The Hachette Book Group has announced a new environmental policy that will increase the publisher’s use of recycled paper, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The policy has both long-term and short-term targets. By 2012, Hachette plans to raise the use of recycled fiber from 3% to 30%, with a majority of the fiber to be postconsumer. Hachette also intends to have FSC-certified papers account for at least 20% of paper use by 2012. 2020 is the target date for Hachette to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and to reduce its carbon footprint 2% per year off of a 2008 baseline.

To help oversee its first broad-based environmental program, HBG has established an Environmental Board that consists of employees from a range of positions and departments. The board will oversee progress towards HBG’s goals, and develop annual progress reports. “We’re very pleased to establish Hachette Book Group’s new green policy, which demonstrates our commitment to the environment, to the responsible use of natural resources, and to sustainable business practice” said HBG CEO David Young. “It is imperative that our industry be mindful of our impact on the planet, and we believe that our progressive policy will encourage other publishers to be equally focused on these important issues.”

Other aspects of the environmental policy include avoiding the use of paper sourced from any ancient or endangered forests, using paper that has been bleached without the use of chlorine, and using inks with low contents of volatile organic compounds. Hachette also hopes to reduce the number of books in landfills by improving projections of consumer demand, increasing the use of on-demand printing, and working with retailers to lower returns.

Tyson Miller, director of the Green Press Initiative, praised Hachette for joining the green movement. “The U.S. book industry has been steadily improving environmental achievement over the past few years and Hachette’s leadership will no doubt add to the momentum and hopefully inspire those publishers that haven’t yet stepped up,” Miller said.

As part of HBG’s commitment to improving its environmental efforts, Peter Datos, the company’s v-p, inventory and procurement, has been appointed char of the Book Industry Environmental Council, and HBG has become the first large publisher to sign the Book Industry Treaties on Responsible Publishing.