If there is something that the last few lockdown months have taught many of us, is that we need to make 'Time for Nature’.
We have marvelled as the planet has taken a breather along with her inhabitants and has rejuvenated herself, as we have rediscovered the abundance that she has to offer. It is why it is so apt that it is the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, which happens on Friday 05 June 2020.
‘Time for Nature’ focuses on the role nature plays in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development. This focus is particularly important to Sappi, which has unlocking the value of woodfibre from it 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 woodfibre – they would not be productive without biotic processes taking place, making World Environment Day particularly relevant to us.
Globally speaking, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres comments: “The most important ecosystems and biodiversity refuges on land are forests, which cover some 30 per cent of our planet’s land area and are home to 80 per cent 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.” Graeme Wild, Sappi Group Head: Investor Relations and Sustainability, further elaborates: “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.”
Important to know then, that approximately a third of the forest plantations that Sappi Southern Africa owns and leases in South Africa, is managed to conserve natural habitats and the biodiversity they contain; to the extent that Sappi has six declared nature reserves on its property, which form part of the national stewardship programme. (Read more about these conservation areas here https://www.forestrysouthafrica.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/PRINT-Clairmont-Case-Study.pdf
In Europe, we are actively working in a number of forest-sector collaborations to ensure our thriving forest bioeconomy remains an integral part of the 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 recovery, we endeavour to scale up our collective response and deployment of nature-based solutions.
Besides our plantations converting CO2 into carbohydrates that provide the energy and building blocks for plant growth, our trees also release oxygen into the atmosphere. 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 trail for mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers and other non-motorised 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. This link provides more information on the Sappi Trails programme : https://www.sappi.com/sappi-trails-programme
Besides promoting environmental awareness through these programmes that promote conservation and responsible land use, Sappi also acts #ForNature by using forest certification systems (such as The Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSCTM) programme; the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™); the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) programme ) 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.