UK: Jude Gates Leads the Publishers Association’s Sustainability Task Force

In News by Porter Anderson

The Publishers Association in London is in advanced stages of development with its ‘Publishing Declares’ sustainability pledge program.

A May afternoon in the ‘Ecology Pavilion’ of London’s Mile End Park, in Tower Hamlets. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Abdul Shakoor

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

Empowering the Pledge’s Signatories
In London, the Publishers Association’s Sustainability Task Force has a new chair. Jude Gates, the operations director at Faber & Faber, is been named the new chair of the group, taking over from Siena Parker, who is the former social-impact director at Penguin Random House UK.

Gates succeeds Helen Griggs, the international director for environment, procurement, and supply at Cambridge University Press and Assessment.

Perhaps overshadowed somewhat by discussions and debate about artificial intelligence, sustainability and questions of the climate crisis and responsible operation have been less frequently heard in recent months in many markets.

Alice Wood, who is the association’s sustainability manager, was quoted Wednesday (May 22) on the news of Gates’ appointment, saying that she’s pleased with Gates’ arrival as task force chair, “following a very successful four years chaired by Helen [Griggs] and a valuable six months chaired by Siena Parker.

Jude Gates

“Jude’s extensive knowledge of the publishing industry and the environmental sustainability challenges it faces will be highly valuable to our engaged and hardworking task force. I’m very much looking forward to working with, and learning from, Jude.”

The association’s sustainability task force was created in 2020, and its activities began with a climate action pledge called “Publishing Declares.” Since the inception of the pledge, the organization reports that close to 200 signatories have made their commitments, both in book publishing and among producers of journals.

After instigating the Publishing Declares pledge program, the association opened a set of tools to help guide publishers in assessing their processes and operations and making sustainable decisions.

These protocols make up the “Carbon Calculator,” a formula that lets publishers quantify and monitor their carbon emissions across parts of their businesses. Another of these tools is called the Materials Matrix, which evaluates commonly used materials according to a set of environmental indicators, including greenhouse emissions, energy efficiency, and recyclability. Taken together, the tools, according to the association leadership, can “empower publishers to make informed choices on the environmental sustainability of different materials and processes.”

Following a survey of Publishing Declares signatories about their priorities and business activities, the Publishers Association hosted a panel at London Book Fair in March titled Publishing Declares: Three Years On, Where Is the Industry Now?

The panel discussed approaches to empowering staff with useful knowledge; the challenges of using more substantiable options for some raw materials; the importance of industry collaboration and learning from one another; environmental data challenges; and a welcome increase in the priority of environmental sustainability in the books and journals industry. 

The strategic focus of the task force this year is to empower the pledge’s signatories to work toward their climate action goals through training.  

More from Publishing Perspectives on the climate crisis is here, more on sustainability is here, more on the United Kingdom’s market is here, and more on the Publishers Association 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.