Sappi Limited's CEO Steve Binnie Reflects on North America's Year of Renewal

Jun 13, 2019 4:10 PM ET

I would like to congratulate the Sappi North America (SNA) team on another successful year, truly embodying this year’s theme of renewal. The business underwent a significant change with the conversion of Paper Machine 1 (PM1) at the Somerset Mill to be able to produce packaging and speciality paper grades. We also commenced a project to increase dissolving pulp capacity at Cloquet. These exciting changes are part of Sappi’s global strategy to boost capacity in higher growth and higher margin product segments. Despite the inevitable disruption which accompanies such significant capital projects, the business was able to offset cost pressure in the graphic paper business, nearly doubled packaging business volumes and improved overall profitability after the conversion of Somerset PM1. Importantly, to ensure that SNA was ready for the change, employees underwent 114 hours of training per employee—almost twice the amount considered best practice for US companies.

The business introduced the Proto and Spectro paperboard brands for premium packaging and graphic applications, and benefited from the global launch of Verve—Sappi’s dissolving wood pulp brand range. We ensure the sustainability commitment of our products by focusing on securing certified woodfibre, both FSC and SFI, where we have invested in their smallholder certification programme to help build local economies.

All the while, Sappi North America recorded its best-ever safety performance. Safety is of the utmost importance at Sappi and the core of our operating ethos. I applaud the North American team for their unwavering commitment and hard work towards building a safe and prosperous Sappi, and look forward to getting the global organization to our ultimate goal of zero injuries.

SNA can look with confidence towards 2019 as it secures greater market share while delivering on its sustainability commitments.

Steve Binnie

Chief Executive Officer, Sappi Limited

Read more from Sappi North America's 2016 Sustainability Report here: