US Book Industry Report Summary

Last March the  The Green Press Initiative (GPI) and The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) produced a 86 page report called ‘Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry. (order it here) Their summary by can be found as a .pdf here.

Eco Libris also produced a great summary of the report with a few key findings:

  • What’s responsible for the biggest part of the book industry’s carbon footprint? First –  forest and forest harvest impacts: 62.7%;  Second – paper production at the mills: 22.4% share. Conclusion – the paper consumed for the production of books is main responsible for the industry’s carbon footprint (12.4 million metric tons or 8.85 lbs. of carbon dioxide per a book, 2006 stats)
  • The sources of paper and Endangered Forests: the sources of paper come from all over the world; several places are endangered forests with too little being done to protect these natural resources from the exploitation of industries and result in tree farms with little biodiversity, fundamental changes and losses in natural systems, severe impact on species, etc.
  • Some increase in the use of post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled paper: About 5% of recycled paper is used in books, with some companies reporting they use much higher percentage now, some up to 13% recycled paper. (data from 2006)
  • More policies, but not enough quantitative targets: 60% report they have developed environmental policies but these policies lack much in the way of quantitative targets.
  • Certified paper use: There is an increase in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper for books but not true data yet available.

Eco Libris also notes some important missing information that could have been useful in the report:

  • there is no mention of e-book industry
  • what about a comparison to European book industry
  • what are the main reasons that stop publishers and other companies to go green

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