New Industry Forum sets out next steps towards greater sustainability

Britain’s leading trade associations for publishing and bookselling have agreed plans to reduce environmental impacts via a new Sustainability Industry Forum (SIF).

The Forum brings together six key organisations: the Association of Authors’ Agents, Booksellers Association, Book Industry Communications, Independent Publishers Guild, Publishers Association and Society of Authors. The associations will collaborate on projects to take practical steps to make the industry more sustainable, share best practice, reduce duplication of efforts and improve transparency and accountability. It is the first time such a forum has been convened across all associations and highlights the seriousness with which the industry is taking the climate challenge.

The Forum will be led by a central steering committee, formed of two representatives from each of the six bodies with a revolving chair from each, and will meet quarterly.

At its first meeting in mid-May, The SIF agreed its purpose, remit and targets. It will use the pledges of Publishing Declares as its overarching remit, and its practical plans include the creation of four working groups:

  • The supply chain, including transportation and use of plastics
  • End-of-life treatment of books, including returns and disposal
  • Paper and printing
  • Book finishes and raw materials.

The groups will build on previous sustainability research, including the IPG’s award-winning Book Journeys Project, which has measured the carbon footprint of various publishing formats and models, and is now collecting data on the end-of-life handling of books. The Forum will provide regular updates on its progress and engage with other businesses and industry organisations as appropriate.

Amanda Ridout, chair of the Independent Publishers Guild and chair of the Sustainability Industry Forum’s first meeting, said: “All our industry associations are individually sponsoring projects and activities to tackle the sustainability issue. This forum is an opportunity to ensure that there is no duplication of effort, that data and solutions are shared and that everyone is kept informed of progress. It is an important step forward to join up our efforts to tackle this huge challenge facing us all.”

Association contacts: AAA: Claire Wilson, [email protected] BA: Meryl Halls, [email protected] BIC: Karina Urquhart, [email protected] IPG: Bridget Shine, [email protected] PA: Stephen Lotinga, [email protected] SoA: Nicola Solomon, [email protected]