Maintaining high levels of certification


Our procurement policies cover a wide variety of issues, including the management of plantation forests and harvesting.

We are committed to sourcing woodfibre from forests and timber plantations in a manner that promotes their health and supports community wellbeing. Accordingly, in 2018 we revised our Group Woodfibre Procurement Policy (see

The sale of illegally or unsustainably harvested timber has been and continues to be a major issue that contributes to deforestation around the world. We mitigate this risk by ensuring that all wood used is legally harvested and comes from sustainably managed forests and tree plantations in accordance with the following credible third-party forest certification systems: The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) and other PEFC-endorsed systems.

Rigorous tracing practices

Suppliers have to provide evidence that all woodfibre is sourced from controlled, non-controversial sources in accordance with the FSC Controlled Wood Standard, as well as PEFC (and SFI in North America) risk-based due diligence systems. Due diligence procedures are in place in all regions to fulfil the PEFC and FSC Controlled Wood requirements and risk assessment procedures related to EUTR/Lacey Act (origin of wood and supplier chains) are also in place.

Sappi mills have the monitoring tools in place to fulfil the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EU No 995/2010) and Lacey Act. SEU can provide information on product composition, tree species, and the origin of woodfibre. All purchased woodfibre is at least FSC Controlled Wood and all mills are either FSC Chain of Custody or FSC- and PEFC Chain of Custody-certified.

SNA records the town and state or province of origin of each load of wood received at the mills. Representative samples of the deliveries to the mills are subsequently traced backward to confirm the accuracy of the information provided. Through a separate effort, the State of Maine requires that all timber harvests must be registered with the Maine Forest Service, which periodically inspects the operation for environmental compliance. The State of Maine also requires the use of a ‘trip ticket’ to accompany any wood transported to market. The trip ticket identifies the owner, the place of origin and the destination of the wood. A trip ticket system is also utilised in Minnesota, supported by a random sampling process which is incorporated into SNA’s certified sourcing procedures.

SSA and SEU operate according to FSC- or PEFC Chain of Custody requirements which stipulate reporting on species and on countries’ forest origin.

See FAQs – Our certifications on

Across the group, 75.2% of fibre supplied to our mills is certified. Our global target is to achieve 79% by 2020 (see Targets). In SEU, SNA and SSA, the percentage of certified fibre supplied 2018 was respectively: 78%, 58% and 82.2%. Our plantations in South Africa are 100% FSC-certified (see Key material issues – Woodfibre certification).

Multi-site certification in Sappi North America

SNA recently transitioned to a multi-site Chain of Custody certificate as a result of a successful audit under the FSC, PEFC and SFI programmes. The audit, conducted by Bureau Veritas, noted several exceptional practices including:

  • Somerset wood procurement: Excellent culture of training and mentoring new foresters, yielding outstanding results on the ground and retention of the highest calibre foresters
  • Culture of teamwork: Successful transition to a multi-site certificate indicative of effective teamwork and robust internal auditing protocols, and
  • Robust forestry certification training programme: Impressive training plan, scope, execution and reach across organisation.

Overall, this transition will reduce complexity and increase transparency for all parties, including Sappi customers, and over time provide increased flexibility to deploy certification credits across Somerset, Cloquet and Westbrook Mills.