The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound, negative impact in terms of SDG1: No Poverty.
The World Bank is reporting that globally, extreme poverty levels rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years and that approximately 100 million additional people are living in poverty as a result of the pandemic.
In addition, during the year, the world experienced extreme weather events precipitated by climate change. These compounded the disruption of the pandemic and slowed poverty reduction progress, with a significant proportion of the global population experiencing food insecurity.
If the Covid-19 pandemic taught us anything, it was that developments in one part of the world – no matter how distant – can have profound effects on us all. At Sappi we have long recognised that we are dependent on each other and on healthy, resilient ecosystems. We need to nurture both People and the Planet if we are to achieve our purpose of building a thriving world.
While I am very proud of our return to profitability following a turbulent year in which everyone at Sappi worked exceptionally hard to adapt to the impact and implications of the Coronavirus pandemic, I am even more proud of the way we achieved this, securing the safety of our staff, supporting our communities in needs and ensuring that we maintained the integrity of our business and our supply chain to ensure that our customers could continue to trade.
During the first year of our Thrive25 strategy, our dedicated, resourceful people continued to focus on our goal of pursuing circular ecosystems, including utilising 100% of every tree harvested. We worked to offer viable alternatives to fossil-based products, expanding our range of packaging and speciality grades. We optimised our business processes and made progress in obtaining benefit from new systems including machine learning and advanced analytics.
We continued to prioritise the safety of our people, whether related to Covid-19, civil unrest in South Africa or the operational and occupational safety of our workforce.
Our key material issues