Gore Documentary Inspires Publisher to Produce First “Green” Bible: A Q&A with Thomas Nelson CEO Michael S. Hyatt
“An Inconvenient Truth,” the 2006 documentary that focused on climate change, won more than just two Academy Awards—as it turns out, it also won over Thomas Nelson’s Michael S. Hyatt. Hyatt, the president and CEO of the largest Christian book publisher in the world, took the inspiration he gained from viewing the film and carried the message back to work with him.
Last month, Thomas Nelson published an industry first—a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified “green” Bible, which contains paper made with 10-percent post-consumer recycled fiber. Some industry experts suggest that the publication of “The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible” signifies a major shift, not just for Christian or religious publishers, but for all trade publishers, toward more eco-friendly business practices.
The publisher worked with printer Domtar and the Green Press Initiative (GPI)––a non-profit organization that has worked for the past five years to help the book industry conserve the environment––to create this environmentally friendly version of the holy book.
In the last edition of Book Business Extra, GPI Director Tyson Miller spoke about the project. In this edition, Extra talks with Hyatt about the lasting impact “An Inconvenient Truth” will have on his company, as well as the industry as a whole.
Book Business Extra: Take me behind the scenes of the genesis of the “green” Bible. How long ago did the idea arise at Thomas Nelson, and how did it evolve into the published book?
Michael S. Hyatt: I would say that probably about a year ago, we started wrestling with the question of how we, as a publisher, could be more environmentally responsible. Personally for me, it started when I saw Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” It had a profound impact on me. After seeing that, I started asking my family and coworkers how we could become more eco-friendly. Talk of the “green” Bible began in February after a meeting between our production group and the GPI. The GPI was very informative about how we could publish more eco-friendly products and other things we could do to help the environment. We determined that we would publish a “green” Bible and a “green” trade book [Brian McLaren’s “Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope”] to learn about the process of “green” publishing, better understand the challenges and identify the market for these products.