During London Book Fair: Springer Nature on Carbon-Neutral Targets

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The new edition of Springer Nature’s sustainability report is based on the company’s ‘responsibility of impact as a business and publisher.

The Springer Nature stand at London Book Fair 2022, April 7. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘To Reduce the Climate Impact of the Business’
At London Book Fair, the Springer Nature stand—at 7J32—is one of the first you see when entering from the Hammersmith National Hall doorway.

In fact, keep walking into the facility from that point, and you’ll quickly find the big Market Focus Sharjah Book Authority stand, in fact, which is at 7J11.

And from its London offices here, Springer Nature today (April 6, London Book Fair Wednesday) has announced latest annual sustainable business report, this time with an emphasis on climate action.

Titled Unlocking Potential, this report reflects this major research and scholarly publisher’s achievements in publishing what it says is close to 390,000 articles or book chapters and more than 1 million open-access articles.

'Unlocking Potential' report from Springer Nature lined ftw

“Like last year’s report,” reads the announcement made to members of the news media, “which focused on Springer Nature Group’s response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Unlocking Potential also looks to external events for its theme.”

“The year 2021,” the company says, “saw the global climate conference COP26; unequivocal statements from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the need for action; and unprecedented climate disasters.

“So the report looks closely at the organization’s commitment to reduce the climate impact of the business and to amplify the research needed to address the environmental issues we face. It builds on Climate Research in Action, a campaign Springer Nature launched in October 2021, which highlights solutions-focused research published across its content portfolio.”

As you may remember, Springer Nature has reported becoming carbon-neutral for emissions associated with its offices, fleets, and flights in 2020, and it has going on to look for more ways to lessen the environmental footprint of its operations.

New short-term interim targets named in the just-released report include:

  • Net zero: Set science-based targets covering at least 95 percent of our scope 1 and 2 emissions and two-thirds of our scope 3 emissions in 2022 
  • People: Roll out introductory sustainable business training to all employees via a three-year program starting in 2022 
  • Suppliers: Actively engage 50 percent of print and 50 percent of pre-press suppliers (by spend) to align on our sustainability targets by 2022
  • Products: Inform end-of-life recycling by labeling new titles in our printed books and journals portfolio by 2025

The report is also not without some accounting of what the company describes as “progress made throughout the year in championing open science, using technology to advance research solutions and across diversity, equity, and inclusion both within the organization and in the communities Springer Nature Group works with. The key points of this kind cited are:

Attracting over 2.5 million visits per day to our platforms

  • “A 62-percent response rate to Springer Nature Group’s first global inclusion and diversity survey 
  • “Joining with new partners to make a difference in the communities we serve including Valuable500
  • “Supporting the communities Springer Nature works with in many ways, including through donations and sponsorships; in recent weeks, this has included a donation of €250,000 (US$272,088)  to enable the creation of the Philipp Schwartz Emergency Fund to support researchers and their families, forced to flee from Ukraine”

In a prepared statement, Springer Nature CEO Frank Vranchen Peeters is quoted, saying, “This year’s report includes a special focus on climate, in recognition of the vital importance of research to the discussions and decision-making at COP26 in November 2021.

“As a publisher, we have a crucial role to play in connecting researchers and policymakers to accelerate solutions to global challenges. We also have a responsibility to reduce the impact of our business operations on the environment around us, which I’m proud to say we have continued to do this year: introducing new short-term carbon targets and appointing a climate action officer.

“Taking responsibility extends to our role in the communities we’re a part of, the colleagues we work with, and the high-quality trustworthy research we produce for the benefit of all.

“I’m delighted we’ve been able to achieve so much whilst still working flexibly and adjusting to the new normal.”

You can see the new Springer Nature Group sustainable business report here.


More from Publishing Perspectives on academic and scholarly publishing is here, more from us on open access is here, more from us on sustainability is here, more on the climate crisis is here, and more on Springer Nature is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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