Wednesday, December 5, 2007

UK book industry goes (a little bit) green

The Guardian reported yesterday that the UK books trade "has taken a step towards a greener future, setting a target of a 10% reduction in carbon footprint from 2006 levels by 2015."

According to the article, the 10% reduction target has been adopted by the industry's Environmental Action Group (EAG), a panel set up earlier this year by the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association, where you can find high-level figures from Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, Random House and Faber.

This is indeed very encouraging to see that leading organizations in the UK book industry are taking action and moving in the right direction.

But isn't 10% reduction too little? not to mention the fact that the reduction will be from 2006 figures. The Kyoto Protocol for example referred to 1990 figures as the basis for CO2 reduction calculations (although, there it was only 5% reduction of 1990 figures).

Not only that, but it's also only a recommendation. Tim Godfray, the chief executive of the Booksellers Association, explained that the figure is a non-binding target they are "encouraging publishers and booksellers to adopt".

Still, I think that it is better than doing nothing and it shows that the UK book publishing industry do not ignore the environmental impacts of the industry. I truly hope to see bolder steps following this one.

Andy Tait from Greenpeace also addressed this issue on the article saying "however, the target is an encouraging start, but it's not enough...Encouraging booksellers and publishers to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% is a positive gesture, but a much more serious impact would be made if the publishing industry insisted that the pulp and paper industry that supplies them cleans up its act. Energy efficiency, clean renewable energy and an end to using paper from ancient forests could transform the industry that supplies the raw materials for our books and magazines."

I join Tait in his call to the industry and would like to add to his list also the urgent need to significantly increase the use of recycled paper.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: a great green gift for the holidays!