New York–April 13, 2021
Hachette Book Group (HBG) is dedicated to protecting the environment and to the responsible use of natural resources. We are committed to publishing this annual report on our progress toward the goals laid out in our environmental policy. Download the full report here.
Reducing Climate Impacts
We continued to optimize wherever possible to reduce our carbon footprint, with an annual reduction goal of 2.5% for the 2017–2020 period. In measuring HBG’s carbon emissions we track a range of factors that includes employee commuting and business travel, electricity for all our facilities, product transportation, and physical audiobook materials, as well as the paper we purchase for our books. Excluding paper, HBG’s carbon footprint declined 34% last year, due to large reductions in office electricity, business travel, and other pandemic-related impacts. However, the paper we procure accounts for approximately 95% of HBG’s overall carbon footprint, and we printed significantly more books in 2020 than we did in recent years. Due to this increase, the company’s carbon footprint rose 2% overall in 2020.
Increasing Certified and Recycled Fiber
In 2020, 100% of HBG’s overall paper usage came from FSC (Forest Stewardship Certified) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) fiber, for the second consecutive year. This exceeds our combined certified fiber goal of 95%.
For the 2017-2020 period we had an aggressive target for recycled fiber, aiming for recycled to represent 20% of our overall paper use. In 2020, recycled fiber was 9.2% of our overall paper usage, flat compared to 2019, and our recycled tonnage increased by 6%. We remain committed to sourcing recycled papers when they are available in the marketplace and to push our suppliers to integrate recycled fiber into more paper products.
Protecting Endangered Forests
Our goal is to diligently oversee our supply chain to ensure that we avoid using paper originating from unacceptable sources of paper fiber, such as endangered forests, and require our paper to be free of unacceptable sources as defined by FSC’s controlled wood standard. We regularly discuss paper sourcing with our suppliers and remind them of their strict adherence to HBG’s paper and environmental standards.
In addition to working with our suppliers, since 2016 HBG has done fiber testing on our books in order to verify that the fiber used in our paper does not come from at-risk areas or tropical hardwood forests. Thus far, we have not found any fiber of these kinds in our title sampling. In 2020, we continued aggressive fiber testing and enforced strict rules on new papers outside of the PREPS (Publisher’s Database for Responsible Environmental Paper Sourcing) rated papers. HBG will continue random fiber testing – to include current papers, new papers and substitutes – and will monitor results and manage our supply chain to align with our strict environmental policy.
Technology and materials
During 2020, we moved to 100% eco-friendly paper fill for shipping cartons. And early in 2021, not included in our 2020 results, we installed new Boxsizer technology in our warehouse. The Boxsizer cuts cartons to fit their contents more tightly, reducing the amount of carton fill needed, reducing our shipping volume, reducing damages, and resulting in a greener, more efficient method of shipping books.
Monitoring and Reporting
HBG’s environmental initiatives span many different areas, including paper sourcing, office recycling, energy usage, product transportation, and packaging. We are guided by our strong policy and our commitment to communicating consistently about our progress on our environmental goals.
Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch said, “In 2020, with offices closed and business travel curtailed, HBG’s carbon impact improved in several areas. However, 95% of our overall carbon footprint is attributed to the paper in our books, and as our print quantities grew significantly, we did not meet our 2020 reduction goal. We are recommitting to our environmental goals through 2021.
During 2021 we will update our carbon footprint measurement methodology to align with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, in line with the approach recently adopted by Hachette Livre. We look forward to sharing more detail about our program as we develop this new approach and expand best practices. It is my hope that everyone at HBG will join me in making environmental sustainability an even higher priority in all we do.”