James Cropper Wainwright Prize hosts sustainability in publishing symposium
The renowned book prize for writing on nature and conservation celebrated its shortlist announcement at Foyles in London, alongside a symposium to discuss sustainability in publishing.
The symposium was chaired by Bookbrunch MD Jo Henry, with Piers Torday, author and chair of the Society of Authors' Sustainability Working Group; Simon Graham of Zero Carbon Academy, who has created a sustainability toolkit on the IPG website; and Amber Harrison from FOLDE Dorset, a new venture that is part nature-writing bookshop, part gallery with a strong environmental message; and Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper and Environmental Entrepreneur;
Last year, Piers looked to publish a book sustainably…this led to an open letter to publishers, with Publishing Declares set-up in response. He is now working to create a universal accreditation for books so that people can see the sustainable qualities of the books they are buying. He feels that although there is a lot of work to be done, we are in a better place than we were a year ago. Publishers need to keep up with how our culture is changing, and he feels authors must keep up pressure on the big publishers.
Simon is chief knowledge officer at Zero Carbon Academy, and led on a zero carbon toolkit within the IPG skills hub which combines information with tools and equipment to help publishers reduce their carbon to zero. He feels that we need to get 'real measurements - we need to know exactly where we are', as it is a matter with a 'lot of complexity'. He feels that people need to start collecting data in order to understand what the real impact actually is, so that practical steps can be taken.
Amber said that they talk about sustainability every day in her store, where they use renewable energy, LED lighting and heating on timers, and think carefully about waste streams in an effort to create zero waste. The store is also plastic free, does not use receipts, and uses a carbon neutral packaging provider as well as encouraging customers to reuse packaging. The store's customers can see that they live the values of their bookshop.
Mark said that the only way the business will be around will be to create a net zero situation, and that means experimenting with different sustainable methods. The company's goal is that 50% of its paper will be made from waste by 2025. It is also planning to end its gas usage by entirely electrifying its operation and moving to net zero by 2030. The plan is to decarbonise the biggest machine in the next two years.
Mark also pointed out that he’d hate for people to feel guilty about the impact of a book, because actually, ‘the impact the book can have on you and your life is way more, totally disproportionate, to that book’. If there is one thing that makes us stop and focus, and time out to think, it’s a book.