Results of the Industry’s First-Ever Environmental Survey Released
The survey results were not all sobering, however. According to the report, the book industry’s use of recycled fiber has increased six-fold in the past few years, from 2.5 percent in 2004 to 13.3 percent in 2007. In addition, many companies in the industry are developing environmental policies and setting goals to increase their use of recycled and certified paper, improve impacts on forests, reduce energy consumption and lessen their overall carbon footprint. Fifty-nine percent of study respondents indicated that they have or intend to have an environmental policy in place.
“The report shows trends moving in the right direction and also presents the data and the motivation for continued improvement,” said Miller.
Maple-Vail’s Long spoke of an increased demand for recycled stocks in the past five years, and said Maple-Vail expects a 55-percent increase in recycled paper usage this year compared to 2005. He attributed the increase to a higher awareness of the environmental movement in recent years; GPI’s efforts within the book industry to raise awareness of the ecological benefits of using recycled stock; and mills expanding offerings at lower prices due to increased demand. In 2007, Maple-Vail offered 12 recycled grades and 38 total sizes compared to 8 grades and 29 sizes in 2005.
Van Der Laan of Random House— which, in May 2006, announced a major environmental initiative to increase its use of recycled paper tenfold by 2010—spoke on the implications of the survey results for publishers. He stressed that publishers sit at a crucial point in the supply chain, as they select the paper, contract with a printer, produce the final product and own the marketplace brand. Therefore, publishers must continue to drive environmental improvement, Van Der Laan urged. “The consumer lens is focused on the publisher, and the burden of responsibility lies on the publisher,” he said.