The past year has been unprecedented. The impact of COVID-19 cast a long shadow over the world. Our business was negatively affected, which influenced our ability to deliver our sustainability goals. However, I am extremely proud of the manner in which the Sappi family stood up and stood together during this time. Across our global operations, our first priority was the immediate safety and wellbeing of our staff and their families.
In the long term, this would count for little if we could not ensure that our business remained operational. Thus, our second priority was to keep our operations running—applying all the required preventative health and safety measures to continue production and support for our customers. Many of our products were essential to assisting in the response to COVID-19, and in some cases, we actually developed new products following requests from customers. We are grateful for the dedication and commitment of our staff, the support of our suppliers, and the strong relationships we have with our customers.
Beyond the pandemic, safety remained of critical importance. Our North American colleagues achieved their best-ever safety record—a significant accomplishment given the challenges of the year. Significant progress was also made to strengthen our presence in the growing packaging segment while providing stability and excellent service to our graphic papers customers. Our newly acquired Matane Mill integrated smoothly into the Sappi family, supporting our internal production and increasing external pulp sales alongside our dissolving pulp product, which is produced at Cloquet. The restructuring of our Westbrook Mill is delivering new options for our casting and release customers while enhancing the efficiencies across our North American operations and improving our environmental footprint.
The past year also saw each region set clear targets and work programs to implement our Thrive25 business strategy, which will take us through 2025. We’ve also increased focus on innovation and sustainability with the associated advantages this will bring through new products, reduced impacts, and greater collaboration.
I am confident that our North American business is well positioned to contribute to building a circular economy through products from sustainably and responsibly managed natural and renewable resources.
In closing, please join me in congratulating Sappi North America for their AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award—a fitting recognition for the commitment of the region’s leadership and employees.
Read more from Sappi North America's 2020 Sustainability Report here
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