Report Shows Continued Environmental Improvement in U.S. Book Industry
A new report by the Book Industry Environmental Council (BIEC) and Green Press Initiative indicates that the U.S. book industry has continued to make progress towards reducing the environmental impacts of books including impacts on forests and climate change. Among the most notable findings was that paper producers who supply book papers reported using an average of 24% recycled fiber, almost a fivefold increase from 2004 when they were believed to be using around 5% recycled fiber.
The report, which is available online at www.bookcouncil.org and www.greenpressinitiative.org is based on surveys issued to U.S. publishers as well as the printers and paper manufacturers in North America who supply them. Surveys of paper manufacturers also indicate that about 16% of book papers produced are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and an additional 40% of book papers are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
The report also finds that 82% book publishers surveyed now have environmental policies compared 59% in 2006. While there has been substantial growth in the number of publishers with environmental policies, only 52% of publishers’ policies include specific targets for increasing the use of recycled fiber, about the same percentage as in 2006 when 54% of publisher policies contained specific recycled fiber targets.
Todd Pollak, Program Manager at Green Press Initiative which coordinates the BIEC says “the data indicate continued focus on environmental initiatives within the book industry and continued improvement across a wide range of environmental metrics. Despite these positive trends there is more work that needs to be done to ensure that books are not impacting some of the Earth’s most critical ecosystems.”
The report also concludes that as a result of the increase in recycled fiber and the decrease in total paper consumption, the book industry has dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions in recent years meeting a goal established by the BIEC years ahead of the target date. The BIEC had previously established a target of reducing book industry emissions 20% below a 2006 baseline by the year 2020; however, the report estimates that climate changing emissions were reduced by at least 25% between 2006 and 2010.