The ‘Green’ TEAM
“We’re proud that our initiative set a benchmark for our industry. For us, this is not a competition, but a collaboration with our fellow publishers, paper mills and printers,” says Andrew Van der Laan, director and senior project manager of the publishing operations projects group at Random House. “It’s gratifying to see more environmental policies come forward from our fellow publishing companies.”
Van der Laan reports the plan is on track, with Random House exceeding its full-year 2007 goal of 10-percent recycled fiber by last October.
Beyond its environmental paper policy, Random House has, like Scholastic, embraced a number of other practices designed to reduce impacts throughout the company. A “green” committee, chaired by CEO Peter Olsen, identifies environmental initiatives across company divisions, and
s regarding its “green” initiatives.
“We have found that our initiative has had a strong impact, especially within the trade,” says Joe D’Onofrio, senior vice president of supply chain operations. “Over the last year, many of our accounts have made inquiries about our environmental policies, and we are increasingly being queried about them by our authors. We have publicized our initiative in both consumer and trade press, and also have posted it permanently on our Web site.”
Recognition of consumer and author interest has led to proposals for a “green” trademark that can be affixed to book labels. “We [GPI] are going to be creating a book industry Environment Council, which will oversee the development of a logo readily identifiable for customers to see,” Miller reports.
Challenges and Complexities
Of course, if going “green” were a win-win on every front, publishers across the board would be striving to match the goals of a company like Scholastic. Difficulties range from cost considerations to the realities of current supply chain capabilities and on-the-ground climate impacts.
“Paper is a commodity, and, like any commodity, will always be subject to market forces,” notes D’Onofrio. “At present, book-quality papers made with recycled fiber are still not routinely available. The number of mills that can produce such papers from recycled fiber needs to increase, and we are also seeing much recycled fiber exported overseas.”