In a brief update on how it is meeting its environmental objectives, Hachette Book Group reported that 99% of its overall paper usage once again came from FSC (Forest Stewardship Certified) fiber in 2023. Also during the year, 100% of its overall paper usage came from FSC combined with SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) fiber.

The publisher had less success on the recycled fiber front, however. Recycled fiber represented 5.2% of HBG’s fiber usage last year, down from 8.6% in 2022. As has been the case in recent years, HBG said that the primary cause for the decrease “is the significant decline of recycled paper availability in 2023.” The report added that HBG remains “committed to purchasing recycled papers when they are available as needed and to pushing our suppliers to integrate recycled fiber into more paper products.”

The update follows last year’s announcement by HBG parent company, Hachette Livre, of a new carbon reduction program whose goal is to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030. HBG, like all Hachette Livre businesses, is taking part in the effort, and will use the same methodology and software tools as other divisions to measure progress and ensure that reporting protocols are clear and consistent. Full year 2023 metrics will be finalized in early 2024 and compared to Hachette’s 2019 pre-pandemic benchmark. Over the past 12 years, Hachette Livre has decreased its emissions by 20%.

In looking to cut emissions, Hachette is focusing on two buckets: vehicles and buildings, fossil fuel consumption, and electricity, which account for 3% of Hachette Livre’s total emissions; and paper manufacturing, printing and binding, upstream and downstream transportation, and end of life of products sold, which accounts for 97% of emissions.

Among the targets Hachette has set are:

  • an overall 30% reduction in the number of books shredded in 2030 vs 2019
  • a 26% reduction in the carbon intensity of paper production in 2030 vs 2019
  • a 18% reduction in carbon intensity of printing and binding from 2019 to 2030 (with most initiatives beginning in 2025)
  • annual reduction of 1% for freight that flows into Hachette facilities and a 1.5% reduction for freight shipped from Hachette