Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kudos to Wiley for their first annual corporate citizens report, but where are the figures?

Publisher John Wiley & Sons released last week its first annual Corporate Citizenship Report to share the progress of its global Corporate Citizenship initiative, which was introduced in 2008, and establish goals for the coming year.

As their press release mentions, Wiley launched this global initiative to address its key social, economic, ethical, and environmental challenges; formalize and globalize its policies and strategies; improve its communications; and become more proactive addressing its carbon footprint and supply chain matters.

This is a very impressive initiative and the report itself is also an achievement in itself, as such report is very rare in the publishing industry. So first and foremost I think Wiley deserves big kudos for their efforts to become more sustainable and for this report. Nevertheless, one thing was missing in this report: figures.

Here's one example: paper. The report is very clear about it:

"Wiley uses paper sourced from mills around the globe and recognizes our responsibility to select papers that meet the highest standards of sustainable, clean, and efficient production.

In 2008-2009, Wiley established global guidelines for environmentally favorable paper sourcing and procurement strategies based on generally accepted best practices, with guidance from stakeholders, industry trade associations, and third-party certifiers. Moving forward, Wiley will adopt locally tailored programs that apply these global principles, guide decision making, and facilitate external communication."

What was achieved in 2009? The report explains that Wiley did the following:

- Formalized global Responsible Paper Sourcing guidelines.

- Reduced paper consumption by adopting lighter weight papers and reducing waste, migrating more print subscriptions to online license deals, and taking advantage of digital technologies to deliver content online as well as more efficiently in print.

What are the goals for 2010? The report gives the details :

- Support paper choices by leveraging resources such as PREPS (Publishers Database for Responsible Environmental Paper Sourcing) and EPAT (Environmental Paper Assessment Tools).

- Reduce paper use and shipping through new print technologies such as Print On Demand and Ultra Short Run.

As you can see Wiley takes the issue of paper very seriously, but were are the numbers? when Wiley says it reduced paper consumption in 2009 - is it a 10% reduction, 25% reduction or maybe 2% reduction? I mean, there's no real way to value these steps when they're put in such a vague way.

And it's not just the part about paper. I also couldn't find on the other parts of the report figures describing either a 2009 achievement or a 2010 goal, except with ethical conduct goals (such as monitoring vendor performance by making annual visits to at least 75% of our major vendors).

Wiley mentions in the report that "This is a long-term initiative, with the full support of our leadership team. It may take years to reach some of our ultimate goals, but we intend to achieve measurable improvement from year to year. For information on our initiative and our progress, please visit" I was hoping that maybe the missing figures can be found there, but unfortunately I found none.

Just for comparison let's look at another company from the publishing industry, although this time it's mainly magazines - Time Inc. If you look at their 2007-2008 sustainability report you'll see it's full with figures that let you a good understanding of their efforts and can also assist you to benchmark them against other companies' sustainability efforts. Here's just one example:

After considering what would be both ambitious and practical, Time became the first U.S. publisher to set targets for producing less greenhouse gas throughout its supply chains. Time asked the paper companies to reduce carbon emissions 20% from a 2004 base by the year 2012. Some suppliers pointed out that they had already achieved some reductions before 2004 and felt they deserved credit for their leadership role. To accommodate these suppliers, Time set some alternative but equally challenging goals. Keeping the same target year of 2012, the paper companies have the options of cutting carbon output by 25% from a 2000 base or 30% from a 1996 base.

As I said earlier I still believe Wiley deserves kudos for their efforts and I hope the second report will include all the figures that are so missing here. Nevertheless, I think that this report could do a much better job with figures to help us seeing Wiley's deep commitment to sustainability.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green reading!

Two more days for our giveaway of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Renewable Energy for Your Home"

You have two more days to take part in our giveaway of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Renewable Energy for Your Home".

We reviewed this interesting book last Tuesday and we're giving away our review copy, courtesy of the book's publicist. One tree will also be planted for the copy!

How you can win? just add a comment to the book review post or to this post with an answer the following question: What renewable energy system you would like to have at home? Submissions are accepted until Tuesday, August 25, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green reading!