Corner Office: Hachette Book Group Goes 'Green'
In today's evermore environmentally conscious society, many publishers have implemented "green" practices. Over the past two years, major publishing houses, such as Random House, Simon & Schuster and Scholastic, have joined a number of independent, smaller and midsize publishers in launching formal environmental sustainability policies, reflecting the priority increasingly being placed on being "green" by readers, retail partners and employees.
Most recently (in late 2009), New York-based U.S. trade publisher Hachette Book Group announced a comprehensive environmental policy that provides for a tenfold increase in recycled-fiber usage by 2012, a 20-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, sourcing paper certified from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), ending the use of paper that may impact endangered forests and more.
"We're very pleased to establish Hachette Book Group's new 'green' policy, which demonstrates our commitment to the environment, to the responsible use of natural resources and to sustainable business practice," said CEO David Young in the company's announcement of the new policy. "It is imperative that our industry be mindful of our impact on the planet, and we believe that our progressive policy will encourage other publishers to be equally focused on these important issues."
Hachette's goals include reducing climate impacts, increasing recycled and certified fiber usage, protecting endangered forests, maximizing efficient use of resources, reducing the number of books in landfills, and "greening" the workplace—which it projects will eliminate 86,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Book Business caught up with Peter Datos, Hachette Book Group's vice president of inventory and procurement, and head of its environmental board, to discuss how this new policy affects Hachette's production costs, internal and external policies, and the importance of going "green."
• How does this new policy affect production costs for Hachette? Will it be more expensive to go "green"?
Peter Datos: It depends on the initiative. Increasing our use of recycled and FSC-certified paper may cost more, but many other initiatives like optimizing basis weights and improving projections of consumer demand will likely save money.
• How does it affect internal policies and goals for the use of postconsumer-waste (PCW) recycled content paper?
Datos: We have several internal paper initiatives already underway, but they are more focused on reducing paper usage: piloting paperless editorial and composition processes, manuscript distribution via e-readers, managed print services, and digital galleys for media and booksellers.