Environmental trends and climate impacts in the US book industry
This study of the U.S. book industry is the first of its kind; it seeks to help the industry understand its environmental impacts, assess possible areas for improvement, and make specific recommendations about improving its ecological footprint. The Book Industry Study Group and Green Press Initiative invited their respective constituents involved in all segments of book production to take part in the 2007 Environmental Benchmarking Survey. Invitations to participate were sent to over 1,000 stakeholders including book publishers, retailers, distribution companies, and paper mills. The response rate included 13 printers representing 24.6% of market share as measured by revenue; six paper mills representing 17% of market share as measured by the quantity of paper produced; and 76 publishers representing more than 45% of market share by revenue. The study tracks a wide variety of environmental indicators, including energy use by all participants of the book industry in all segments, environmental policy development, transportation of books, resource consumption, the certification and conservation of forests, and the production, disposal, and recycling of paper.
The Industry’s Climate Impact
A carbon footprint assessment found that the entire book industry, through all steps of production, retail, and publishing activities, emits a net 8.85 pounds per book or 12.4 million metric tons of carIntroduction: Summary and Highlights bon emitted for the entire U.S. book industry each year. The majority of the climate impacts are connected to loss of carbon storage capacity from a heavy reliance on wood fiber for paper and from the energy requirements for producing paper. The decomposition of books in landfills, book distribution, and energy consumption at the retail level were the next largest carbon impact areas, as described in Table I. The carbon footprint model used to calculate the book industry’s climate impacts is comprehensive and grounded in science. However, it accounts for forest carbon loss due to harvest, a factor that many existing models have yet to attempt. This issue and the many complex layers connected to it are explored in-depth later in the report in the section. The Climate Impact of the Book Industry and Its Carbon Footprint, starting on page 23