The Green Press Initiative kicked off the launch of their new certification program with a webinar January 10, co-hosted by PW. The webinar explained the new program and details for how to go about securing certification, and featured Green Press Initiative's program manager Todd Pollak and founder Tyson Miller, as well as Kara Davis, managing director at Lantern Books, one of the first publishers to receive "Gold" certification, given during the program's piloting.
The program, which Pollak laid out, certifies publishers "that are taking a leadership role in reducing social and environmental impacts" through monitoring of aggregate paper use and a series of benchmarks, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. There are three levels of certification, Certified, Silver Certified, and Gold Certified, each with a more rigorous requirement of environmental stewardship. Each level can be achieved through one of four options, allowing for added publisher flexibility in meeting the recycled benchmark, FSC benchmark, or Elective benchmark requirements. The program has been in development for three years, with the help of a wide range of publishers' and environmental organizations' input.
Davis described the process of going through the certification program, saying, “We wanted to be put to the task of proving we're publishing responsibly, and the Green Press Initiative's certification program helped us dot our I's and cross our T's. We know more clearly than ever where we're excelling and where we can still improve.” Lantern now has a "Gold" certification seal on their Web site and a figure on a title's product page indicating whether it is a 100% recycled paper book. Additionally, Lantern is putting the "Gold" seal in all of their books.
Miller and Pollak also talked about the advantages of achieving certification, including an increased value of products, risk avoidance, the ability of publishers to attract and keep the best talent, and the impetus for long-term strategic planning. Ideally, the certification process should take about a month. And when asked about possible challenges, Miller and Pollack acknowledged that while print on demand has some favorable environmental charactertics, it can be difficult to find a pod printer that uses certified paper. Green Press is working to find a way to get pod companies to use more environmentally-friendly paper.
For more information on the program, and to obtain an application, please visit http://www.greenpressinitiative.org/certification/.