Big News on the “Green” Front
Environmental advocacy groups were likely breaking out the champagne as Random House Inc. (www.RandomHouse.com)—the world’s largest English-language trade book publisher and the U.S. division of Random House, the largest trade book publisher in the world—announced its plans for a tenfold increase in its use of recycled paper. The company says that within four years a minimum of 30 percent of the uncoated paper it uses to print the majority of its U.S. titles will be derived from recycled fibers (as opposed to its current 3 percent).
The announcement marks the most substantial environmental initiative in the company’s history, and considering the fact that Random House Inc.—whose imprints and divisions in the U.S. include Bantam Dell, Crown, Doubleday Broadway, Knopf, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Random House Children’s Books, among others—purchases approximately 120,000 tons of paper for book production a year, it will have a significant impact on the environment.
Many in the industry are applauding the company’s move, not only for its obvious environmental benefits, but for the fact that the company—which publishes many of today’s most popular titles, such as “The DaVinci Code,” “The Year of Magical Thinking” and “The Husband”—was not deterred from improving its environmental impact by some pretty substantial costs.
According to Peter Olson, chairman and CEO of Random House worldwide, the paper initiative will be a multimillion-dollar investment.
Jeff Rechtzigel, the company’s vice president of supply chain operations, explains, “As we achieve our recycling goals, we will see an increase in our paper costs. This increase will vary by paper grade and by mill because adding recycled content often adds steps to the paper-making process, such as acquiring and de-inking post-consumer waste,” he says. “Based on the mix of papers that we use and conversations with our mill partners, we estimate this to be a multimillion-dollar investment. Over time, we expect increasing book industrywide commitments to papers with recycled content will help fuel the evolution of mills, processes, and technologies that are most efficient at incorporating recycled fiber, which will limit the difference in cost.” ―