Group overview

Hummingbirds are the trapeze artists of the avian world. They can fly forwards, backwards, even upside down and are also the only vertebrae capable of hovering in place. In addition to being agile, hummingbirds are extraordinarily fast. They have been observed at speeds of nearly 48 kilometres per hour (km/h) in direct flight and over 72 km/h during courtship dives.

Adaptability is another hummingbird characteristic. These tiny birds have fewer feathers than other birds, because they need to have an efficient body that is as lightweight as possible in order for the flight aerobics they perform. As the insulation that they get from their feathers is insufficient, at night they go into torpor, a hibernation-like state that allows them to conserve energy by slowing down their metabolism, heartbeat and respiration rate. Furthermore, hummingbirds remember migration routes and every flower they’ve ever visited. They can also figure out how long to wait between visits so the flowers have time to generate more nectar.

Inherent in our approach is being agile to stay ahead of market changes, preferences, customer needs and expectations.


Creating value by responding strategically

When presented with a dandelion, few people can resist the urge to hold the flower and blow at it to see how far the seeds will travel. It’s the same when presented with a beautiful coffee table book or an impactful piece of print – there is an almost irresistible urge to pick it up, examine it and touch it. Studies have shown that even the simple act of touching objects, like premium packages, brochures and direct mail, can subconsciously increase the perceived value of a brand and its products in the eyes of customers.

Touch can make a stronger impact than sight or sound alone. That’s because touch has the power to shift the brain into a deeper level of engagement, one more conducive to building lasting knowledge. In fact, a number of studies have found that communication through physical media, particularly paper, is more likely to lead to knowledge than communication via digital media.

The haptics of paper and board, together with our need to touch and feel, have created high-growth, cash-generative niche opportunities for Sappi.

We continue to move onwards in terms of paper and paper packaging: Our paperboard packaging product lines are some of the most renowned and valued brands with high-finish premium solutions for cosmetics and perfume, health and beauty care, consumer electronics, confectionery, luxury drinks, food packaging and more. Our packaging brands constitute a great portion of the food packing and labels on shop shelves today. And our graphic papers are used to grab the attention of consumers all over the world.


Our performance review

In mythology, the beautiful, delicate dragonfly symbolises change, transformation and adaptability. This change is said to be about understanding the deeper meaning of life, with the dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water representing an act of going beyond what’s on the surface to look into the deeper implications of life.

Looking beyond – and deeper – is reflected in our Thrive25 sustainability strategy which incorporates our belief that to continue thriving as a global business, we must create long-term value for all stakeholders by supporting a low-carbon circular economy through relevant products from sustainable woodfibre.

Our strategy also recognises that we must understand the forces that heavily impact our lives and work.

Dragonflies have huge compound eyes with thousands of lenses and photoreceptors sensitive to different wavelengths of light, each bringing in information about the insect's surroundings. In other words, they have near-360- degree vision. Which is why they’re able to go after their prey – butterflies, moths, bees and flies – with such accuracy.

At Sappi, we understand that by widening our scope to the broader ecosystem and a wide range of stakeholders, we can identify uncertainty and opportunity beyond our periphery of vision. We leverage insights into our operating context and patterns from our data, stay ahead of nascent technologies and draw on the acumen of our people, to embrace change and create innovative solutions that are relevant to all our stakeholders.


Governance and compensation

The cheetah’s light, streamlined body makes it well-suited to short, explosive bursts of speed, rapid acceleration and executing extreme changes in direction while moving at high speed. Contrary to the common belief that cheetahs – known to be the fastest land animal – hunt by simply chasing their prey at high speeds, they are in fact extremely strategic. They don’t randomly sprint towards anything, but wait until the timing is right, varying their speed during the chase. Speed and smartness are attributes that resonate with us at Sappi, given that ‘making smart decisions which we execute with speed’ are among our core values.

Under our Thrive25 strategy, we foster a safety-first culture, using collaboration and the power of partnerships to respond to changes in our environment, moving Sappi forward and deliver value to our customers.


Governance and compensation

In a continuous flow of energy and life, water always finds the lowest level in an incredibly efficient manner. It penetrates any crevice or path that will facilitate its downward flow, steadily meandering and descending in search of lower planes.

In a similar fashion, our focus is on amplifying value creation for all our stakeholders. The landscape around us is changing rapidly. Stakeholders’ needs and expectations have shifted, in particular as regards the environment and social equity.

We are responding to natural resource constraints by seeking responsible alternatives to non-renewables and solutions that are truly sustainable from seed to final product. We strictly monitor and control our use of energy, water and other raw materials and are investing in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

We work to amplify value creation through innovation and R&D. Innovation is the way we operate that provides competitive advantages and ensures we grow, flourish and progress. R&D is focused on realising our ambitious but achievable strategy of extracting more value from each tree. Our strategy is supported by technology centres in each region which cover every section of the value chain. We deliver value by optimising our production processes, maximising existing capacity and work to constantly improve our best overall machine efficiency levels.

In the communities where we operate, we prioritise projects that support education, entrepreneurship and environment, as well as health and welfare, while working to break the cycle of poverty through stable, safe employment.

By amplifying value creation in this way, we accelerate and advance meaningful change.



we are

Paper capacity per year
5.5 million tons
Paper pulp capacity per year
2.5 million tons
Dissolving pulp (DP) capacity per year
1.4 million tons
Globally we have
12,492 employees(1)
394,000 ha
Owned and leased sustainably managed forests in South Africa

Read more

Letter to the stakeholders
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Operating review

The lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic including ongoing lockdown measures and global economic volatility continued to dominate in FY2021. An unwavering focus on the implementation of our Thrive25 strategy and commitment to sustainable business operations facilitated a return to profitability during the year, and the group generated a profit for the period of US$13 million, which was a substantial improvement compared to the loss of US$135 million for the 2020 financial year.

Steve Binnie

Sir Nigel Rudd

Read more

Where we operate

Sappi Trading

Sappi Trading operates a network for the sale and distribution of our products outside our core operating regions of North America, Europe and South Africa. Sappi Trading also coordinates our shipping and logistical functions for exports from these regions

Read more

North America


Production facilities

Sales offices



Production facilities

Sales offices

South Africa


Production facilities

Sales offices

How we create value

We take an integrated approach to value creation. Guided by our values, our six value streams enable the delivery of our purpose and our Thrive25 strategy

Please click on the icons below to view more information on our six value streams


We are unlocking the chemistry of trees and meeting the challenges of a carbon-constrained world by establishing a strong position in adjacent businesses including nanocellulose, sugars and furfural, lignosulphonates, biocomposites and bio-energy. Extracting more value from each tree is strengthening our core business model.

Commercial uptake of Sappi Symbio

Manufacturing excellence

We focus on enhancing machine efficiencies, digitising our processes to make the smart factory a reality, reducing variable costs through new practices in logistics and procurement, as well as implementing go-to-market strategies, which lower the cost of serving our customers and increase customer satisfaction.

Machine learning and digitisation accelerating


Our 100% Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSCTM ) and PEFC-certified plantations in South Africa give us a low-cost woodfibre base on which our business depends, and are thus a key pillar of competitive advantage. (FSC-N003159). Our leading-edge tree improvement programmes aim to grow better trees faster, thereby ensuring this advantage is maintained and enhanced.

Our plantations in South Africa are 100% FSC and PEFC-certified


DP is a truly sustainable raw material. Our customers transform our DP into products that meet the needs of people around the globe every day. Products that enable fashion, household comfort, personal beauty and hygiene, as well as a healthy lifestyle.

Commissioning of 110,000 tpa expansion at Saiccor Mill anticipated Q1 FY2022

Packaging and speciality papers

Our customers use our packaging and speciality papers to add value to niche markets, enable product differentiation and offer environmentally conscious consumers an alternative to fossil-fuel based packaging. Our focus on innovation helps our customers to meet and anticipate the challenges of changing market dynamics.

Sales volumes in this sector increased 21% y-o-y

Graphic papers

While the digital age has impacted the use of paper, our graphic papers continue to meet the needs of consumers and marketers around the world. They rely on paper for a tactile, emotional experience no other communication medium can replicate.

Paper’s haptic qualities enhance marketing and branding

Read more on how we create value