Sustainability Report 2013: Letter from Mark Gardner
This past year has been a remarkable period of transition, change, and accomplishment. Looking back, I am especially proud to share with you how Sappi is aligning itself for future success. Most notably, we have completed major capital investments across all three of our business units, enabling us to enter new growth markets while focusing on efficiency and generating higher productivity in our more mature coated business. After a milestone year, we can now take advantage of opportunities in the market and continue reinvesting to build a more diverse, sustainable business.
Reflecting on this year’s progress, it is clear that our overarching strategy has been strengthened through increased engagement across all pillars of sustainability. We believe that prioritizing social and environmental responsibility will deliver better economic results for years to come.
Long-Term Growth Strategy
This past year, we successfully completed a major component of our diversification strategy by converting the pulping operations at our Cloquet Mill to make dissolving wood pulp. After this US$170 million investment came online, it expanded Sappi’s global Specialised Cellulose capacity to over 1.3 million metric tons per year. In addition to investing in the production of this new product, we have made investments in key assets within our existing coated and release businesses.
Throughout the year, despite the additional workload of capital improvements, our mills never lost focus on operational excellence. Our coated business achieved record annual domestic market share by achieving record productivity at both our Somerset and Cloquet mills.
Beyond production assets, we have led a dedicated effort to bring a natural gas pipeline to our Somerset Mill. Access to natural gas will lower our energy cost structures and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing oil. These combined investments enable us to not only excel today, but continue to diversify, seek growth opportunities, and add value for our customers into the future.
From top to bottom, leadership in safety performance is essential for our success. This is no more evident than in the impeccable execution of our Specialised Cellulose conversion, which was completed on time, within budget, and most importantly, safely. Our improvements in safety performance can also be noted on a smaller scale through day-to-day practices. Whether coordinating a paper trial, scheduling a maintenance repair, or preparing for a capital upgrade project, every discussion begins and ends with safety.
As we turn the page on a new year, it is important to take a moment and acknowledge the strong overall safety performance we achieved. For 2013, the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) for the year was 0.43, which is a 40 percent improvement over 2012 and is the best annual safety record in our company history. While reaching this new benchmark is to be celebrated, we continue to strive for the ultimate goal of zero injuries. It takes everyone to be committed, focused and to believe that it is possible to work injury free.
In 2013, we were presented with both challenges and opportunities which are outlined in more detail within our sustianability report. Significant changes were made in our operations as well as in the markets we serve. We remain dedicated to optimizing these new and existing assets while further developing process improvements to reduce waste, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and increase overall energy efficiency.
Our experienced foresters continue fostering relationships with landowners in the local communities in which we operate. At our core, we are a company that depends on natural resources and we source wood fiber only from sustainably managed forests.
Investing in the Future
Innovation depends on creativity and courage. Sappi recognizes that as we diversify our business, it is our people who will help us to bring new ideas to the table and create solutions that will ultimately take the company to the next level. We are proud to support lifelong learning in both our workforce and in our surrounding communities. As thought leaders in the industry, it is imperative that we continue to collaborate with academic institutions, suppliers, our international Sappi colleagues and our customers.
Innovation is about unlocking the potential of our people, our mills, and our brands. The goals and accomplishments covered in this report reflect our ability to envision the future and our drive to build it. Our sustainability strategy empowers us to create a positive impact on the well-being of our employees, communities, and the environment. In the years that lie ahead, we must remain steadfast, as an organization, to have the commitment to make not only profitable, but environmentally responsible decisions for Sappi and our customers.
President & CEO
Sappi Fine Paper North America
Read the full SFPNA Sustainability Report 2013 by downloading an online PDF version directly from our website here or for more on sustainability, check out our eQ microsite at: http://www.na.sappi.com/eQ/index.html