Momentum Building for Green Books
These are unhealthy and unsustainable rates of forest consumption, which prompted the Markets Initiative to motivate Canadian publishers to change their practices. Their efforts included asking publishers to support a common vision for preservation, and to implement policies consistent with that vision.
They pointed out that companies such as Home Depot, Kinkos, and Ikea have successfully implemented environmentally conscious policies, and challenged book publishers to do the same.
So far 35 Canadian publishers have signed commitments to phase out their use of papers made with endangered and ancient forest fiber, and to maximize use of post-consumer recycled paper.
As a result, in the last 24 months, 4 million books have been printed on paper that's "ancient forest friendly". This includes the most recent printing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
McClelland and Stewart, Harry Potter's Canadian publisher, was present at the New York meeting. Their representatives discussed how nearly all of their titles are now printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, with chlorine-free processing, at complete cost parity compared to virgin fiber paper.
One of the participants asked why the focus on book publishing when it represents such a small portion of the paper market? The answer is threefold:
1 Twenty-five million trees represent a significant and unnecessary depletion of natural resources to supply fiber for book paper. In many cases, post-consumer recycled paper can be just as cost-effective as virgin paper for books, yet without the negative environmental impact. As such, the effort to educate and motivate publishers is warranted.
2 A random survey of 1,800 North American readers found 80% saying they would like book publishers to implement policies that preserve endangered forests. Fully 84% of readers said they'd be willing to pay more for environmentally friendly books.