How are we facing up to the climate crisis?
To honour Earth Day, this week, we’re highlighting some of our green initiatives and showcasing our brand new 2020 Sustainable Business Report. We’ve also curated some resources to help you make head and tail of the climate crisis.
Why now?There’s never been a more crucial time to acknowledge and act on the current state of our planet. Much of the content we publish discusses the environment, with our authors integrating climate science throughout both textbooks and online resources. The climate emergency is also relevant across all of our subject areas, from the biological sciences right through to economics and psychology.
With this in mind, we think it’s important that our business practice reflects the content we provide and our mission to inspire the next generation. What’s our position on this urgent crisis? What are we doing as a publisher to help tackle it? What are our goals for the future?
We’re keen that you can find out more about how we’re playing part in this global challenge. We think it’s important to show you just why you can trust our resources, from the way they’re made, to the thinking behind our business ethics. We hope it puts your mind at ease a little bit.
2020 Sustainable Business Report
The dramatic (albeit temporary) drop in global emissions during this past year may have given our planet some much-needed breathing space, but news of climate-related environmental disasters and racist attacks serve to remind us that we cannot afford to take our eye off our collective efforts to protect our planet and those that live in it.
So, over the past few months, we have taken a number of steps to re-align our activities to harness the positive power of knowledge to enable progress towards a better future for all. As part of the Springer Nature Group, we’re delighted to present the fourth annual Sustainable Business Report
The full report is available as a PDF download, but if you want to get a shorter digest, take a look at our Sustainable Business microsite to read the highlights, including:
• We're now Carbon Neutral
We’re Carbon Neutral for emissions relating to our offices, fleet and flights. Find out in the report how we achieved this, through a combination of reduced energy consumption (not to mention, dramatically fewer business flights), increased use of green energy, and high-quality offsets.
• Improving our gender balance
We are making good progress against our commitment to achieving a greater gender balance in our senior leadership, reaching 43% women in our most senior 3 tiers by the end of 2020, and will set targets on race, ethnicity and international representation in leadership next.
The report contains lots of interesting nuggets of information on how we act in line with our company values, support our communities, and strive for improvement. It includes data to help us assess the progress we’re making - fast facts on things like our carbon footprint, energy use, water and waste, as well as our DEI data, donations and some high-level numbers on open access publishing.
A Snapshot of our Green Initiatives:
In our offices
- In London, we work with OLIO, a charitable organisation that connects neighbours with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. We try to donate food and reduce food waste from our onsite catering wherever we can. When the offices closed last year due to the pandemic, our catering team used the service to donate stock ahead of its expiry date.
- Since 2019, we’ve worked with ICT Reverse, a hardware recycling company in the UK that makes sure electronic equipment we no longer need can be reused or recycled. The residual value is donated, on our behalf, to the UK’s National Literacy Trust - £3,000 in 2020!
- Roughly two-thirds of our annual publishing programme is print-on-demand, which has a number of benefits, including a reduction in waste stock, and a reduced carbon footprint. We have print-on-demand printers dotted around the world so that copies are printed as geographically close to the customer as possible.
- We have recently taken the decision to print everything on demand in the US and Australia (where print specifications allow), with a view to drastically reducing our carbon footprint by not having to ship large volumes of stock from our warehouse in the Netherlands.
- Where we print offset (i.e., a print run of a certain quantity), we rely mainly on two printers for our titles – both are based in Europe, as is our warehouse, therefore reducing our carbon footprint further still.
- The majority of our books are printed on wood-free paper, certified by the FSC, minimising our contribution to deforestation.
- A smaller but still significant point is that we actively avoid printing or checking hard copy proofs – the majority of our work in Production (not only by in-house staff but also freelancers) is done on screen, and we encourage our authors to work with PDFs too.
- For the past few years, we have initiated a project to drastically reduce our plastic consumption by putting an end to shrink-wrapping our books.
What lies ahead?
Encouraging behaviour change
We are committed to raising awareness about climate change impacts and mitigation within our team. We have a Green Office Network of employees and consistently identify tools and techniques to make our offices greener, such as lighting sensors, temperature controls and clear waste labelling.
The Climate Pledge
In 2021, we became a signatory to The Climate Pledge, a multistakeholder initiative calling on businesses to be net-zero carbon by 2040 and requiring annual reporting of carbon emissions.
We’re focused on building climate knowledge through learning, not just through the sciences but cross-subject. For example, The Global Business Environment offers an introduction to the global business environment with a focus on sustainability issues that challenge businesses today.