Following the February 17 announcement by Penguin Random House parent company Bertelsmann that the conglomerate will be carbon neutral by 2030, PRH global CEO Markus Dohle sent a letter to employees outlining the publisher’s role in helping Bertelsmann achieve that target.
In 2016, PRH announced its 2020 Social Responsibility Commitments, which laid out its objective to publish its books responsibly and minimize its environmental impact. As part of that document, PRH set two sustainability goals for 2020: source 100% of the paper it uses from certified mills and cut its carbon emissions by 10%.
According to Dohle’s letter, at the end of 2019, 98% of its paper purchased was from mills certified by either the Sustainable Forestry Initiative or the Forest Stewardship Council. By the end of 2020, Dohle wrote, “we are fully on track" to reach the publisher's goal of sourcing 100% of its paper from certified mills.
PRH has also made substantial strides in reducing its carbon emissions. It has already succeeded in cutting those emissions by more than 10% by making improvements to the company’s infrastructure and energy-saving capacity, Dohle wrote, adding that PRH is “well on our way to further total reductions of 20% by 2025.”
Dohle said that PRH is actually “aiming to have fully transitioned to green energy” by 2022, not just 2025. Many of PRH’s facilities and distribution centers already use energy-saving technologies in addition to sourcing renewable energy to supply their power, Dohle said. The company will continue to improve its own operational processes and efficiencies and work to reduce CO2 emissions across the supply chain.
PRH’s long-range strategy for achieving climate neutrality is three-pronged, Dohle wrote: avoid unnecessary or excess emissions; reduce emissions where possible; offset unavoidable emissions. Dohle said that with the work the company has already done, it is “well positioned to achieve our goal across our local operations worldwide.” He noted that PRH is Bertelsmann’s most international company, meaning that efforts to reduce its carbon output must be locally driven to accommodate its footprint in different countries.