Hachette Book Group has released its annual environmental progress report, which found that the publisher made improvement in three key areas in 2019.

The publisher’s carbon footprint fell 3% in 2019 compared to 2018, due to decreases in business travel, mailings, office paper, and improvements in electricity usage in its Boulder office, HBG said. The company had set an annual carbon footprint reduction goal of 2.5% for the 2017-2020 period.

In addition, all of HBG’s paper usage in 2019 came from either Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) fiber, the company reported. Its goal had been to have 95% of its paper use come from certified paper sources in 2019.

The difficulty in sourcing recycled paper continued to hinder HBG’s efforts to have 20% of its paper use come from recycled fiber. In 2019, recycled fiber made up 9.3% of its total paper usage, a 1.5% increase over 2018. HBG said it remains “committed to sourcing recycled papers when they are available in the market and to push our suppliers to integrate recycled fiber into more paper products.”

During 2019 HBG also continued its policy, begun in 2016, of testing fiber to ensure that no fiber was from at risk areas or tropical hardwood forests. Its sample found no fiber coming from the areas in question. In 2019, HBG reported, it did more aggressive fiber testing, and “enforced strict rules on new papers outside of the PREPS (Publisher’s Database for Responsible Environmental Paper Sourcing) rated papers.”

In addition to continuing its fiber testing program, HBG pledged to continue to oversee its supply chain “to ensure that we avoid using any controversial sources of paper fiber and require our paper to be free of unacceptable sources.”

In commenting on the environmental report, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch said he was pleased with the progress made in 2019, and said the company will keep seeking new ways to become a greener company: “HBG’s new goals for 2021-2023 will keep us focused on continued improvements in paper sourcing, production, and energy use. Social and environmental responsibility is a core value for our parent company, Hachette Livre, and I’m proud to see our momentum in the U.S. contributing to their progress globally.”

HBG is expected to announce its new environmental goals later in the first quarter, at which time it will also issue its finding on its 2020 progress.