Vigourexplore our theme

Lizards are estimated to have been around for 240 million years. Little wonder, given that they make use of a variety of antipredator adaptations, including venom, camouflage, reflex bleeding and the ability to sacrifice and regrow their tails. What’s more, as with other reptiles, the skin of lizards is covered in overlapping scales made of keratin, providing protection from the environment and reducing water loss through evaporation. This characteristic enables them to thrive in some of the driest deserts on earth.

Vigour, strength and adaptability have ensured lizards’ ability to thrive over the course of time.

So, too, at Sappi, our commitment to growing our business and maintaining a healthy balance sheet, has sustained us for almost 90 years. We are vigorous in our commitment to deliver on our Thrive strategy, including by reducing exposure to graphic paper markets while investing for growth in our target markets and capitalising on our leadership position in pulp supply to the lyocell market.

Evolveexplore our theme

Very little in nature is static – everything is constantly changing and evolving. One miraculous example of this is the metamorphosis of the egg, the caterpillar (larva) and the chrysalis (pupa) into the adult butterfly. This process embodies fresh ideas, renewal and unexpected outcomes.

The caterpillar’s new form as a butterfly opens new horizons, but also new risks, particularly in the form of climate change. Butterflies are particularly sensitive to environmental changes like climatic shifts. That is because they are strictly adapted to certain environmental conditions and their development depends on certain larval food plants and specific microhabitat structures.

In Sappi’s case, climate change presents both risks and opportunities. We are addressing short- and long-term physical and transitional climate risks identified through processes outlined by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to build resilience. In addition, we are determined, as a socially responsible business, to play our part in ensuring a just transition in South Africa as the country faces the reality of reducing its dependence on coal.

We are also determined to accelerate our science-based decarbonisation trajectory which we see as an opportunity to future-proof our business. So too, are the opportunities presented by evolving customer needs and legislation – notably growing demand for sustainable packaging, based on low-carbon impact, together with demand for more sustainable textile fibres.

We cannot achieve our vision of a thriving world without an evolving response to climate change. By collaborating with a broad range of stakeholders we are working to achieve energy security and climate resilience and transform our vision into reality.

Postureexplore our theme

Beauty and confidence. Pride and upright posture. These attributes have meant that many cultures over the ages have associated peacocks with royalty and power.

This image is appropriate to Sappi because we too, can stand tall with pride when we consider our past achievements and drive to create not just enterprise value, but value for our people and for communities.

We have achieved enterprise value through our ability to be nimble and optimise profitability in ever-changing markets, reshaping our products and processes to create value and growth for our own business and our customers. We continue to offer our customers a broad range of solutions based on the power of renewable resources that enable them to achieve their sustainability goals and contribute to the low-carbon, circular economy. In doing so, we have continued to focus on treading more lightly on the Planet.

Creating value for our people and communities is underpinned by the structures and programmes we have established which facilitate open, authentic communication, by our ongoing investment in training, development and transformative community programmes, as well as by our collaborative partnerships focused on workable solutions to industry challenges.

Our commitment to delivering sustainable value to our stakeholders is based on our focus on living our values at all times: At Sappi we do business safely with integrity and courage, making smart decisions which we execute with speed.

Diving deeper into our,
performance and prospects

Fortifyexplore our theme

Hermit crabs are shapeshifters, moulting as they grow, continually shedding their exoskeletons and growing new ones. As their exoskeletons are fragile, they need shells for protection. Rather than produce their own shell, as they grow, they use shells abandoned by other marine creatures. This process is not a one-off, but continues throughout their lifespan, depending on water temperature, habitat and species.

Many species will enhance their chances of survival by encouraging anemones to attach to their shell, as the latter’s stinging tentacles may deter predators. The crabs even transfer the anemones from shell to shell when they move house.

We can draw parallels with Sappi, fortified as we are by our iterative Thrive strategy and by our agility in responding to changes in our operating context to emerge stronger and better positioned for growth. This process is underpinned by ongoing engagement with our stakeholders, whose input helps us shape our response to our environment as we collaborate to build a thriving world.

Balanceexplore our theme

Bubbles are things of fragility, wonder – and balance. That’s because the inward surface tension forces of the water film are exactly balanced by the outward-pushing pressure of the air inside.

Blowing more air in to make a bigger bubble means more air pressure inside and also means the bubble must get thinner in the process, because there is only so much water to go around. Should one keep blowing more air in, the film eventually won’t have enough reserve water to spread out into a bigger surface, and the ultimate catastrophe occurs: the bubble bursts.

The success of Sappi’s business is also based on balance. This includes continuous capital prioritisation as we look to reduce costs and grow the business while sustaining a healthy balance sheet. It involves reshaping our product portfolio to meet changing market needs and taking advantage of growth opportunities while being mindful of the risks. It means balancing the needs of people and communities with our responsibility to our shareholders.

As we move forward into the future, we know we can rely on the expertise and passion of our people and the ongoing cooperation of our stakeholders to maintain this balance and drive sustainable value creation.

Connectexplore our theme

Some mushrooms are bioluminescent, due to luciferins, the same compounds that make fireflies light up at night. This ability is used to attract insects which then spread the mushroom spores elsewhere in the forest, allowing the fungi to reproduce.

But that’s not where connection ends. Beneath every forest and wood lies a complex network of roots and fungi that connects trees and plants to one another. This network – sometimes called the Wood Wide Web – is almost 500 million years old and is vital for most plants on earth. Trees and plants obtain nutrients that the fungi acquire from the soil, such as nitrogen and phosphorus by means of enzymes that the trees do not possess. In return, the fungi receive carbon-rich sugar from the roots of the trees.

This symbiotic relationship enables all connected organisms to thrive.

Similarly, at Sappi our connection with our stakeholders shapes our work to build a thriving world. This connection enables us to meet the changing needs of every employee at Sappi and to offer our partners the renewable innovation they need to be successful. By understanding and connecting with community needs, we drive positive social impact, playing a role beyond making and selling.

Like mushrooms, our business is a living organism – growing, adapting and evolving in a continually shifting context. As we shape our response to this context, we prioritise value creation for all stakeholders.

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About this report

Our Annual Integrated Report for the year ended 30 September 2023 provides an overview of how we create value in terms of our purpose, vision and strategy. The report deals with key opportunities and risks in our markets, our performance against financial and non-financial objectives and our priorities and expectations for the year ahead.

While the report addresses issues pertinent to a broad group of stakeholders, the primary audience is our shareholders. Our group and regional sustainability reports address a wider audience with more detail on stakeholder engagement and key material issues. In addition to our Integrated Report, we have included supporting appendices.

Integrated thinking and the 3Ps

We understand that the long-term sustainability of our business will only be ensured by delivering sustained value for our stakeholders. In understanding our value-creation process, we take an integrated approach, considering Prosperity, People and Planet (the 3Ps) – an approach that is aligned with the International Integrated Reporting Framework (IIRC) six capitals model.


Ensuring holistic value creation

At Sappi, we take a holistic view of value creation. We understand that the long-term sustainability of our business will only be ensured by delivering sustained value for our stakeholders. Value for Sappi is not only about delivering returns to our shareholders, but also about maximising the value of every resource along our value chain to ensure those returns are sustainable. We recognise that our sphere of influence and impact extends beyond our mill gates.

Through this lifecycle approach that harnesses the power of the circular economy, we strive to minimise our negative impacts and increase our positive impacts on people and the planet, while securing sustainable profit margins. For more information on how we create value and our business model.

In understanding our value creation process, we take an integrated approach, considering the resources and relationships upon which we depend and impact, either positive or negative, through our business activities. Our value creation process is articulated through the lens of Prosperity, People and Planet (the 3Ps) – an approach aligned with six capitals model of the International Integrated Reporting <IR> Framework (2021).

Integrated thinking and the 3Ps

Materiality

The materiality of the information presented was determined based on extensive ongoing engagement with our stakeholders. It was assessed against the backdrop of current business operations and prevailing trends in our industry and the global economy. In line with the double materiality approach, our material issues aim to enhance our stakeholders' understanding of the impact of environmental and social issues on Sappi's enterprise value and the impact of our activities on the environment and society (refer to Our key material issues).

In determining our material matters and value creation over time, we consider the following timeframes:

Short term: One to two years, in line with immediate risks and opportunities
Medium term: Three to five years in line with management accounting’s five-year financial forecast plan
Long term: Five to 30 years, taking into account the nature of our mill operations and capital investments for long-life assets, Sappi Forests’ research planning horizons in response to climate change and the EU’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2050.

Our Annual Integrated Report boundary

Scope and boundary

This report covers the period from the beginning of October 2022 to the end of September 2023.

We aim to present material, comparable, relevant and complete information. The issues and indicators we cover reflect our significant economic, environmental and social impacts and those we believe would substantively influence the assessments and decisions of investors.

Key to our materiality determination process is our reporting boundary. Our reporting boundary considers all our operations (refer to Where we operate). In addition, we consider the risks and opportunities beyond our financial reporting boundary that may significantly affect our ability to create value. These include material matters arising from our operating context, strategy, stakeholder issues, opportunities, risk management processes and SDG commitments, among others.

Our reporting suite

  • 2022 Sappi Annual Integrated Report

    www.sappi.com/annual-reports

    Frameworks

    • IR Framework
    • Companies Act 71 of 2008 (as amended) of South Africa (Companies Act)
    • Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Listings Requirements
    • King IV Code on Governance™ for South Africa, 2016 (King IV)1.
  • 2023 Sappi Group Annual Financial Statements

    www.sappi.com/annual-reports

    Frameworks

    • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
    • Companies Act
    • JSE Listings Requirements

  • 2023 Sappi Group Sustainability Report

    www.sappi.com/2023GSDR

    Frameworks

    • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards
    • United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
    • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

For our standalone King IV application register and our risk report, please go to www.sappi.com/annual-reports

For up-to-date information, please refer to our quarterly results announcements and analyst presentations www.sappi.com/quarterly-reports


1 Copyright and trademarks are owned by the Institute of Directors in South Africa NPC and all of its rights are reserved.

Assurance

We obtained limited external assurance on selected sustainability key performance indicators in our 2023 Sappi Group Sustainability Report. The independent practitioner's limited assurance report is included in the 2023 Sappi Group Sustainability Report. Our sustainability information is verified by our internal audit team. Their verification process includes reviewing the procedures applied for collecting and/or measuring, calculating and validating non-financial data and reviewing reported information and supporting documentation. Most of our key operations undergo external verification, including the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme in Europe, ISO 50001 energy certification in Europe and South Africa and globally, ISO 45001 environmental certification, ISO 9001 quality certification and ISO 45001 health and safety certification. Some of our mills are certified to the ISO 22000 food safety management standard and EN 15593 management of hygiene in the production of packaging for foodstuffs.

We are assessed in terms of the forest certification systems we use and in South Africa, our broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) performance is assessed by an external rating agency.

Collectively, these external assessments and certifications and interaction with our stakeholders give us confidence that our performance indicators are reliable, accurate and pertinent. The Social, Ethics, Transformation and Sustainability (SETS) Committee is satisfied that the sustainability information presented in this report has been provided with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Our financial information is verified by our external auditors. For information on the combined assurance framework relevant to the disclosure in this report and the independent auditors' report, see Group Annual Financial Statements on www.sappi.com/annual-reports

Board approval

The Sappi Limited board of directors (board) acknowledges its responsibility for ensuring the integrity of the Annual Integrated Report and, to the best of its knowledge and belief, the 2023 Sappi Annual Integrated Report addresses all issues material to the group's ability to create and preserve value in the short, medium and long term and fairly presents the group's integrated performance and outlook.

The board believes that the Annual Integrated Report has been prepared in accordance with the IR Framework and speaks to Sappi's use of and effect on the 3Ps (addressing value creation, preservation and erosion), which are aligned with the six capitals.

The board thus approved the 2023 Sappi Annual Integrated Report on 08 December 2023.

Sir Nigel Rudd   Steve Binnie
Chairman   Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Forward-looking statements

In line with the International IR Framework, this report contains forward-looking statements to enable users to understand the challenges and uncertainties Sappi is likely to encounter in pursuing its strategy. This information is included throughout the report.

For important information relating to these forward-looking statements, refer to here.