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This site gathers examples of initiatives from publishers and their associations around the world who are playing their part in achieving  the Sustainable Development Goals. 
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Climate action

Book Chain Project

The Book Chain Project, since 2016 has aimed to build better supply chains for books and help publishers make informed buying decisions. The Component Chemical Screening program, for instance, enables print suppliers to submit exact chemical breakdowns of each book component that can then be screened and flagged to publishers in order to substitute any components of concern.

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Climate action

Climate Neutral Publisher Logo (klimaneutralerverlag.de)

The Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, including publishing houses Droemer Knaur, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Rowohlt, S. Fisher and Argon, announced in the beginning of March 2020 that they are labelling their new books with a new green logo on climate neutrality, referring to the klimaneutralerverlag.de (climatneutralpubliser), and committing to climate neutral production and transparency in climate communication.

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Climate action

The GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard

Different organizations and publishers have adopted the GHG protocol standard as a way of allowing them to understand, calculate, and track their carbon footprint. This standard has three phases in which organisations can commit to tracking and reporting on carbon emissions. Hachette Livre, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Otava Publishing Company and Bertelsmann have set targets for reducing their carbon emissions and switching their operations to rely on green energy.

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Responsible consumption and production

Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 – Special Edition

In 2020, due to the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s largest book fair took place in a hybrid format. Though the book fair’s traditional on-site exhibition was cancelled, an extensive digital programme for publishing professionals was available, as well as exciting online events for international readers. Thus people could still experience the international exchange the book fair normally provides, even with the challenges posed by the pandemic.

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Responsible consumption and production

Special Online Virtual Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2020

Due to the travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19 pandemic, the 57th Bologna Children’s Book Fair became a special online virtual event attended by 60,000 visitors (75 percent of non-Italians) with over 400,000 pageviews. The online platform also enabled business to continue with 500 publishers registered on the Global Rights Exchange platform. The success of this virtual event means that the implemented platforms will now become one of the fair’s permanent assets.

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Klima og Litteratur Festival

Klima og Litteratur (Climate and Literature), a literary climate festival, held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2019 ensured all visiting authors came by bus or train and no programs or posters were printed for the event with promotion done through social media. Th

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Responsible consumption and production

The Incredible Book Machine

The Incredible Book Machine is a book bus which travels around different Brazilian provinces, allowing readers to interchange books they’ve already read for new ones at the press of a button. The goal of The Incredible Book machine is to stimulate reading and the reuse of books in both adults and children, and is a collaboration between Infinito Cultural and the Brazilian Book Chamber. The project is linked to several SDGs, including education, poverty and literary.

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Responsible consumption and production

Écogeste Lycées 2019

In Autumn 2019, 4000 high schools across metropolitan France participated in a mass recycling operation. As part of the French Baccalaureate reform, shcools had to renew textbooks for two school leves. As a result of this eco-friendly initiative, textbooks that had been removed from the curriculum were sorted and transformed into raw materials by Veolia (a global firm specializing in resource management and circular economy) and ultimately transformed into recycled paper.

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure

French Publishers Associaion Survey on the Environment and Manufacturing

In 2018, as evidence of their commitment to the SDGs, the French Publishers Association presented a Survey on the Environment and Manufacturing (covering the time between 2015-2018). The report concluded that French publishers have gradually adopted more eco-responsible policies throughout their supply chain – such as an increase in the purchase or use of certified or recycled paper for textbooks, for instance.

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Sustainable cities and communities

Restoration of the McMillan Memorial Library and its branches, Kaloleni and Makaadara, in Nairobi

Book Bunk, an independent organization based in Nairobi, is working on restoring the McMillian Memorial Library and two of its branches, the Kaloleni and Makadara libraries. The founders were inspired to restore the library because they believe that public libraries are a cornerstone of so much, including fostering civic space and participation. The project injects a considered and inclusive programme of events into public centres of culture and knowledge.

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Sustainable cities and communities

The Springer Nature Grand Challenges Programme (GCP)

In 2017, academic publisher Springer Nature launched their Grand Challenges programme (GCP) aiming to help develop solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time with sustainable cities as one of their target challenges.
An example of this research includes a study that looked at 185 Chinese cities of different sizes over a period of seven years. It concluded that a reduction of air and water pollution had the effect of increasing direct foreign investment inflows.

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Partnerships for the goals

Accessible Books Consortium (ABC)

In June 2014, the Accessible Books Consortium was launched in order to boost the number of books in accessible formats for people around the globe who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. The ABC also encourages publishers to commit to accessible publishing, adopt accessibility features within their publishing processes, and include descriptions of the accessibility features of their products in the information they provide to others in the book supply chain.

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Reduced inequalities

The Diversity Baseline Survey

In 2015, Lee and Low Books released a survey on diversity conduced in 2015. The survey aimed to establish concrete statistics regarding diversity in the publishing workforce, and ask the question: if the people who work in publishing are not a diverse group, how can diverse voices be represented in books? It concluded that the workforce in North America was overwhelmingly white and straight. When the survey was repeated in 2019, the numbers reflected essentially the same demographic statistics.

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Reduced inequalities

2018 Canadian Book Publishing Diversity Baseline Survey

The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) released the results of its 2018 survey measuring diversity in the English-language Canadian book publishing industry – the first survey of its kind in the country. Key findings of the survey were that people with indigenous and non-white backgrounds are underrepresented in the industry, with 82 percent of the respondents having identified as white. The survey also included data on age, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

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Reduced inequalities

UK Publishing Industry Diversity & Inclusion Workforce Survey

In 2017, the UK PA launched an industry-wide 10-point action plan to ensure that publishing reflects the UK population. As part of this plan, the PA committed to do an annual survey of the workforce demographics of UK publishing houses, the first of which took place in 2019. The survey gathered information on diversity, inclusion, and workforce demographics – such as gender balance, women in leadership roles, disabilities/impairments, mental health, education level, sexual orientation, and more.

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Boîte à lire (Box to Read)

RecycLivre has launched the collaborative project Box to Read, which features an online map with the location of more than 4000 free boxes of books. In February and March 2020, they collaborated with the clothing brand Des Petits Hauts to set up book boxes in all their shops for customers to deliver or take books for free.

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Decent work and economic growth

The Spare Room Project

The Spare Room project was established in 2016, and aims to help lower the financial and housing barriers that prevent young people from entering the British publishing industry. It works to match interns from outside London with publishers who have a room to spare, thus providing them access to opportunities. This makes it possible to recruit new people who may not have the economic resources to pay for expensive London accomodation.

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Decent work and economic growth

Egmont Social Compliance Programme

In 2005, Egmont, a Danish publisher, implemented the Egmont Social Compliance Programme to ensure that all suppliers respect human rights and safeguard the salary conditions and safety of their workers. The programme includes, for instance, the mapping of manufacturers; their health and safety assessments, social audits, and their compliance to the Egmont code of conduct. The resulting information, along with a report of their CO2 emissions has been compiled into a report.

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Affordable and clean energy

RE100

RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, aims to accelerate a global shift to clean energy and zero carbon grids. The project encourages companies to make a commitment to go ‘100 percent renewable’. Within the publishing industry, this includes RELX and Pearson, the world’s largest education company.

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Clean water and sanitation

IWA Publishing

The International Water Association (IWA) has its own publishing programme, IWA Publishing, that works to further knowledge on water resources. Their programme includes 15 peer reviewed journals and 800 books.

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