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The knowledge bank

What the industry is doing so far

Everyone in the creative sector is focused on sustainability and the book sector is no different. Here are some of the industry’s policies and initiatives.


Creative Sector  

Creative Carbon Scotland
Creative Carbon Scotland works with Scotland’s cultural sector to mitigate carbon emissions. It has a number of tools and resources to help you measure, monitor, and reduce your carbon emissions.   

Creative Scotland
To coincide with Earth Day, 22 April 2022, Creative Scotland published its bold new Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan. See the Creative Scotland website for the Press Release of 22 April 2022 and the Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan (which will be implemented from April 2022). Environment is one of the four connecting themes resonating in Creative Scotland’s own work and the work that it supports. For background, plans and activity, see the Environment page on the Creative Scotland website. 

Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre
The Creative Industries and the Climate Emergency report published on 19 October 2022 identifies key successes but also highlights the barriers to progress for each sub-sector (including publishing) and where further action is needed.

Shared Initiatives for Training (SHIFT)
The project SHIFT provides guidance for cultural leaders, working together and creating paths to face global challenges including environmental sustainability. For resources for cultural networks and platforms, see the SHIFT CULTURE website.

Sustainability Industry Forum (SIF)
SIF was launched in June 2022 by six book trade organisations (agents, authors, booksellers, publishers and supply chain standards) with the aim of collaborating to reduce environmental impacts. (The Bookseller 23 June 2022)


Publishers Organisations 

Book Chain Project
This is a collaborative project to build better supply chains for books run by Carnstone, involving 26 leading book and journal publishers, over 400 print suppliers, and more than 300 paper manufacturers. Members include: Egmont, Imago, Walker, Usborne, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pearson, Penguin Random House, RELX Group, and Sage. Yearly costs range from £4,180+VAT to £15,675+VAT depending on the services used. 


Independent Publishers Group  (IPG)
The IPG set up a Sustainability Action Group in 2019. Its most significant project so far is its
Book Journeys Project and action plan. 


International Publishers Association (IPA) and Federation of European Publishers (FEP)
On 4 October 2022, the Publishing 2030 Accelerator Manifesto was launched by a group of publishing industry operators with the support of IPA and FEP. See the IPA website.

Richard Charkin, a signatory to the Manifesto, has offered a Climate-Crisis Response Checklist for Publishers. See the Publishing Perspectives website (5 October 2022).


Publishers Association (PA)
On 23 September The Publishers Association launched a carbon calculator for PA members that is bespoke to the UK book and journal publishing industry. See the PA website.

The PA  Sustainability Taskforce was established in February 2020 to provide input into an industrywide sustainability strategy. The taskforce is chaired by Helen Griggs (Director of Procurement at Cambridge University Press).  See also the Publishing Declares sustainability pledge launched on 15 October 2021. 


Professional Publishers Association (PPA)
The PPA has signed a voluntary Responsibility Deal with the Government that commits the industry to undertake a raft of initiatives over a five-year period, with the aim of mitigating the environmental impact of UK magazine media. See the PPA’s Statement on Sustainability. 


Their size means that global publishers have a huge impact and they have taken the lead in addressing this. They also have an impact on the whole supply chain which affects other publishers. Many of them share their knowledge and practices through conferences and talks. Their environmental policies give an idea of what they are doing. Here’s a selection (including HarperCollins and Hachette who have locations in Scotland):  


Cambridge University Press . CUP was the first winner of IPG sustainability award  


Hachette UK 

HarperCollins UK.  HarperCollins’ Glasgow offices and distribution centre are a Zero to Landfill site, with all general waste incinerated and converted into energy. And its Glasgow Supply Chain is ISO 14001 registered – the international standard for environmental management. 

Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet was also shortlisted for the IPG Sustainability Award 2021. 


Nosy Crow . Nosy Crow was also shortlisted for the IPG Sustainability Award 2021. 

Oxford University Press  

Penguin Random House UK. Read too about PRH’s office move and refurbishment decisions and how sustainability was  considered from the start. 

Simon & Schuster UK 


Distributor and Wholesalers

BookSourceis Publishing Scotland’s distribution service. It is working closely with Publishing Scotland and others on sustainability in the industry. 



For distribution by HarperCollins, Grantham Book Services (PRH) and Hachette UK, see PUBLISHERS above.  



Because of the obvious impact printing has on the environment, printers are at the forefront of change with everything from the type of paper used to how they deal with waste and how they pack books for delivery. Here are what some of the printers who print books for our publishers say:  



Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland (BA)

BA launched its Green Bookselling Task Force in 2018. The Task Force produced a Green Bookselling Manifesto with recommendations for its members to implement.

On 23 September 2022, BA launched a £100k Sustainability Grant Fund. BA members can apply for a Sustainability Grant for between £250 and £1000 for a project to improve the sustainability of their business. The BA also provided a Carbon Calculator to help bookshops measure their carbon footprint to track change over time, refreshed its Sustainable Bookselling Manifesto, and committed to making a number of changes within the Association, while giving members the opportunity to take the Sustainable Bookselling Pledge. See the BA website.