Monday, October 01, 2007

It Just Makes Sense

Hats off to Alison Kennedy at Egmont, who is pioneering the grading of rating the forest sourcing of papers against a set of environmental criteria. The article in Saturday’s Telegraph was a wake up call to many and Alison came across well and could not be accused of ‘cashing in’ and ‘greenwash’. This programme is quietly changing the core product, the book, hitting an empathy with both readers and authors and costs no more than before. A quiet revolution, that should be promoted and adopted by all.
Some may say that the ebook is the ultimate eco friendly option, but manufacturing and disposing of the technology is far from eco-friendly. Some may say print on demand is a great way to reduce the volume and save the planet. However, we only need to have a smattering of science to realise that the printing process and the type of paper used here is a problem we may not wish to talk about.

18 years ago in a previous life, I was on the B&Q executive when we appointed our and the industry’s, first environmental controller. It was a bold step at the time and he had many issues to deal with, especially the sweat shops in Asia that produced many hardware lines. But it was a great step and way ahead of the current movement. It was also not an easy route with many conflicts, but it did start to clean up a lot of sourcing of base materials and lead to promoting water based paints and sustainable forest sourcing.

The interesting question we face is whether we can reduce the waste within our industry, the book miles, all those copies that are merely produced to promote the book, or those that end up making the return journey?