Hachette Book Group has been one of the most steadfast publishers in reporting its annual progress on meeting its environmental goals—and late last week, the company reported it had made steady, if small, gains towards its targets.
During 2017, HBG reduced its carbon footprint by 2%, slightly below its annual reduction goal of 2.5% for the 2017 to 2020 period. The company noted that expansion at the publisher—which included the integration of Perseus, the growth in title output, and the growrth in number of employees and office locations—had played a role in the slight miss of the 2.5% carbon reduction goal.
On the other hand, in 2017, all of the publisher’s paper came from certified sources. The company achieved that goal by upping its FSC (Forest Stewardship Certified) fiber usage to 97.4%, a 3.7% improvement over prior year. Combined with the use of SFI paper (Sustainable Forestry Initiative), HBG exceeded its combined FSC/SFI goal of 95%.
Challenges with sourcing of recycled fiber, including scarcity, low quality, and high cost, resulted in just a small increase in the use of recycled paper for the company in 2017 over 2016. Last year, recycled fiber comprised 9.6% of HBG’s overall paper usage, as the company continues to target making recycled fiber 20% of its overall paper usage.
HBG began fiber testing in the second half of 2016 to help ensure that it avoids using any controversial sources of paper. To date, its fiber sourcing program has not found any materials sourced from at-risk areas or tropical hardwood forests, the company said.
HBG CEO Michael Pietsch said it was happy with the progress the publisher made in an expansion year and that the company is committed to further improving its environmental record. In a statement, Pietsch said: “The environmental goals we’ve set through 2020 focus on continued improvement in our paper, production, and energy use. I’m confident that we’ll see further progress on all fronts. Social and environmental responsibility is a high priority globally for our parent company Hachette Livre, and I’m happy to see HBG contribute in meaningful ways to progress in this area.”