified SDG15: Life on Land, as one of its global priority areas. Accordingly, within Sappi´s new 2025 sustainability targets, it has made further commitments to biodiversity conservation and will be enhancing the way it measures and reports on its restoration work.