With a legacy emanating from a traditionally paper-based industry, publishers have been a pioneering force in the move towards more sustainable businesses practices. In a recent webinar for the UK Publishers Association (PPA), leading voices on the industry gave key insights into the implementation of sustainable publishing practices.
Last week the UK Professional Publisher’s Association (PPA) delivered a webinar hosted by Amy Owens, Public Affairs Executive for the association. Titled ‘Sustainability’s Place in a Post-Lockdown World’, the online event featured a panel of speakers made up of:
- Gary Charlton, Head of Procurement, Haymarket Media Group
- Simone Broadhurst, Managing Director, Events, Incisive Media
- Patrick Riddell, Head of Facilities, Condé Nast Publications
Just a few months ago, climate change had made its way up to the top of the political agenda, and was a key theme at all events surrounding the publishing industry. With the emergence of COVID-19 and subsequent economic fallout around the world, new – though no more immediate – forms of survival began to dominate the headlines.
So with so many additional impactful issues having been added to the workload of publishers in 2020, not least their own survival, are brands in the sector still focussed on creating a more sustainable world?
Gary Charlton, Head of Procurement, Haymarket Media Group
“There remains a greater focus from consumers as to the types of companies they buy from,” says Charlton. “Publishing is no different. Environment is a big part of the conversation in publishing, and publishing has really led on this. The PPA Responsibility deal, which set environmental targets for the industry, is one example, and more generally we have seen a greater push from brands within the publishing industry to get all of their paper from sustainable sources. So it’s a much higher priority now for these businesses.”
“For Haymarket, sustainability has always been seen as a priority and is important to us as a business. From energy management accreditation, to modern HR practices, learning and development, and a move to reduce single use plastics wherever we can, sustainability is ingrained into the business. We’re really proud also to have been the first publisher in the UK to produce a modern slavery statement, so we’re proud of our forward-thinking across business practices.”
Simone Broadhurst, Managing Director, Events, Incisive Media
“We’ve been quite fortunate in that we have Business Green as key environmental brand, which has very much helped us to develop a lead on sustainability goals. We have an internal sustainability board, monthly meetings, plans, thoughts, and one key focus has obviously been on taking away plastics from delivering print for example.”
“This has also fed in significantly to the events team as well. We are really focussed on not only championing sustainability, but having it in our KPIs as well, so that we’re actually delivering on what we’re setting out as targets and plans. We’ve reduced paper at events, moved to running apps around them, and even moved to doing things like reducing the amount of red meat on our menus. It’s important also that we were really closely with our supply chains, and really challenge them over waste and so on.”
Patrick Riddell, Head of Facilities, Condé Nast Publications
“For Condé Nast, sustainability has always been very much a core of our business. 2006 saw the very first Vanity Fair green issue. In 2012, we received ISO 14 accreditation for our Spanish office. In the UK, we’ve put Greta Thunberg on the cover of Wired. And more generally, we’ve seen the conversation shift towards sustainability issues within all of our publications, which has very much been audience-led and in line with their appetite for more of these forms of content.
“The last year or so has been quite transformative. At the beginning of the year, we declared that there was a climate crisis, and made a commitment to transparency. We had a greenhouse gas emissions audit done, inclusive of our digital emissions, and identified where the weaknesses were and improvements could be made. More broadly, I think it’s important that we’re just constantly committing to accurate journalism and reporting, so not just looking inwards but looking at how we can actually be using our voice to comment on initiatives around the world.”
To learn more about sustainability and how the industry is taking action, read FIPP’s whitepaper Publishing and Climate Change, produced in partnership with UPM Communication Papers.