Eco-Libris: How Green is the Book Publishing Industry?
Editor’s note: This week, Raz Godelnik at Eco-Libris takes a look at a new study of the book publishing industry’s environmental footprint. As gathering information is the first step towards making change, we hope this report provides the data necessary for this industry to continue moving in greener directions. This post was originally published on Wednesday, March 12, 2008.
This is a very exciting week for the book industry and anyone involved in the efforts to green it up. The reason? Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts:Findings from the U.S. Book Industry has been published.
This 86-page report was prepared by The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and The Green Press Initiative (GPI, and not to be confused with the Genuine Progress Indicator, GPI) (with support from a number of industry sponsors). Seventy-six publishers, representing just under half of the market, participated in the study, along with 13 printers (about 25 percent) and 6 paper mills (about 17 percent).
Why is this report so important? Because this is an up to date analysis of the industry’s ecological footprint. This is the most detailed survey someone has done in years to create a clear picture of the book publishing industry’s environmental impacts.
These measurements will help not only to know better where the industry is standing now, but also to better plan how to move forward and green up the industry as well as to evaluate the progress later on. In one word: benchmark. Or as BISG describes the report on its website: “a benchmarking survey which will establish a baseline for tracking climate impacts and progress by the U.S. book industry in environmental improvements.”
The report also gives us a better perspective on the steps taken by few of the big publishers, such as Simon and Schuster, Random House, and others in the last two years, and how much at all is already done within the industry both on the level of creating green policies and greening up the operations.
Here are few highlights from the report that were published by AP on their article “Report: Book publishing industry getting greener”:
- The book world (in the U.S.) uses up more than 1.5 million metric tons of paper each year.
- Just over half of publishers have set specific goals for increasing use of recycled paper. About 60 percent have a formal environmental policy or are in the process of completing one.
- Around 150 publishers, along with 10 printers and four paper manufacturers, have backed a treatise (initiated by GPI) supporting recycled paper and fiber from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
This is the first part of our coverage of this report. I intend to dive into the 86 pages and bring you next week my point of view on the results. If you want to order the report, you can do it on GPI and BISG websites.