Results of the Industry’s First-Ever Environmental Survey Released
History was made at the Publishing Business Conference & Expo on Monday, March 10, as the Green Press Initiative (GPI) and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) presented findings from the first-ever environmental survey of the U.S. book industry. GPI, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, and BISG, an industry trade association, commissioned the study to help the industry understand its environmental impacts, assess areas for improvement and make recommendations for improving its ecological footprint.
Michael Healy, BISG executive director, and Tyson Miller, GPI director, unveiled the 73-page “Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry” to a crowded conference room of book publishing executives. They were joined by Jim Ford, policy director, Borealis Centre for Environment and Trade Research (which prepared the survey); Bill Long, vice president, Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing; and Andrew Van Der Laan, director, senior project manager, publishing operations projects group, Random House Inc.
“A large and diverse group of companies sponsored this report and helped guide its scope. This shows a real willingness to grasp the complexity of the issues and improve business practices,” said Healy, noting that invitations to participate in the survey were sent out in August 2007 to more than 1,000 stakeholders from all segments of book production.
Miller addressed key findings from the survey, including data showing that the U.S. book industry consumes 1.6 million tons of paper per year—or greater than 1,000 of New York City’s Central Parks, Miller noted. “That figure is 50- percent greater than we thought,” he said.
The survey also found that the industry, through all steps of publishing, production and retail activities, emits more than 12.4 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, or approximately 8.85 pounds of carbon for the average book, with most of the impact connected to forest carbon loss.