Sappi North America, a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper and packaging products, today received an award for its investment in the state of Minnesota from the Minnesota Office of Foreign Direct Investment, under the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The award highlights the company’s contributions to the economic vitality of local communities, and its commitment to keeping Minnesota a world-leading business destination.
“We are honored and delighted to receive this award from the Governor’s office for our contributions to the great state of Minnesota,” said Mark Gardner, president and CEO of Sappi North America. “Through the investments made under Sappi’s 2020Vision strategy, we’re ensuring that our Cloquet facility will continue to operate at this high standard for many years to come.”
For nearly 120 years, the Cloquet Mill has produced paper and wood pulp on the banks of the St. Louis River. Sappi North America is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company has been managing the Cloquet facility for over 15 years. A world-class facility, the Cloquet Mill has been recognized several times over the years, including for its achievements in safety by reaching over 2 million man hours without a loss time injury this past January.
The Cloquet Mill underwent a $170 million capital investment in 2011 to convert the kraft pulp operations to also produce chemical cellulose used in textile and consumer goods markets. Through this product diversification, along with investments in renewable energy and waste reduction, the mill has stayed profitable and competitive in a challenging market.
“I am very proud of all of my coworkers at the Cloquet Mill. We work hard together to make safety a top priority while we continue to do the things necessary to live up to our vision, which is to be a dynamic world-class operation that secures a sustainable future for our employees, business partners and community,” said Mike Schultz, mill manager, Cloquet Mill, Sappi North America. “Sappi’s continued investments make us a bright spot in this industry and helps ensure we can continue to support our local economy.”
The Cloquet Mill currently employs nearly 700 people. In its commitment to training a knowledgeable workforce, Sappi also partnered with DEED and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in 2016 for a Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Grant. Sappi was nominated by APEX, a business development organization based in Duluth, Minn., for this recent award from DEED.
“To receive this recognition from the State of Minnesota is an honor for Sappi and the local economic development partners. It elevates our region’s strength in innovation, and as an attractive location for national and global investment,” stated Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO.