The U.K.’s Booksellers Association (BA) has launched Green Bookselling: A Manifesto for the BA, Booksellers, and the Book Industry. The manifesto includes recommendations for booksellers on how to pursue environmentally friendly practices, as well as commitments such as running a green audit, holding training seminars, and further reviewing the association's processes. It calls on publishers and distributors to take up environmental commitments, among them the phasing out of single-use cardboard in favor of recyclable materials, reviewing both the delivery and returns processes, and ceasing to send out unsolicited book proofs and marketing materials to booksellers.
The manifesto is based on three principles, the BA noted: that the need for change to prevent further environmental decline is urgent and permanent; that there is much that individuals and organizations can do; and that there is much that the U.K. book supply chain can do to help. The BA is working with both the American and Australian Booksellers Associations on the project.
Meryl Halls, managing director of the BA, said: "It is vital that everybody in the book industry, from individual booksellers to publishers, and from distributors to printers, makes a concerted effort to reduce their environmental impact. Booksellers can take the lead in their communities, and in the trade—where there is already a high awareness of the challenge—and the Green Manifesto is designed as a key step in committing to doing more to be sustainable and ethical. The issue is urgent and inevitable, and so we are particularly pleased to be working with other booksellers associations on joint activity and initiatives in this area, to the benefit of all our members."
Last week, the American Booksellers Association invited booksellers to participate in a short survey on environmental sustainability. The 12-question survey seeks opinions on global climate change, eco-friendly habits, customers’ interest in the environment, and more. Results are due by July 26.
Questions about the survey can be addressed to ABA senior strategy officer Dan Cullen. Booksellers who are interested in working further with an ABA task force regarding environmental issues can also contact Cullen.
In a comment to the U.K.'s BookBrunch, Oren Teicher, CEO of the ABA, said: "The American Booksellers Association is pleased to be working with our colleagues in the UK—and around the world—on a series of green initiatives, as we recognize the critical importance of these matters and the special obligation that we in the book business have to be part of the solution. These are clearly global concerns, and we need to find new ways in which we can cooperate."
Robbie Egan, CEO of the Australian BA, said: “The Australian BA is investigating ways to help our industry respond to the need for better environmental practices, from reducing packaging waste, increased recycling, and better management of freight and returns. Our colleagues in the UK have led the way and we look to this example with the desire to emulate the initiative, and to build a cooperative approach to improving bookselling and the book industry on both a local and a global scale."
A version of this story first appeared in BookBrunch.