Book Industry Environmental Council to Launch Eco-Labeling Program
With last week's 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the continuing coverage of the effects of the Icelandish volcanaic ash cloud, the environment has been front and center in news headlines recently. In the book publishing world, another significant environmental-themed story has emerged: The Book Industry Environmental Council (BIEC) is devising—with plans to launch mid-year—an eco-labeling program for books to identify publishers that are leading the way in reducing environmental impacts.
Todd Pollak, program manager of the Green Press Initiative, which coordinates the BIEC, spoke with Book Business Extra on the details of the eco-labeling program, which also was recently the focus of the “Green Publisher Eco-Label and the Industry's Climate Reduction Pathways” session at this year's Publishing Business Conference & Expo in New York City in March.
Book Business Extra: What does the eco-labeling program entail?
Todd Pollak: The eco-label is being developed by BIEC, which is a group of about 40 industry stakeholders, including publishers, printers, paper manufacturers, retailers and environmental organizations. BIEC's eco-label takes a holistic approach to evaluating a publisher's environmental performance across five broad categories. The certification uses a scorecard, which awards points to publishers for using environmentally responsible paper, decreasing paper consumption and waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing the use of toxic compounds, and having strong and transparent environmental policies. There are three tiers of certification that will be awarded, each requiring an increasing number of points from the scorecard. In addition to meeting minimum points requirements for each tier of certification, publishers will have to meet a set of criteria to verify that the paper they're using isn't resulting in damage to endangered forests.
Extra: How many points do publishers need to qualify for the program?
Pollak: For the lowest tier of certification, publishers need to obtain a minimum score of 400 points. Since points may be awarded from 22 metrics of environmental performance, there are many different ways this point threshold can be achieved. However, the scorecard is weighted such that actions that result in the largest environmental benefits are awarded the most points.