Germany’s Springer Nature Group’s New Sustainability Report: Efforts ‘On Track’

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Springer Nature’s latest sustainability report includes workforce discussion and governance, risk, and compliance points.

Image: Sprringer Nature’s 2012 Sustainable Busines Report

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

‘Focused on Short-Term 2032 Targets’
Another update to its series of sustainability reports shows Holtzbrinck‘s Springer Nature Group announcing that its carbon-reduction efforts are “on track,” and what the company says is a quarter of its workforce “actively engaged in company sustainability efforts.”

As Publishing Perspectives‘ professional industry readers know, reports of this kind read more as promotional pieces of the kind corporations like to issue as proof-of-performance in corporate responsibility. Effectively brochures, these publications generally include everything from workforce diversity to charitable community support programs.

Among key points touted by the Springer Nature leadership this time in its 58-page piece:

  • Twenty-four percent of colleagues (approximately 2,250 people) are part of Springer Nature’s sustainability effort, “participating in employee networks dedicated to topics such as diversity, advocacy. and improving the carbon emissions of our offices. Colleagues also volunteer across 17 [United Nation Sustainable Development Goal] working groups on projects to advance the goals.”
  • Women now make up 44 percent of Springer Nature’s international leadership cohort, the company says, an increase of five percentage points from 2018 when a gender representation goal was first set.
  • The management board now also has a 50-50 gender split.
  • What the company asserts constitutes “achieved validation of science-based carbon reduction targets by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) include 54.6 percent emissions-reduction target in scope 1 and 2 emissions; 32.5 percent emissions-reduction in scope 3 emissions by 2032; and a 90-percent reduction across all scopes to reach net zero by 2040.
  • The piece also summarizes progress made in 2023, bringing forward what the company says is 99 percent of Springer Nature’s electricity use is now from zero-carbon sources.
  • Since 2015, the company says, it has published 940,000 pieces of SDG-related research.
  • “The majority (54 percent) of SDG content is open access.”

Frank Vrancken Peeters

In a comment on the release of this 58-page media-and-stakeholders messaging, Springer Nature CEO Frank Vrancken Peeters is quoted, saying, “Our 9000+ Springer Nature colleagues around the world are our best asset.

“This report shows their dedication to our mission: to use the discovery and dissemination of knowledge to address the world’s greatest challenges.

“They help authors bring research to life, they work with business partners to make our value chain more sustainable, and they protect the integrity of the scientific record. They are a part of progress and will carry us forward on our sustainability journey.”

And Thea Sherer, the company’s director of sustainability and climate action, says, “We’re driving forward at pace, thanks to the support we have from our colleagues and the embeddedness of sustainability to Springer Nature’s core mission.

Thea Sherer

“We remain focused on our short-term 2032 targets, and on track to meet them, even with pandemic recovery still noticeable across some numbers.

“Ongoing carbon-related projects across the business and broader market development trends, like less printing, also help us head in the right direction.”

More on Springer Nature is here, more on open access is here, more on the climate crisis is here, and more on scholarly and academic publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, 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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