Will Your Sustainability Efforts Stack Up?
According to Pearson's annual report: "Pearson does not directly operate in industries where there is a potential for serious industrial pollution. … While most of our products are based on intellectual property, we recognize that our day-to-day operations have an effect on the world around us and that we have a responsibility to manage and measure this impact."
One way Pearson responded to these challenges was by becoming a founding signatory to the UN Global Compact (which sets worldwide sustainability standards) and by making a commitment to assess its key paper and printing suppliers against Global Compact standards. According to Allan Miller, director of Pearson's environmental programs, "Our approach will not be to cut suppliers that don't make the grade off, but rather to establish a dialogue with them and encourage them to bring their polices and business practices into alignment with the Global Compact code."
A KEY TO TOP-LINE GROWTH
For companies like Pearson PLC, Hewlett Packard, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, BP, Dow Chemical among others, addressing the challenge of sustainability means ensuring a better quality of life for everyone now and for generations to come. These companies do not see sustainability as a destination, rather they see it as a journey—a journey based on conducting business in a responsible manner that entails maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment, prudent use of natural resources, effective protection of the environment, and social progress that recognizes the rights and needs of everyone. Rather than seeing the sustainability challenge as a drain on profits, they see it as the key to top-line growth, the management of risk and the creation of value.
For many decades to come, humanity's capacity to meet the challenge of sustainability will be largely determined by the degree and manner in which books are published and used to foster literacy, systems thinking, adaptability, innovation, lifelong learning, tolerance, respect for nature, and the capacity to work and live together. Book publishers have a historic legacy of keeping the profit motive in proper perspective to their social and environmental responsibilities that many have lost sight of in recent years.