Sappi Limited, a global forest products leader, is proud to announce that its South African division has been awarded the first ever Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) forest management certificate in South Africa. This achievement indicates that Sappi Southern Africa’s forest management practices meet the requirements for sustainable forest management set out in the PEFC-endorsed standard for South Africa, SAFAS (Sustainable African Forest Assurance Scheme).
Commenting on behalf of PEFC International, Ben Gunneberg, CEO & Secretary General said “This certificate is a landmark in South Africa. At a time when climate smart solutions are so needed, it’s imperative that we expand sustainable forest management practices in all regions of the world. We are delighted that Sappi’s forests in South Africa have become PEFC-certified and look forward to welcoming further growth of PEFC certification in the country.”
The certification will now enable Sappi to offer PEFC certified wood from its plantations in South Africa, giving further assurance to Sappi’s local and global customers that the wood raw material originates from responsibly managed forests. This is in addition to the longstanding certification that Sappi holds for its 394,000 hectares with the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™-N003159). Sappi Southern Africa has also commenced the process to achieve PEFC Chain of Custody certification for its manufacturing sites, and thereafter all Sappi mills globally will be both FSC and PEFC (incl. SFI® in the United States) certified.
“Sappi’s purpose is to build a thriving world by unlocking the power of renewable resources to benefit people, communities and the planet”, commented Alex Thiel, Sappi Southern Africa Chief Executive Officer. “Credible, internationally recognised, robust forest certification systems like PEFC and FSC are fundamental to Sappi’s commitment to sustainability”, he said.
According to Dr David Everard, Divisional Environmental Manager for Sappi Forests, “After all the intense work in collaborating on the development of the SAFAS system and now in implementing it, it’s rewarding to have this achievement for Sappi. But the potential of SAFAS in South Africa is that it incorporates cutting-edge, innovative and effective approaches to also make forest certification more accessible to South Africa’s small landowners. This has great promise for ensuring certification not only delivers social and environmental values, but also supports socio-economic and development priorities.”
Commenting further on behalf of PEFC International, Ben Gunneberg, CEO & Secretary General said: “What makes PEFC-endorsed national forest certification systems, such as the PEFC endorsed SAFAS, so relevant and valuable is that they are locally developed and owned, and that they respect the country’s operational and cultural conditions. This is important because it ensures that the advantages of certification are accessible to all forest owners, with a particular emphasis on smallholders.”