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Stephanie Small: All right. Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Tech
Forum session. I'm Stephanie Small. I am a product coordinator at BookNet Canada.
Welcome to "Green Paths: Learning from Publishers' Sustainability Journeys." Before we get
started, BookNet Canada acknowledges that its operations are remote and our colleagues
contribute their work from the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the
Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Wyandot, the Mi'kmaq, the Ojibwa of Fort William
First Nation, the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, which includes the Ojibwa, the
Odawa, and the Potawatomie, and finally, the Métis, the original nations and peoples of the
lands we now call Beeton, Brampton, Guelph, Halifax, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan, and
Windsor. We encourage you to visit the native-land.ca website to learn more about the
peoples whose lands you are joining us from today.
Moreover, BookNet endorses the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission of Canada and supports an ongoing shift from gatekeeping to space-making in
the book industry. The book industry has long been an industry of gatekeeping, and anyone
who works at any stage of the book supply chain carries a responsibility to serve readers by
publishing, promoting, and supplying works that represent the wide extent of human
experiences and identities in all that complicated intersectionality. We at BookNet are
committed to working with our partners in the industry as we move towards a framework
that supports space-making, which ensures that marginalised creators and professionals all
have the opportunity to contribute, work, and lead. In the spirit of that acknowledgement, I
confirm BookNet's and my own responsibility to mend the sacred hoop with Canada's
Indigenous peoples, to be an ally to all Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, and to unite
and work together alongside one another.
For our webinar today, if you're having difficulties with Zoom or have any tech-related
questions, please put your questions in the chat, or you can email
techforum@booknetcanada.ca. We're providing live ASL and closed captioning for this
presentation. So, to see the captions, please find the Show Captions button in the Zoom menu
at the bottom of your screen. If during the presentation you have questions for us, please use
the Q&A panel found in the bottom menu.
Lastly, we'd like to remind attendees of the code of conduct. Please do be kind, be inclusive,
be respectful of others, including of their privacy, and be aware of your words and actions.
Please report any violations to techforum@booknetcanada.ca. Please do not harass speakers,
hosts, or attendees, or record these sessions. We have a zero-tolerance policy. You can find
the entire code of conduct at bnctechforum.ca/code-of-conduct. So, without further ado, let
me introduce the moderator for this panel, EJ Hurst. EJ is the sales manager and head of
sustainability at New Society Publishers. She holds a degree in environmental studies from
the University of Waterloo and joined the New Society Publishers team as a marketing
coordinator in 2007. Since that time, she has been dedicated to working with the team at New
Society to advance their mission to publish books for a world of change in a way that has a
minimum impact on our environment. Over to you, EJ.
EJ Hurst: Thank you, Stephanie. Hello, everyone. I am joining you today from the unceded
traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw from First Nations in Nanaimo, and we're on
Gabriola Island, BC. So, thank you to BookNet for putting together this event and inviting
Norm Nehmetallah, Sandra Shaw, and Karina Stevens to share insights into their company's
unique sustainability journeys. It's a great opportunity for sharing ideas and collaboration and
getting information. Every speaker will give a short presentation following which there'll be
a question-and-answer period where we can answer questions from the audience. As it was
already mentioned, please feel free to put your questions into the Q&A panel as we go along.
And remember, there's no stupid questions. We're all here to learn and share, and everybody's
at a different stage of their journey. Incorporating sustainability practices into publishing
operations can be challenging, but it's very rewarding. So, to demonstrate what small
publishers can plan for and accomplish, I'll invite Norm Nehmetallah, he's the publisher at
Invisible Publishing, to share some insights into their journey towards a more sustainable
publishing operations. Over to you, Norm.
Norm Nehmetallah: Thank you, EJ. Hi, everybody. I'm just going to share my screen and
try to get my PowerPoint operating. I'm not really a PowerPoint person, so bear with me
here. I'll also mention that I'm a little nervous for some reason when it comes to virtual
presentations, more so for some reason also than in-person presentations, which is a new
feeling that I'm exploring. So, hi, everyone. My name is Norm Nehmetallah. I'm coming to
you from the north side of Fredericton, New Brunswick, directly next to Sitansisk, an urban
Wolastoqey community on the Wolastoq River. Speaking of rivers, it's a privilege to be
wading into the occasionally, actually mostly murky depths of sustainability in independent
publishing with all of you.
Before I start, I'd like to kind of at least address the elephant in my room, which is that we're
meeting during an ongoing genocide in Gaza, which weighs very heavily on me and
probably many of you, and is also itself a climate catastrophe. So, it does feel a little futile to
be discussing sustainability and that kind of stuff in the face of that. Okay. So, I'm going to
situate the press a little bit before jumping into our constantly evolving attempts to be as
sustainable as possible. I'm really interested in the rest of this panel, actually, mostly because
I know what we're already doing vis-a-vis sustainability, but also because we're all such
different publishers, and I admire the publishing program so much of the other attendees
here. So, excited for that. And I'll try to talk as little as possible.
So, Invisible Publishing is a not-for-profit indie publishing company. We were founded in
2007 as a cooperative in Halifax by three friends, one of whom, Megan Fildes, still works at
the press as our art director. We publish primarily Canadian fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
with a focus on emerging writers in both English and increasingly in translation. So, our
team currently consists of me, the publisher, Kim Griffiths, our director of editorial and
production, Megan Fildes, our art director, and Jules Wilson, our publicist. Our primary
editorial team, who mostly live in Ontario, consists of Bryan Ibeas, Del Cowie, Alicia Elliott,
and Bart Vautour. All of us work remotely, except for Kim, who manages our physical office
space and inventory above the historic Regent Theatre in downtown Picton, Ontario. We
publish eight to ten books a year, and I myself have worked in publishing for nine years, first
at Biblioasis and then at Coach House Books and Penguin Random House Canada. I took the
reins at Invisible from Leigh Nash, who I hope most of you know, two years ago. And I was
lucky enough to be coming at accessibility from the same mindset as Leigh, and I've
inherited so many good processes and systems from her, as well as, you know, many
elements of this presentation by virtue of that. So, very grateful to her.
So, at our size... Sorry, I forgot to move to the next slide. This will tell you some steps that I
just said. So, at our size, or perhaps at any size, I think that one of the most important
considerations of sustainability in publishing and maybe just generally is to keep one's scope
somewhat limited. And I recognize that that isn't possible for everyone. And so, you know,
coming from a small, independent, not-for-profit publisher, just based on the kind of work
that we're interested in publishing at Invisible, we don't tend to publish cookbooks or kids'
books or full-colour books at all. So, that obviously lessens our impact environmentally and
also kind of tightens up our considerations. We only publish at most 10 books a year, and
less books means less printing, less shipping, less of a strain kind of mentally and work-wise
on our team, and more attention paid to the authors, especially, again, at our size and our
level of financial resources. So, that's kind of, I think, the principle that undergirds our
approach.
So, I thought for this presentation that I would basically just take you through kind of the
elements of our production processes and the things that we kind of do at Invisible to
maintain our sustainability standards. We don't have a kind of grand plan so much as we try
to approach this whole enterprise piece by piece and figure out where we could be improving
from...you know, as things as small as the kinds of envelopes that we ship our books in to
things as big as, you know, like what they're made of and how they get to where they need to
go. So, we print all of our books at a small family-owned printer in Quebec, Imprimerie
Gauvin. Because of that relationship and their size, because they're also a relatively small-
sized printer, we can have in-depth one-on-one conversations with them about specific
books, paper stocks, what might work, where we can kind of, you know, do very small things
to have larger impacts. They have a similar environmental consideration as us, so we're often
coming to each book on the same page, which is really nice. Because we only use one
printer, we can also consolidate shipments of all our books in a season. So, we're even going
so far as to...well, when we can, to plan publication dates and shipping dates around
consolidating stock and kind of lessening our environmental impact that way so that we have
less trucks on the road carrying our books.
So, all of that has required further planning in advance. You know, we can't be as last-minute
with our books because we try to group publication shipments, even if, you know, books are
coming out a month or two months after one another. So, that does require a little bit of
work, and it's something that we're constantly trying to meet, although very rarely actually
meeting it. And vis-a-vis printer, in fact, they were the ones almost eight years ago now who
turned us on to, at the time, a company called Rolland Enviro Print, is the paper that we use.
They're now called Sustana, which is the paper that we use for all of our books.
And then the last thing on the printing front, they also happen to be very close to our office,
just a few hours away. So, we cut down on shipping costs and all of the impacts of that. I've
kind of boiled it down when thinking of publishing to the two main things being...or the three
main things, I suppose, being printing the actual products that we're making, shipping, which,
unfortunately, is involved in everything, and travel, people shipping, if you will.
So, paper. Paper standards are all over the map. This is probably something that everybody
on this webinar knows, and there's no singular definition, unfortunately, of eco-friendly
paper. However, all of our books are printed on Sustana, Enviro, and Cover. So, Sustana
contains 100% post-consumer fiber, is manufactured using renewable energy, which is
biogas, and there's some of the interesting stuff on their website about that, and is processed
chlorine-free. Plus, it's SFC and ancient forest-friendly certified. And I think that that's a
fairly common thing, maybe, in Canada, especially. One thing that we do a little bit
differently is that all of our covers are printed on uncoated paper. So, while that increases the
risk of damage, it also makes them less the glue on their spines, fully recyclable and
compostable. So, we don't use spot, glass, or foil, we don't use French flaps.
And this is something I think that a lot of people are worried about doing because of the
possibility for increased damage, but we fielded relatively few complaints in regard to
damage. And in fact, the kind of texture that uncoated paper gives each book in the colour
absorption that's kind of particular to the coating, or the lack of coating, gives our books a
really cohesive and recognisable look and feel, both in stores, but especially when we do
things like fairs or events. So, that's actually kind of played into the aesthetic of the press and
helped us create a brand in ways beyond, you know, print advertising, things like that. So, I
think that that has become a positive for us, both environmentally and also just bringing
recognisability to our books.
So, using a ton of Sustana EnviroPrint rather than virgin paper saves the equivalent of 24
trees, 1,773 gallons of water, and 3,402 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. So, I feel like
that's one of the biggest ways that we've made this commitment to sustainability. And then
tied into all of that is trim sizes. So, again, tied into kind of scope and keeping it limited, we
only have three trim sizes, and the vast majority of our books are all one trim size, which is 5
inch by 8 inch. This makes it easier to predict the size of boxes, easier to consolidate
shipments, both from our printer, as I said earlier, but also, you know, from our own office,
and adds to the kind of aesthetic cohesion that I mentioned earlier because all the books kind
of sit the same on a shelf.
Next thing is print runs and inventory management. So, this is, I guess, the kind of bane of all
production and inventory people's lives, but it's very difficult to manage inventory in the
book industry. So, as much as possible, all of our books are produced in small batches and
reprinted to meet demand and avoid waste. Yes, that does lead to higher printing costs per
unit, but it's also nice to have to think less about pulping, storage costs, things like that. I'm
lucky that we're a not-for-profit publisher. You know, we don't have an owner. Obviously,
we try to make money, and all of the money goes back into, you know, running our operation
and paying our authors, but it means that we can kind of stomach making a little bit less on
each book for those considerations.
So, tied to those print run sizes are the goal that we've been able to meet, thankfully, with the
help of lots of other people, especially Laura Brady, to have accessible digital editions
available simultaneously. And, yes, I feel like there's a caveat to virtually all of these points.
Reading devices for e-books require the mining of resources from the earth, but those folks
aren't buying readers specifically for our books and are often reading on phones and laptops
that they use for other purposes. We think of this as an element of sustainability still. That
said, also, climate justice is intrinsically tied to disability justice and many other forms of
justice. So, we think that this is a really important point, too.
Tied to that, we offer both finished and advanced PDF and EPUB copies to potential
reviewers first, and we offer printed advanced copies on demand to reduce overprinting and
subsequent waste, and we've also made the switch to digital-only catalogues via CataList and
Edelweiss. All of these things have...they have a cost. You know, they sometimes disappoint
authors, sometimes disappoint reviewers, and things like that. So, it's all a bit of a balance,
but that's something that we've made a kind of explicit attempt at. So, that leads me to author
and staff education.
Again, as a not-for-profit publisher, we actually have a mission, which is to support literary
communities and emerging writers. And we see education as a big part of our responsibility.
So, when we discuss author touring, galleys and advanced copies, print materials, and
especially things like swag with authors and our staff, we try to make sustainability at the
forefront of that conversation. Sometimes that can lead to difficult conversations, but I find
that the line of thinking that, you know, we try to put everything into the books, the content
of the books, the way that we discuss the books, phone calls with independent bookstores,
kind of the personal touch that we bring to every book as the counterpoint to some of the
more unsustainable, I suppose, practices. And, yeah, that leads to, I guess, local sales events.
So, something that we're working on now is scaling back our staff travel as events are
ramping back up, both kind of consumer-facing events like Word on the Street and also
things like the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Brooklyn Book Festival, etc. So, this is a really tough
thing because I feel like, you know, there's a lot of FOMO, real or imagined, that comes with
missing these kind of things. And we don't miss all of them, but we are trying to think more
and more about this. And to offset that, we are thinking more about kind of creating
sustainable, both financially and environmentally, local events in our own communities.
Now, that's kind of an interesting thing when you have a remote publishing company. But I
live in Fredericton, and just as an example, this past Christmas, we had a big holiday book
market here with local publishers that made a phenomenal amount of money and had a huge
impact on the literary community here and didn't require us to ship anything or travel
anywhere. So, we are skipping Word on the Street this year for many reasons, but one of the
major considerations was that we would have to travel there, and if we are doing more things
like these sort of local sales events, we can kind of cut down on things like that.
And I guess the last thing I wanted to talk about was shipping. So, when we were in Toronto,
our office was in Toronto for about a year and a half, and it just moved to Picton in
November, we used a service called Good Foot Delivery. And this is something that I kind of
wanted to turn on all the people in Toronto to. Good Foot Delivery is a not-for-profit
company that provides meaningful employment for the neurodiverse community through a
reliable professional courier service delivered via public transit and on foot. So, we had many
meetings with them, and we got a really good rate that essentially made our book sales in our
kind of inter-office delivery within Toronto cheaper to go through Good Foot, and there was
virtually no emissions tied to that because all of the couriers were going via transit or on foot.
And so, that's an amazing service that I'm really sad not to be able to use anymore. And then
for our direct-to-consumer sales, all of our envelopes and boxes are recyclable or reusable,
given the conditions.
So, that's kind of where we're at in terms of sustainability very broadly and the kind of
measures on a kind of like part-by-part basis that we try to bring to our publishing program.
What keeps us up at night probably keeps all of you up at night, both in terms of money and
also in terms of sustainability, which is shipping. We still haven't been able to solve the
problem of shipping. I'm not entirely convinced by kind of so-called carbon-neutral or
shipping or buying offsets and things like that, and books are dense, and they're very heavy.
And that to me is both huge financial concern, but also a huge environmental concern.
And unfortunately, print-on-demand services, for instance, ones that are located in Australia
that would save us the emissions of having to ship to Australia, don't tend to use recycled
paper right now. So, the virgin paper is kind of a thing that we're not willing to do. Travel,
like I mentioned earlier, we're really trying to cut back on that, but unfortunately, it's still
necessitated for a few events and returns, which I think is a whole can of worms that I'm not
even really willing to get into, and then all the regular existential indie publishing questions.
So, that's it for my presentation. I'll start sharing my screen now.
EJ: Thank you so much, Norm. I empathise with many things that you've said. I really like
the way you're allowing sustainability goals to lead your business model and your publishing
scope. I feel envious of your format sizes. I've proposed that idea at our company and that it
kind of interferes with the artistic design of some books. So, I'll re-approach that idea. And
also, shipping heavy books is a difficult problem. And I think that perhaps Sandra may have
some information for it. Sandra is our next speaker, Sandra Shaw from the University of
Toronto Press. She's Canada's... Sorry, University of Toronto Press is Canada's leading
academic publisher and one of the largest university presses in North America. So, Sandra, if
you'd like to share your presentation.
Sandra Shaw: Thank you, EJ. Let me just share my screen. Sorry. All right. Well, thank
you, everyone, for being here. It's wonderful to be a part of this panel. I'm Sandra Shaw. I'm
the director for editorial design and production at the University of Toronto Press. And
before I begin speaking about our sustainability journey, let me tell you a little bit about the
press. UTP is a nonprofit mission-driven university press that was founded in 1901. There
are two publishing divisions or publishing units at the press, journals and books. Our journals
unit publishes over 65 scholarly journals online and in print and in a variety of disciplines,
including social sciences, humanities, and medicine. We publish over 3,000 articles per year,
and our content is read in 190 countries. Our book publishing unit publishes around 200
books per year, including scholarly monographs, textbooks, and trade nonfiction. Books are
published in print and ebook format.
In 2023, UTP launched its audiobook program, and we're now publishing select titles in
audiobook format as well. What makes UTP unique is that we have a distribution and a retail
division. Our distribution division works with over 200 publishers to distribute materials and
has warehouses in New York State and in Toronto. Our retail division manages the five
University of Toronto bookstores across three campuses, which gives us a direct connection
to students and faculty at U of T. UTP's mission is to connect ideas for a better world. One of
the ways we achieve this goal is to partner with organisations that promote equitable access
to knowledge, a healthy environment, and positive global transformation. Three of these
organisations include the United Nations, C40 Cities, and Research4Life. And I'll speak
more about each of these organisations later in the presentation.
I'll begin with some of our strategies for success. We've already begun our sustainability
journey and we've already made a number of positive changes across the press towards
achieving sustainability. We've done this by staying on top of industry activity and seeking
out opportunities and resources, which has led to some of the partnerships I just mentioned a
moment ago. By cultivating a global and diverse network of authors, editors, and reviewers,
we've been able to develop and publish content related to climate and sustainability while
ensuring we're representing voices from around the world.
UTP engages internal teams and stakeholders by communicating advances in the area of
sustainability and by promoting these activities to motivate and inspire our employees and
customers and other people that we work with. Externally, we also communicate with
customers and other external parties about the initiatives that we've undertaken so they're
aware of the journey that we're taking towards sustainability. We work with vendors such as
printers and transportation companies who follow sustainable practices and have the same
values and goals as UTP. And finally, we continue to learn about what other organisations in
the industry are doing by attending webinars and discussions such as this one today.
Challenges include time, which I think is a common challenge for most publishers. Finding
the time to invest in these initiatives is always a challenge with time being the commodity
that it is. However, UTP does recognize the value and the importance of being a sustainable
publisher and to making a contribution to the publishing industry and landscape. And so, we
have dedicated time to these important initiatives. Another challenge that we faced is with
our infrastructure. So, in some cases, our systems and our workflows were not initially
developed with sustainable practices in mind, like using print-on-demand or converting some
of our formats to a digital format. And so, we've had to update tools and processes along the
way to support these alternative formats, these new print workflows. And we have dedicated
time, staff, and resources to this process.
Finally, as with everything, there is a cost associated with implementing sustainable
strategies. We've made a large investment into updating our tools, into engaging new vendors
who follow sustainable practices, in communicating change both externally and internally,
and develop new products that focus on the subject area of climate and sustainability. In our
distribution division, they have had challenges such as truck driver shortages, fuel and
equipment price instability, international instability, and supply chain issues.
Now, we'll speak a little bit about some of our success stories as we continue through our
sustainability journey. UTP collaborates with printers and distributors to minimise their
carbon footprint by using vendors in Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Europe to reduce the
transportation impact by printing and distributing locally. UTP uses print-on-demand to
reduce overstock, limiting the effects of storage on the environment, such as physical space
and the consumption of electricity and other resources. As I mentioned earlier, UTP works
with printers who follow sustainable practices such as reuse and recycling, compliance with
environmental laws and regulations, and using vegetable-based inks and recycled wooden
pallets.
Finally, UTP uses Forest Stewardship Council or FSC certified products, ensuring that our
materials come from verified and responsible sources that have met FSC's strict
environmental and social requirements. UTP is a proud signatory to the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which were established to inspire organisations
globally to commit to sustainable practices, to improve health and education around the
world, reduce inequality, spur economic growth, and prevent further climate change. There
are 17 SDGs, which you can see in the graphic, including ending poverty, producing
affordable and clean energy, developing sustainable cities and communities, and taking
climate action.
As part of this initiative, UTP has signed the Publishers Compact along with hundreds of
other publishers from around the globe. The Publishers Compact was launched in
collaboration with the International Publishers Association and aims to accelerate progress to
achieve the SDGs by 2030. There are 10 goals for publishers, which include a commitment
to actively promoting and acquiring content that advocates for sustainability, strengthening
the environment, justice and equality, as well as ensuring publishers dedicate budget and
other resources to promote SDG principles and achieve these goals.
UTP is committed to publishing content that supports and promotes SDG principles, and here
is just a small selection of some of our recent book titles that we've printed in this area, or
that we've published in this area. UTP also publishes journals content that focuses on climate
change and sustainability, and in some cases, we publish in areas where you may not expect
there to be a connection with climate change. For example, we recently published an issue of
the Canadian Theatre Review that looked at the connection between climate change and
theatre, from building ecologically-friendly set designs to staging productions about
sustainability. We also published a special section on climate in Seminar, "A journal of
Germanic Studies," which looked at how to incorporate positive attitudes towards
sustainability, or a green mindset in teaching. We also published a special issue of the
"Canadian Journal of Film Studies," which looked at climate change and the cinema, and
how cinema can be used to engage audiences in discourse and action related to climate
change.
One of our most important relationships began in 2020 when UTP published a book with
former Toronto Mayor David Miller, entitled "Solved." David Miller is an economist and a
lawyer by training, but he has a passion for halting climate change and promoting sustainable
practices. In his book, "Solved," David Miller discusses how cities around the world are
working together to address the global climate crisis. David Miller is currently the managing
director for the Centre for City Climate Policy and Economy at C40 Cities. C40 Cities is a
global network of over 100 cities from around the world working together to address the
global climate crisis. The mayors of these cities are committed to using an inclusive, science-
based, and collaborative approach to cut their fair share of emissions in half by 2030 to help
the world limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and build healthy, equitable, and
resilient communities.
This map illustrates the global reach of C40 Cities. Why cities? Cities are important in the
fight against climate change because while they occupy only 2% of the world's landmass,
cities consume around 75% of the world's energy. They create over 70% of energy-related
greenhouse gas emissions, and cities generate over 80% of the world's GDP. In 2022, UTP
launched the "Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy" in partnership with C40 Cities
and David Miller. David Miller serves as the editor for the journal. The journal aims to be a
vehicle into research policy and economic change that is required to drive the climate
agenda. The journal was launched under the subscribed open model to encourage broad
global dissemination of research and to provide a relatively low cost for the research
community.
In relation to the "Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy," UTP also developed and
launched the "Cities 1.5" podcast in partnership with C40 Cities. This is meant to
complement David Miller's book and the journal. The podcast features progressive policy
conversations with urban leaders and is hosted by David Miller. Guests include mayors,
policymakers, economists, youth leaders, and scholars who are all working towards
transformative solutions to the world's most pressing climate challenges and features new
episodes every week.
UTP also has proudly partnered with Research4Life for more than 10 years to provide free
access to all of our journal content to institutions in low and middle-income countries.
Research4Life provides these institutions with online access to academic or with online
access to academic and peer-reviewed content from a variety of disciplines. Their goal is to
ensure that valuable information around research, policymaking and health, agriculture and
the environment is available to communities who may not otherwise be able to afford access
to this content. At this time, 125 low and middle-income countries receive free or low-cost
access to content from up to 200 publishers around the world. Over 11,000 institutions are
registered with Research4Life and users can access over 200,000 scientific journals, books,
and databases. There are five programs within Research4Life that provide access to resources
related to health, agriculture, the environment, innovation, and global justice.
And finally, in terms of next steps, while UTP is very proud of the accomplishments that
we've made to date and the work that we have done towards implementing sustainable
practices and publishing valuable research about climate and the environment, of course,
there is always more work that can be done. One of our main goals for this year is to expand
our print-on-demand practices to grow our global network of printers and distributors in
regions such as Asia and Australia and to set up all UTP books under this model. The
distribution division at UTP is also working to expand their print-on-demand services by
partnering with local printers in Canada to provide sustainable options for Canadian printers
to reduce overstock and the effects of unnecessary transportation. As part of this work, we
will also realize improved inventory management both in publishing and distribution. UTP
will continue to offer digital alternatives to print such as ebook, audiobook, online
publishing, and podcasts. And finally, with many of these initiatives in place or soon to be in
place, the next step will be to gather and analyse data to assess the benefits of the work that
we've done and look towards what comes next. Thank you.
EJ: Thank you so much, Sandra. I'm so interested in all the tools you're publishing and the
content you're publishing to address climate change. And I liked your first slide where you
outline a list of strategies to follow because following those strategies can help you identify
what's most important, what can be done easily in the short-term, and then also what's a long-
term project with more investment. And now, finally, to inspire us and provide an
international perspective, we have Karina Stevens, who's the production director at UK's
multi-award-winning independent children's publishing company, the Nosy Crow. Please go
ahead, Sandra. Oh, sorry, Karina.
Karina Stevens: Right. I'm going to attempt to share my screen. It didn't work previously, so
let's see. Okay. Okay. Can everybody see my slides okay? Firstly, I just want to apologise in
advance to the ASL interpreter because I've been told to speak really quickly. So, I really
apologise. I've never had to do one of these with an interpreter or a captioner before. So, this
is revolutionary to me. Also, I just want to point out, obviously, that I'm from a UK
publishing house, and it's occurring to me as I'm hearing these presentations that I'm
incredibly ignorant about the Canadian publishing scene and what sustainability means to
you and how you're approaching it. It's really interesting and how different it is. And it
makes me think that sharing across territories is something we should absolutely be doing
more of.
Right, let me just start, actually. I also just want to say apologies in advance. I have a bit of a
rubbish internet connection when it rains here, which it does all the time. My internet home
is a bit poor. So, my name is Karina Stevens. I am the production director at Nosy Crow. A
bit about Nosy Crow is we are an SME with rapid growth, I would say, founded in 2011. So,
we're about 13 years old now. And we publish the full range of children's products, very
different from what you've seen so far today, incredibly different. Please do feel free to go to
our website because I think I haven't got enough time here to show you all the types of things
that we do. But, yeah, we publish children's books from nought to 12 years old. And we
publish full gamut from black and white fiction, colour picture books, nonfiction, and we do
a whole host of novelty books for children from the ages of nought, from birth to 3.
So, yeah, we're just going to talk a bit about myself, starting at Nosy Crow, my background,
just to give you a little bit of context. Implementing a sustainability strategy and focusing on
Scope 3. You got to be in it to win it. It will become clear when we get to those slides.
Challenges and finding balance, and where Nosy Crow are today, and what we're hoping to
do tomorrow. So, a bit about me. This is my favourite photo of myself at paper mill in
Finland, in front of a super roll. I have worked for seven publishing companies in my career.
I won't tell you how long I've been in publishing for, it was a very long time. I started out in
Octopus Publishing, actually the Hamlyn division, which was then managed by Octopus and
now they are part of Hachette. Then I went to an independent publisher in Anness for a brief
period, and then I spent most of my career at Penguin where I was there for like 13 years.
And I worked across all the imprints there, but mostly on the children's, of which there's a
few of the logos there. Then I went from Penguin to Macmillan, actually Pan Macmillan,
where I looked after their children's division. I hope some of you have heard of "The
Gruffalo," and actually Axel Scheffler, who is the illustrator of "The Gruffalo," he is one of
the owners and original founders of Nosy Crow. Then I went from Macmillan to Little Tiger,
also was independent children's publisher. Since I left there, they then had gone into
partnership with PRH US. Then I went to Bonnier Books, where I was the group production
director, and after that I left and went to Nosy Crow.
Okay. So, I just want to give a bit of background context to the state of the nation when I
started at Nosy Crow. I was hired as a temporary contract for a maternity cover for the then
head of operations and production, and I had about six hours of handover before she had to
leave unexpectedly early due to high blood pressure. The situation was we were knee-deep in
supply chain crisis caused by the ever given blocking the Suez Canal. I don't know if any of
you were affected by that. It's something I never want to go through again. And on the result
of that, we had skyrocketing prices, particularly in freight, and also in conjunction with that
was just the sheer rate of growth of Nosy Crow. Nosy Crow has grown roughly a third year
on year since it began.
As I said, we publish a full range of children's books, all the different formats. All our fiction
is printed in the UK, but we do a huge amount. The vast majority of what we publish is
actually children's board books and novelty, and that is published in China. Then with that
comes all the issues of freight. Where were we when I started in June 2021? We were using
mostly FSC paper, but not all. I won't go into the explanations of FSC paper since Sandra
gave a very good explanation of that already. We belong to a group called the Book Chain
Project. I don't know if any of you are familiar with this. I think the slides will be shared with
you, but I do really recommend...and I will talk about it a little bit more later on, but I do
really recommend that you check them out. This is essentially a group which was founded by
UK publishers, and there are three tools within them. I'll talk a little bit more about that later.
Being members of the Book Chain Project has been fundamental to us progressing in our
sustainability journey at Nosy Crow. And I would say it's the same for many publishers in
the UK.
Part of our supply chain policy was to have internationally recognised labour audits, of
which top of the list is ICT, and we also accept Sedex 4-pillar, which includes environmental
standards. Really, I'm not going to go through this because I'm sure you all know what
Scopes 1, 2 and 3 are, but essentially for us in the publishing world, Scope 3 is really where
it's at when you're talking about carbon. I have a question for people actually, which I'm not
expecting you to answer here, but I was interested that nobody's mentioned about mapping
their carbon footprint. It really is the biggest focus amongst UK publishers that the first step
is to map your carbon footprint to know how much carbon that you are actually producing as
a business in order to set targets to reduce that and to do it in a very scientific and audited
way. It's incredibly difficult for a business which has all the different types of products and
manufacturing. We literally manufacture it all over the world, and our customers are all over
the world.
Although we do do ebooks and we do do audio, most of our books are for children, and
therefore the physical nature of that book is essential to the success of our publishing. You
can't obviously...well, you could, they were genius, I guess, but you can't really give
electronic goods to a baby, and the physical nature of what we produce is as important as the
content in children's publishing, for young children. So, focusing on Scope 3. I've had many
conversations with people in the publishing industry about this because I have to say one of
the biggest challenges is just knowing what it all means, understanding the jargon, knowing
what you have to do. It's mind-boggling, it's huge, it's complex, it's constantly changing, and
so really for us, focusing on Scope 3, it is you have to focus on the paper. It is the biggest for
us, and in my business, it is the biggest place where your carbon is being produced. And
therefore focusing on our paper, reducing our tonnage, that has to be our number one priority
if we're going to reduce our carbon footprint.
And so, one of the things that we have done is we have swapped our boards for lightweight
boards which still bulk the same. So, these two series, we literally produce millions of these
for customers all around the world every year. Nosy Crow turns over around about £24
million a year. We publish 150 new titles a year in the UK, and we have these huge series of
the "Where's Mr Lion" is a series called "Felt Flaps," and the one below is a "Bizzy Bear"
series. And we print these in batches because they're enormous. We'll do at least half a
million per batch over multiple titles. So, you can imagine the sheer amount of paper that
we're consuming in order to produce these is significant. So, for any changes, any reductions
that we can make in the tonnage of using those will have the biggest, most immediate effect
on our carbon footprint.
So, we were using a 350-gram board. I'm not sure how that translates into Canadian terms.
Someone will have to do that calculation for me. But essentially, we sourced a new lighter
weight board, but that's still bulked the same. So, there was no discernible difference to the
customer at all. But as a result, we reduced our tonnage by 7% by doing that. And that's
something I'm incredibly proud of. We also coincidentally reduced our costs by doing that.
And sort of linking your sustainability strategy, which I have to say we aren't not for profit, is
something that I think as a business we need to do. I'm very aware I haven't got much time,
so I'm going to race through these.
So, yeah, you got to be in it to win it. This is one of the biggest challenges I think as a small
to medium enterprise, is your resource. And just being informed, being involved, going to the
forums, going to the meetings, speaking when you go to them, having an opinion, wanting to
learn, being open to ideas, these, for me, in the strategy are essential. And these are just a few
of the groups that I belong to. I belong to many forums and groups and projects, and I spend
a lot of my time, and my own personal time, quite honestly, being involved in these and,
yeah, taking part. For the Book Chain Project, there are three major tools. One is forest
sourcing, the second one is chemicals and materials, and third one is labour environment, and
they all touch upon sustainability. There are links in my slides to them, which will tell you a
bit about what they all do. I highly recommend that people join if they possibly can.
The labour environment tool is for free. There is a cheaper version of the forest resource. In
this one, I don't know if any of you know about it, but essentially, we manage the provenance
of our papers. Through that, all our suppliers also have to submit environmental
questionnaires, and it's starting that journey of mapping carbon footprint through our
suppliers and through paper mills. The chemicals and materials is really...for us, it's
important for our safety testing for children's product because they have to meet so many
levels of legislation depending on where you're publishing or where you're selling to. And it's
actually very technical and a huge amount of work. But these and being involved, speaking
up, having an opinion, learning, these things are incredibly important, and the Book Chain
Project is a huge part of my sustainability journey.
And then just challenges and balance. These are the challenges for us, which is knowledge,
just learning about this stuff. Man, there's so much stuff and it changes all the time, all the
different acronyms, jargon, just constantly learning and being involved. Your resource and
your time. When I started at Nosy Crow, there were five people in my team. I now have 10.
And we're growing hugely. So, at Nosy Crow itself, we're just over 50 people when I started,
and we're almost 100 now. This is the rate of change that we're going through. And putting
sustainability at the top of the agenda is a challenge. And I'm always thinking about this
urgent versus important matrix. And for me, it's pushing that to the top of the agenda for the
leadership in my business all the time.
Commercial reality, I think has been said before, it's not cheap to be sustainable. It's not the
cheapest option. But we are a business that is for profit. So, having to balance that is a
challenge. And capacity and capability is literally...there is not the capacity or the capability
in Europe to produce most of the products that we publish at Nosy Crow. There is no
capability outside of China really, very limited to do hand-assembled novelty board books.
And that is a challenge. So, there will always be an element of freight that is involved. But at
the minute, for us, due to sheer numbers, freight produces near 19% less carbon than road
freight for us to the same destination because we do not have electrified fleets in Europe yet.
And most of that energy is coming from fossil fuels. So, I think also knowing where your
energy is coming from, understanding where your supplier's energy is coming from, so
knowing what sustainability strategies your suppliers are having is also incredibly important.
And legislation, for us, I'm not sure what the state of the nation is in Canada. But in Europe,
there is a lot of legislation. And it's increasing and growing all the time. The latest one is EU
deforestation regulation, which means any products which might have contributed to
deforestation are banned in the EU from the end of this year. And we have to prove the
provenance of our books, the paper, the wood source of our books, that it doesn't come from
areas which might have been deforested. The fact that we use 100% FSC-certified paper now
is in our favour. The FSC is having to work very hard in order to provide this information.
It's so in depth that you have to now provide the geolocation of the wood source of your
paper if you are going to import into Europe. And it also applies to other commodities such
as soy, cattle, chocolate, cocoa, these kinds of things as well. But wood, obviously, for us, is
the major one.
And green washing. This isn't my personal bug, but I'm just going to have a little minute just
to say about this because I come across this in all the many, many forums because so many
publishers in my experience are seemingly more concerned with appearing green than really
doing the hard work because it's not an easy thing to achieve. And guarding against that, that
the changes that you're making, that the policies that you're putting in place have real
meaning and impact. And it's not just something that you can have a good news story about.
It is a challenge. And it's really hard. But then I have to say, you know, these are the things
that keep me up at night and make me spend my personal time investing in our sustainability
strategy at Nosy Crow.
And this is where we are. We have just finished mapping our baseline carbon footprint at
Nosy Crow. It was a massive, massive amount of work. It's not perfect by any means. The
means in which you can map your carbon footprint are very challenging. But that, for me, is
our biggest trick because now it means we can set targets and we can move forward. One of
the things we'd like to be able to do is set science-based targets initiatives to verify our
mapping and set targets. I would love us to be carbon-neutral by 2030. I have to admit, I
don't think we're going to get there at the minute. It's a challenge. And then, yeah, these are
the things also, like offsetting is going to have to be a part of our strategy because there is
nothing else at the minute that's available to us within our current business model. And so, I
think this is going to have to be a stopgap.
When I'm thinking about offsetting, I am very conscious, and I'm part of a big offsetting
project group, which is looking into what is available in terms of offsetting, and not all
offsetting is equal. And I'm very interested in carbon offsetting projects where they are doing
carbon reuse and capture, you know, things like that. Circularity, I think longevity products
or something, you know, these things are not yet built into what is available to us. I would
love to be able to sign up to the SDGs Publishers Compact. I'm very jealous of UTP that
they've done that already. And that is something definitely on our horizon. Yeah. And just
really doing everything we can in order to continue with doing better. And it's a journey, it's
a struggle. And, yeah, any questions? And that's it for me.
EJ: Karina, thank you so much. And congratulations on doing your carbon footprinting. I'd
like to say those are the things that keep me up at night as well. So, congratulations. We have
good news for Canadian publishers, New Society Publishers, along with ECW Press. We've
put in and received a grant from Canadian Council, and we are beta testing a tool that will be
provided free to all Canadian publishers so that you can measure the carbon footprint of an
individual print run. And we're also in the process of creating a tool where you can measure
your business carbon footprint. So, those will be available by the end of this year, hopefully,
by the middle of this year. And you will definitely hear more about it through BookNet, I'm
sure, and the Green Book Alliance. So, there'll be a tool to help you with what is a difficult
measurement.
We're really short on time. It's basically time now. So, I will maybe venture to answer one
question very quickly, and those of you who have to jump off, can, and it's the question that's
been asked about the reuse of printed books. And I picked that question because it has to do
with circularity. So, the future is a circular economy. So, this regards reusing printed books
has always been contrary to the goals of for-profit publishers. What are the panel's thoughts
on making efforts to encourage the reuse of products? So, you may envisage Patagonia, for
example, who's done a lot of work on building a circular product economy. Would anyone
like to volunteer to talk about that topic? Any of the panellists? Okay.
Sandra: UTP is a not-for-profit publisher, so I can only speak to what we're doing. But we
pulp and recycle anything that we don't sell, any overstock. So, we're very much in favour of
the reuse and recycling of materials that are overstock.
EJ: New Society Publishers, we're a for-profit, but we're also mission-driven. And so, we
like to sell our remainders. We like to donate books. Every time we have our recycle list
come up, books that need to be shredded, we immediately try and sell them for a very steeply
discounted price to remainder companies. We look for places to donate the books. And being
mission-driven, we don't see that as competing with our profits. We see it as getting the
message out to a wider audience who may not otherwise have the opportunity. And failing
that, yes, they are recycled.
Norm: I mentioned...and Karina's answer to this question, if you have one, Karina, just
because we're also a not-for-profit publisher, so it's a little bit less of a consideration there.
Karina: I'm sorry. Could you repeat the question again to me?
EJ: Sorry, yes. What do you think about instead of destroying books, reusing printed books?
Karina: I think, yeah, there's the returns issue. At Nosy Crow, our policy has always been to
process and put our books back into circulation. So, we've always been very proud of our
very low returns rates at Nosy Crow. We pay the money to do that, but many publishers
don't. And it's the dirty secret in the UK publishing industry because returns are really high.
The other thing is, I think the same as you, is we will sell to...if it doesn't feel like it has a
normal trade life, then it will go to remainders. And failing that, we will send it to book
charities. So, we do everything we possibly can to not pulp in Nosy Crow. But I would say
it's a real challenge for many, and particularly big publishers, where their numbers are so
high compared to what we do at Nosy Crow. And I have worked for many of those big
publishers, and it's a cheaper thing to just throw them away. But it is something that they will
recognise, and it is something that they're trying to address.
The thing about all sustainability for me is nothing seems quick enough, fast enough, big
enough for us to have this impact and meet these targets. So, just one other thing to say about
circularity for children's books, and I think it's something that's not yet built into
sustainability models, is the number of uses of a book, and the type of book, and how many
times it's read and kept. I have many books, which I've kept for many years. I collect really
old books as well. And for us and children, we might put finishes on our books. I'm going to
be honest, we put loads of finishes on our books. Two things, one, it's meant to extend the
lifetime of that book because we intend our books to be used and used and used again. And a
lot of our books, particularly the high price point ones, we want them to be kept and
treasured for years to come. I think the other thing is to say, in the old days, you couldn't
recycle easily books with finishes, but now you can. There still would be waste. Those things
will still exist, and they probably would go into landfill. I think it depends on the kind of
book, quite honestly. Does that answer...? Sorry, I'm rambling. Does that make sense? Is that
useful?
EJ: Yes, thank you so much. So, we're about five minutes over now. Stephanie, will I pass it
back to you? And you may be able to tell people what we do with the questions if their
questions weren't answered. Thank you so much to all our panellists. That was really
interesting conversations.
Stephanie: Okay. So, thank you, EJ, Norm, Sandra, and Karina for your time, for sharing
your expertise with us. And thank you to all our attendees for joining us for this presentation.
Before we go, we'd love it if you could provide feedback on this session. So, we'll drop a link
to the survey in the chat, take a couple of minutes to fill it out. We'll also be emailing you a
link to a recording of this session as soon as it's available. We'd like to invite you as well to
join us for our upcoming session, Book Industry State of the Nation 2024, which is
scheduled for April 2nd. You can find information about all upcoming events and recordings
of previous sessions on our website, bnctechforum.ca. And if your question wasn't answered
today, feel free to send us an email, techforum@booknetcanada.ca. We'll try to track down
an answer for you. Lastly, we'd like to thank the Department of Canadian Heritage for their
support through the Canada Book Fund. And thanks, everyone, for attending.

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Transcript: Green paths: Learning from publishers’ sustainability journeys - Tech Forum 2024

  • 1. Stephanie Small: All right. Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Tech Forum session. I'm Stephanie Small. I am a product coordinator at BookNet Canada. Welcome to "Green Paths: Learning from Publishers' Sustainability Journeys." Before we get started, BookNet Canada acknowledges that its operations are remote and our colleagues contribute their work from the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Wyandot, the Mi'kmaq, the Ojibwa of Fort William First Nation, the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, which includes the Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomie, and finally, the Métis, the original nations and peoples of the lands we now call Beeton, Brampton, Guelph, Halifax, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan, and Windsor. We encourage you to visit the native-land.ca website to learn more about the peoples whose lands you are joining us from today. Moreover, BookNet endorses the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and supports an ongoing shift from gatekeeping to space-making in the book industry. The book industry has long been an industry of gatekeeping, and anyone who works at any stage of the book supply chain carries a responsibility to serve readers by publishing, promoting, and supplying works that represent the wide extent of human experiences and identities in all that complicated intersectionality. We at BookNet are committed to working with our partners in the industry as we move towards a framework that supports space-making, which ensures that marginalised creators and professionals all have the opportunity to contribute, work, and lead. In the spirit of that acknowledgement, I confirm BookNet's and my own responsibility to mend the sacred hoop with Canada's Indigenous peoples, to be an ally to all Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, and to unite and work together alongside one another. For our webinar today, if you're having difficulties with Zoom or have any tech-related questions, please put your questions in the chat, or you can email techforum@booknetcanada.ca. We're providing live ASL and closed captioning for this presentation. So, to see the captions, please find the Show Captions button in the Zoom menu at the bottom of your screen. If during the presentation you have questions for us, please use the Q&A panel found in the bottom menu. Lastly, we'd like to remind attendees of the code of conduct. Please do be kind, be inclusive, be respectful of others, including of their privacy, and be aware of your words and actions. Please report any violations to techforum@booknetcanada.ca. Please do not harass speakers, hosts, or attendees, or record these sessions. We have a zero-tolerance policy. You can find the entire code of conduct at bnctechforum.ca/code-of-conduct. So, without further ado, let me introduce the moderator for this panel, EJ Hurst. EJ is the sales manager and head of sustainability at New Society Publishers. She holds a degree in environmental studies from the University of Waterloo and joined the New Society Publishers team as a marketing coordinator in 2007. Since that time, she has been dedicated to working with the team at New Society to advance their mission to publish books for a world of change in a way that has a minimum impact on our environment. Over to you, EJ. EJ Hurst: Thank you, Stephanie. Hello, everyone. I am joining you today from the unceded traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw from First Nations in Nanaimo, and we're on
  • 2. Gabriola Island, BC. So, thank you to BookNet for putting together this event and inviting Norm Nehmetallah, Sandra Shaw, and Karina Stevens to share insights into their company's unique sustainability journeys. It's a great opportunity for sharing ideas and collaboration and getting information. Every speaker will give a short presentation following which there'll be a question-and-answer period where we can answer questions from the audience. As it was already mentioned, please feel free to put your questions into the Q&A panel as we go along. And remember, there's no stupid questions. We're all here to learn and share, and everybody's at a different stage of their journey. Incorporating sustainability practices into publishing operations can be challenging, but it's very rewarding. So, to demonstrate what small publishers can plan for and accomplish, I'll invite Norm Nehmetallah, he's the publisher at Invisible Publishing, to share some insights into their journey towards a more sustainable publishing operations. Over to you, Norm. Norm Nehmetallah: Thank you, EJ. Hi, everybody. I'm just going to share my screen and try to get my PowerPoint operating. I'm not really a PowerPoint person, so bear with me here. I'll also mention that I'm a little nervous for some reason when it comes to virtual presentations, more so for some reason also than in-person presentations, which is a new feeling that I'm exploring. So, hi, everyone. My name is Norm Nehmetallah. I'm coming to you from the north side of Fredericton, New Brunswick, directly next to Sitansisk, an urban Wolastoqey community on the Wolastoq River. Speaking of rivers, it's a privilege to be wading into the occasionally, actually mostly murky depths of sustainability in independent publishing with all of you. Before I start, I'd like to kind of at least address the elephant in my room, which is that we're meeting during an ongoing genocide in Gaza, which weighs very heavily on me and probably many of you, and is also itself a climate catastrophe. So, it does feel a little futile to be discussing sustainability and that kind of stuff in the face of that. Okay. So, I'm going to situate the press a little bit before jumping into our constantly evolving attempts to be as sustainable as possible. I'm really interested in the rest of this panel, actually, mostly because I know what we're already doing vis-a-vis sustainability, but also because we're all such different publishers, and I admire the publishing program so much of the other attendees here. So, excited for that. And I'll try to talk as little as possible. So, Invisible Publishing is a not-for-profit indie publishing company. We were founded in 2007 as a cooperative in Halifax by three friends, one of whom, Megan Fildes, still works at the press as our art director. We publish primarily Canadian fiction, nonfiction, and poetry with a focus on emerging writers in both English and increasingly in translation. So, our team currently consists of me, the publisher, Kim Griffiths, our director of editorial and production, Megan Fildes, our art director, and Jules Wilson, our publicist. Our primary editorial team, who mostly live in Ontario, consists of Bryan Ibeas, Del Cowie, Alicia Elliott, and Bart Vautour. All of us work remotely, except for Kim, who manages our physical office space and inventory above the historic Regent Theatre in downtown Picton, Ontario. We publish eight to ten books a year, and I myself have worked in publishing for nine years, first at Biblioasis and then at Coach House Books and Penguin Random House Canada. I took the reins at Invisible from Leigh Nash, who I hope most of you know, two years ago. And I was lucky enough to be coming at accessibility from the same mindset as Leigh, and I've
  • 3. inherited so many good processes and systems from her, as well as, you know, many elements of this presentation by virtue of that. So, very grateful to her. So, at our size... Sorry, I forgot to move to the next slide. This will tell you some steps that I just said. So, at our size, or perhaps at any size, I think that one of the most important considerations of sustainability in publishing and maybe just generally is to keep one's scope somewhat limited. And I recognize that that isn't possible for everyone. And so, you know, coming from a small, independent, not-for-profit publisher, just based on the kind of work that we're interested in publishing at Invisible, we don't tend to publish cookbooks or kids' books or full-colour books at all. So, that obviously lessens our impact environmentally and also kind of tightens up our considerations. We only publish at most 10 books a year, and less books means less printing, less shipping, less of a strain kind of mentally and work-wise on our team, and more attention paid to the authors, especially, again, at our size and our level of financial resources. So, that's kind of, I think, the principle that undergirds our approach. So, I thought for this presentation that I would basically just take you through kind of the elements of our production processes and the things that we kind of do at Invisible to maintain our sustainability standards. We don't have a kind of grand plan so much as we try to approach this whole enterprise piece by piece and figure out where we could be improving from...you know, as things as small as the kinds of envelopes that we ship our books in to things as big as, you know, like what they're made of and how they get to where they need to go. So, we print all of our books at a small family-owned printer in Quebec, Imprimerie Gauvin. Because of that relationship and their size, because they're also a relatively small- sized printer, we can have in-depth one-on-one conversations with them about specific books, paper stocks, what might work, where we can kind of, you know, do very small things to have larger impacts. They have a similar environmental consideration as us, so we're often coming to each book on the same page, which is really nice. Because we only use one printer, we can also consolidate shipments of all our books in a season. So, we're even going so far as to...well, when we can, to plan publication dates and shipping dates around consolidating stock and kind of lessening our environmental impact that way so that we have less trucks on the road carrying our books. So, all of that has required further planning in advance. You know, we can't be as last-minute with our books because we try to group publication shipments, even if, you know, books are coming out a month or two months after one another. So, that does require a little bit of work, and it's something that we're constantly trying to meet, although very rarely actually meeting it. And vis-a-vis printer, in fact, they were the ones almost eight years ago now who turned us on to, at the time, a company called Rolland Enviro Print, is the paper that we use. They're now called Sustana, which is the paper that we use for all of our books. And then the last thing on the printing front, they also happen to be very close to our office, just a few hours away. So, we cut down on shipping costs and all of the impacts of that. I've kind of boiled it down when thinking of publishing to the two main things being...or the three main things, I suppose, being printing the actual products that we're making, shipping, which, unfortunately, is involved in everything, and travel, people shipping, if you will.
  • 4. So, paper. Paper standards are all over the map. This is probably something that everybody on this webinar knows, and there's no singular definition, unfortunately, of eco-friendly paper. However, all of our books are printed on Sustana, Enviro, and Cover. So, Sustana contains 100% post-consumer fiber, is manufactured using renewable energy, which is biogas, and there's some of the interesting stuff on their website about that, and is processed chlorine-free. Plus, it's SFC and ancient forest-friendly certified. And I think that that's a fairly common thing, maybe, in Canada, especially. One thing that we do a little bit differently is that all of our covers are printed on uncoated paper. So, while that increases the risk of damage, it also makes them less the glue on their spines, fully recyclable and compostable. So, we don't use spot, glass, or foil, we don't use French flaps. And this is something I think that a lot of people are worried about doing because of the possibility for increased damage, but we fielded relatively few complaints in regard to damage. And in fact, the kind of texture that uncoated paper gives each book in the colour absorption that's kind of particular to the coating, or the lack of coating, gives our books a really cohesive and recognisable look and feel, both in stores, but especially when we do things like fairs or events. So, that's actually kind of played into the aesthetic of the press and helped us create a brand in ways beyond, you know, print advertising, things like that. So, I think that that has become a positive for us, both environmentally and also just bringing recognisability to our books. So, using a ton of Sustana EnviroPrint rather than virgin paper saves the equivalent of 24 trees, 1,773 gallons of water, and 3,402 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. So, I feel like that's one of the biggest ways that we've made this commitment to sustainability. And then tied into all of that is trim sizes. So, again, tied into kind of scope and keeping it limited, we only have three trim sizes, and the vast majority of our books are all one trim size, which is 5 inch by 8 inch. This makes it easier to predict the size of boxes, easier to consolidate shipments, both from our printer, as I said earlier, but also, you know, from our own office, and adds to the kind of aesthetic cohesion that I mentioned earlier because all the books kind of sit the same on a shelf. Next thing is print runs and inventory management. So, this is, I guess, the kind of bane of all production and inventory people's lives, but it's very difficult to manage inventory in the book industry. So, as much as possible, all of our books are produced in small batches and reprinted to meet demand and avoid waste. Yes, that does lead to higher printing costs per unit, but it's also nice to have to think less about pulping, storage costs, things like that. I'm lucky that we're a not-for-profit publisher. You know, we don't have an owner. Obviously, we try to make money, and all of the money goes back into, you know, running our operation and paying our authors, but it means that we can kind of stomach making a little bit less on each book for those considerations. So, tied to those print run sizes are the goal that we've been able to meet, thankfully, with the help of lots of other people, especially Laura Brady, to have accessible digital editions available simultaneously. And, yes, I feel like there's a caveat to virtually all of these points. Reading devices for e-books require the mining of resources from the earth, but those folks aren't buying readers specifically for our books and are often reading on phones and laptops that they use for other purposes. We think of this as an element of sustainability still. That
  • 5. said, also, climate justice is intrinsically tied to disability justice and many other forms of justice. So, we think that this is a really important point, too. Tied to that, we offer both finished and advanced PDF and EPUB copies to potential reviewers first, and we offer printed advanced copies on demand to reduce overprinting and subsequent waste, and we've also made the switch to digital-only catalogues via CataList and Edelweiss. All of these things have...they have a cost. You know, they sometimes disappoint authors, sometimes disappoint reviewers, and things like that. So, it's all a bit of a balance, but that's something that we've made a kind of explicit attempt at. So, that leads me to author and staff education. Again, as a not-for-profit publisher, we actually have a mission, which is to support literary communities and emerging writers. And we see education as a big part of our responsibility. So, when we discuss author touring, galleys and advanced copies, print materials, and especially things like swag with authors and our staff, we try to make sustainability at the forefront of that conversation. Sometimes that can lead to difficult conversations, but I find that the line of thinking that, you know, we try to put everything into the books, the content of the books, the way that we discuss the books, phone calls with independent bookstores, kind of the personal touch that we bring to every book as the counterpoint to some of the more unsustainable, I suppose, practices. And, yeah, that leads to, I guess, local sales events. So, something that we're working on now is scaling back our staff travel as events are ramping back up, both kind of consumer-facing events like Word on the Street and also things like the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Brooklyn Book Festival, etc. So, this is a really tough thing because I feel like, you know, there's a lot of FOMO, real or imagined, that comes with missing these kind of things. And we don't miss all of them, but we are trying to think more and more about this. And to offset that, we are thinking more about kind of creating sustainable, both financially and environmentally, local events in our own communities. Now, that's kind of an interesting thing when you have a remote publishing company. But I live in Fredericton, and just as an example, this past Christmas, we had a big holiday book market here with local publishers that made a phenomenal amount of money and had a huge impact on the literary community here and didn't require us to ship anything or travel anywhere. So, we are skipping Word on the Street this year for many reasons, but one of the major considerations was that we would have to travel there, and if we are doing more things like these sort of local sales events, we can kind of cut down on things like that. And I guess the last thing I wanted to talk about was shipping. So, when we were in Toronto, our office was in Toronto for about a year and a half, and it just moved to Picton in November, we used a service called Good Foot Delivery. And this is something that I kind of wanted to turn on all the people in Toronto to. Good Foot Delivery is a not-for-profit company that provides meaningful employment for the neurodiverse community through a reliable professional courier service delivered via public transit and on foot. So, we had many meetings with them, and we got a really good rate that essentially made our book sales in our kind of inter-office delivery within Toronto cheaper to go through Good Foot, and there was virtually no emissions tied to that because all of the couriers were going via transit or on foot. And so, that's an amazing service that I'm really sad not to be able to use anymore. And then
  • 6. for our direct-to-consumer sales, all of our envelopes and boxes are recyclable or reusable, given the conditions. So, that's kind of where we're at in terms of sustainability very broadly and the kind of measures on a kind of like part-by-part basis that we try to bring to our publishing program. What keeps us up at night probably keeps all of you up at night, both in terms of money and also in terms of sustainability, which is shipping. We still haven't been able to solve the problem of shipping. I'm not entirely convinced by kind of so-called carbon-neutral or shipping or buying offsets and things like that, and books are dense, and they're very heavy. And that to me is both huge financial concern, but also a huge environmental concern. And unfortunately, print-on-demand services, for instance, ones that are located in Australia that would save us the emissions of having to ship to Australia, don't tend to use recycled paper right now. So, the virgin paper is kind of a thing that we're not willing to do. Travel, like I mentioned earlier, we're really trying to cut back on that, but unfortunately, it's still necessitated for a few events and returns, which I think is a whole can of worms that I'm not even really willing to get into, and then all the regular existential indie publishing questions. So, that's it for my presentation. I'll start sharing my screen now. EJ: Thank you so much, Norm. I empathise with many things that you've said. I really like the way you're allowing sustainability goals to lead your business model and your publishing scope. I feel envious of your format sizes. I've proposed that idea at our company and that it kind of interferes with the artistic design of some books. So, I'll re-approach that idea. And also, shipping heavy books is a difficult problem. And I think that perhaps Sandra may have some information for it. Sandra is our next speaker, Sandra Shaw from the University of Toronto Press. She's Canada's... Sorry, University of Toronto Press is Canada's leading academic publisher and one of the largest university presses in North America. So, Sandra, if you'd like to share your presentation. Sandra Shaw: Thank you, EJ. Let me just share my screen. Sorry. All right. Well, thank you, everyone, for being here. It's wonderful to be a part of this panel. I'm Sandra Shaw. I'm the director for editorial design and production at the University of Toronto Press. And before I begin speaking about our sustainability journey, let me tell you a little bit about the press. UTP is a nonprofit mission-driven university press that was founded in 1901. There are two publishing divisions or publishing units at the press, journals and books. Our journals unit publishes over 65 scholarly journals online and in print and in a variety of disciplines, including social sciences, humanities, and medicine. We publish over 3,000 articles per year, and our content is read in 190 countries. Our book publishing unit publishes around 200 books per year, including scholarly monographs, textbooks, and trade nonfiction. Books are published in print and ebook format. In 2023, UTP launched its audiobook program, and we're now publishing select titles in audiobook format as well. What makes UTP unique is that we have a distribution and a retail division. Our distribution division works with over 200 publishers to distribute materials and has warehouses in New York State and in Toronto. Our retail division manages the five University of Toronto bookstores across three campuses, which gives us a direct connection to students and faculty at U of T. UTP's mission is to connect ideas for a better world. One of
  • 7. the ways we achieve this goal is to partner with organisations that promote equitable access to knowledge, a healthy environment, and positive global transformation. Three of these organisations include the United Nations, C40 Cities, and Research4Life. And I'll speak more about each of these organisations later in the presentation. I'll begin with some of our strategies for success. We've already begun our sustainability journey and we've already made a number of positive changes across the press towards achieving sustainability. We've done this by staying on top of industry activity and seeking out opportunities and resources, which has led to some of the partnerships I just mentioned a moment ago. By cultivating a global and diverse network of authors, editors, and reviewers, we've been able to develop and publish content related to climate and sustainability while ensuring we're representing voices from around the world. UTP engages internal teams and stakeholders by communicating advances in the area of sustainability and by promoting these activities to motivate and inspire our employees and customers and other people that we work with. Externally, we also communicate with customers and other external parties about the initiatives that we've undertaken so they're aware of the journey that we're taking towards sustainability. We work with vendors such as printers and transportation companies who follow sustainable practices and have the same values and goals as UTP. And finally, we continue to learn about what other organisations in the industry are doing by attending webinars and discussions such as this one today. Challenges include time, which I think is a common challenge for most publishers. Finding the time to invest in these initiatives is always a challenge with time being the commodity that it is. However, UTP does recognize the value and the importance of being a sustainable publisher and to making a contribution to the publishing industry and landscape. And so, we have dedicated time to these important initiatives. Another challenge that we faced is with our infrastructure. So, in some cases, our systems and our workflows were not initially developed with sustainable practices in mind, like using print-on-demand or converting some of our formats to a digital format. And so, we've had to update tools and processes along the way to support these alternative formats, these new print workflows. And we have dedicated time, staff, and resources to this process. Finally, as with everything, there is a cost associated with implementing sustainable strategies. We've made a large investment into updating our tools, into engaging new vendors who follow sustainable practices, in communicating change both externally and internally, and develop new products that focus on the subject area of climate and sustainability. In our distribution division, they have had challenges such as truck driver shortages, fuel and equipment price instability, international instability, and supply chain issues. Now, we'll speak a little bit about some of our success stories as we continue through our sustainability journey. UTP collaborates with printers and distributors to minimise their carbon footprint by using vendors in Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Europe to reduce the transportation impact by printing and distributing locally. UTP uses print-on-demand to reduce overstock, limiting the effects of storage on the environment, such as physical space and the consumption of electricity and other resources. As I mentioned earlier, UTP works with printers who follow sustainable practices such as reuse and recycling, compliance with
  • 8. environmental laws and regulations, and using vegetable-based inks and recycled wooden pallets. Finally, UTP uses Forest Stewardship Council or FSC certified products, ensuring that our materials come from verified and responsible sources that have met FSC's strict environmental and social requirements. UTP is a proud signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which were established to inspire organisations globally to commit to sustainable practices, to improve health and education around the world, reduce inequality, spur economic growth, and prevent further climate change. There are 17 SDGs, which you can see in the graphic, including ending poverty, producing affordable and clean energy, developing sustainable cities and communities, and taking climate action. As part of this initiative, UTP has signed the Publishers Compact along with hundreds of other publishers from around the globe. The Publishers Compact was launched in collaboration with the International Publishers Association and aims to accelerate progress to achieve the SDGs by 2030. There are 10 goals for publishers, which include a commitment to actively promoting and acquiring content that advocates for sustainability, strengthening the environment, justice and equality, as well as ensuring publishers dedicate budget and other resources to promote SDG principles and achieve these goals. UTP is committed to publishing content that supports and promotes SDG principles, and here is just a small selection of some of our recent book titles that we've printed in this area, or that we've published in this area. UTP also publishes journals content that focuses on climate change and sustainability, and in some cases, we publish in areas where you may not expect there to be a connection with climate change. For example, we recently published an issue of the Canadian Theatre Review that looked at the connection between climate change and theatre, from building ecologically-friendly set designs to staging productions about sustainability. We also published a special section on climate in Seminar, "A journal of Germanic Studies," which looked at how to incorporate positive attitudes towards sustainability, or a green mindset in teaching. We also published a special issue of the "Canadian Journal of Film Studies," which looked at climate change and the cinema, and how cinema can be used to engage audiences in discourse and action related to climate change. One of our most important relationships began in 2020 when UTP published a book with former Toronto Mayor David Miller, entitled "Solved." David Miller is an economist and a lawyer by training, but he has a passion for halting climate change and promoting sustainable practices. In his book, "Solved," David Miller discusses how cities around the world are working together to address the global climate crisis. David Miller is currently the managing director for the Centre for City Climate Policy and Economy at C40 Cities. C40 Cities is a global network of over 100 cities from around the world working together to address the global climate crisis. The mayors of these cities are committed to using an inclusive, science- based, and collaborative approach to cut their fair share of emissions in half by 2030 to help the world limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and build healthy, equitable, and resilient communities.
  • 9. This map illustrates the global reach of C40 Cities. Why cities? Cities are important in the fight against climate change because while they occupy only 2% of the world's landmass, cities consume around 75% of the world's energy. They create over 70% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and cities generate over 80% of the world's GDP. In 2022, UTP launched the "Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy" in partnership with C40 Cities and David Miller. David Miller serves as the editor for the journal. The journal aims to be a vehicle into research policy and economic change that is required to drive the climate agenda. The journal was launched under the subscribed open model to encourage broad global dissemination of research and to provide a relatively low cost for the research community. In relation to the "Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy," UTP also developed and launched the "Cities 1.5" podcast in partnership with C40 Cities. This is meant to complement David Miller's book and the journal. The podcast features progressive policy conversations with urban leaders and is hosted by David Miller. Guests include mayors, policymakers, economists, youth leaders, and scholars who are all working towards transformative solutions to the world's most pressing climate challenges and features new episodes every week. UTP also has proudly partnered with Research4Life for more than 10 years to provide free access to all of our journal content to institutions in low and middle-income countries. Research4Life provides these institutions with online access to academic or with online access to academic and peer-reviewed content from a variety of disciplines. Their goal is to ensure that valuable information around research, policymaking and health, agriculture and the environment is available to communities who may not otherwise be able to afford access to this content. At this time, 125 low and middle-income countries receive free or low-cost access to content from up to 200 publishers around the world. Over 11,000 institutions are registered with Research4Life and users can access over 200,000 scientific journals, books, and databases. There are five programs within Research4Life that provide access to resources related to health, agriculture, the environment, innovation, and global justice. And finally, in terms of next steps, while UTP is very proud of the accomplishments that we've made to date and the work that we have done towards implementing sustainable practices and publishing valuable research about climate and the environment, of course, there is always more work that can be done. One of our main goals for this year is to expand our print-on-demand practices to grow our global network of printers and distributors in regions such as Asia and Australia and to set up all UTP books under this model. The distribution division at UTP is also working to expand their print-on-demand services by partnering with local printers in Canada to provide sustainable options for Canadian printers to reduce overstock and the effects of unnecessary transportation. As part of this work, we will also realize improved inventory management both in publishing and distribution. UTP will continue to offer digital alternatives to print such as ebook, audiobook, online publishing, and podcasts. And finally, with many of these initiatives in place or soon to be in place, the next step will be to gather and analyse data to assess the benefits of the work that we've done and look towards what comes next. Thank you.
  • 10. EJ: Thank you so much, Sandra. I'm so interested in all the tools you're publishing and the content you're publishing to address climate change. And I liked your first slide where you outline a list of strategies to follow because following those strategies can help you identify what's most important, what can be done easily in the short-term, and then also what's a long- term project with more investment. And now, finally, to inspire us and provide an international perspective, we have Karina Stevens, who's the production director at UK's multi-award-winning independent children's publishing company, the Nosy Crow. Please go ahead, Sandra. Oh, sorry, Karina. Karina Stevens: Right. I'm going to attempt to share my screen. It didn't work previously, so let's see. Okay. Okay. Can everybody see my slides okay? Firstly, I just want to apologise in advance to the ASL interpreter because I've been told to speak really quickly. So, I really apologise. I've never had to do one of these with an interpreter or a captioner before. So, this is revolutionary to me. Also, I just want to point out, obviously, that I'm from a UK publishing house, and it's occurring to me as I'm hearing these presentations that I'm incredibly ignorant about the Canadian publishing scene and what sustainability means to you and how you're approaching it. It's really interesting and how different it is. And it makes me think that sharing across territories is something we should absolutely be doing more of. Right, let me just start, actually. I also just want to say apologies in advance. I have a bit of a rubbish internet connection when it rains here, which it does all the time. My internet home is a bit poor. So, my name is Karina Stevens. I am the production director at Nosy Crow. A bit about Nosy Crow is we are an SME with rapid growth, I would say, founded in 2011. So, we're about 13 years old now. And we publish the full range of children's products, very different from what you've seen so far today, incredibly different. Please do feel free to go to our website because I think I haven't got enough time here to show you all the types of things that we do. But, yeah, we publish children's books from nought to 12 years old. And we publish full gamut from black and white fiction, colour picture books, nonfiction, and we do a whole host of novelty books for children from the ages of nought, from birth to 3. So, yeah, we're just going to talk a bit about myself, starting at Nosy Crow, my background, just to give you a little bit of context. Implementing a sustainability strategy and focusing on Scope 3. You got to be in it to win it. It will become clear when we get to those slides. Challenges and finding balance, and where Nosy Crow are today, and what we're hoping to do tomorrow. So, a bit about me. This is my favourite photo of myself at paper mill in Finland, in front of a super roll. I have worked for seven publishing companies in my career. I won't tell you how long I've been in publishing for, it was a very long time. I started out in Octopus Publishing, actually the Hamlyn division, which was then managed by Octopus and now they are part of Hachette. Then I went to an independent publisher in Anness for a brief period, and then I spent most of my career at Penguin where I was there for like 13 years. And I worked across all the imprints there, but mostly on the children's, of which there's a few of the logos there. Then I went from Penguin to Macmillan, actually Pan Macmillan, where I looked after their children's division. I hope some of you have heard of "The Gruffalo," and actually Axel Scheffler, who is the illustrator of "The Gruffalo," he is one of the owners and original founders of Nosy Crow. Then I went from Macmillan to Little Tiger,
  • 11. also was independent children's publisher. Since I left there, they then had gone into partnership with PRH US. Then I went to Bonnier Books, where I was the group production director, and after that I left and went to Nosy Crow. Okay. So, I just want to give a bit of background context to the state of the nation when I started at Nosy Crow. I was hired as a temporary contract for a maternity cover for the then head of operations and production, and I had about six hours of handover before she had to leave unexpectedly early due to high blood pressure. The situation was we were knee-deep in supply chain crisis caused by the ever given blocking the Suez Canal. I don't know if any of you were affected by that. It's something I never want to go through again. And on the result of that, we had skyrocketing prices, particularly in freight, and also in conjunction with that was just the sheer rate of growth of Nosy Crow. Nosy Crow has grown roughly a third year on year since it began. As I said, we publish a full range of children's books, all the different formats. All our fiction is printed in the UK, but we do a huge amount. The vast majority of what we publish is actually children's board books and novelty, and that is published in China. Then with that comes all the issues of freight. Where were we when I started in June 2021? We were using mostly FSC paper, but not all. I won't go into the explanations of FSC paper since Sandra gave a very good explanation of that already. We belong to a group called the Book Chain Project. I don't know if any of you are familiar with this. I think the slides will be shared with you, but I do really recommend...and I will talk about it a little bit more later on, but I do really recommend that you check them out. This is essentially a group which was founded by UK publishers, and there are three tools within them. I'll talk a little bit more about that later. Being members of the Book Chain Project has been fundamental to us progressing in our sustainability journey at Nosy Crow. And I would say it's the same for many publishers in the UK. Part of our supply chain policy was to have internationally recognised labour audits, of which top of the list is ICT, and we also accept Sedex 4-pillar, which includes environmental standards. Really, I'm not going to go through this because I'm sure you all know what Scopes 1, 2 and 3 are, but essentially for us in the publishing world, Scope 3 is really where it's at when you're talking about carbon. I have a question for people actually, which I'm not expecting you to answer here, but I was interested that nobody's mentioned about mapping their carbon footprint. It really is the biggest focus amongst UK publishers that the first step is to map your carbon footprint to know how much carbon that you are actually producing as a business in order to set targets to reduce that and to do it in a very scientific and audited way. It's incredibly difficult for a business which has all the different types of products and manufacturing. We literally manufacture it all over the world, and our customers are all over the world. Although we do do ebooks and we do do audio, most of our books are for children, and therefore the physical nature of that book is essential to the success of our publishing. You can't obviously...well, you could, they were genius, I guess, but you can't really give electronic goods to a baby, and the physical nature of what we produce is as important as the content in children's publishing, for young children. So, focusing on Scope 3. I've had many conversations with people in the publishing industry about this because I have to say one of
  • 12. the biggest challenges is just knowing what it all means, understanding the jargon, knowing what you have to do. It's mind-boggling, it's huge, it's complex, it's constantly changing, and so really for us, focusing on Scope 3, it is you have to focus on the paper. It is the biggest for us, and in my business, it is the biggest place where your carbon is being produced. And therefore focusing on our paper, reducing our tonnage, that has to be our number one priority if we're going to reduce our carbon footprint. And so, one of the things that we have done is we have swapped our boards for lightweight boards which still bulk the same. So, these two series, we literally produce millions of these for customers all around the world every year. Nosy Crow turns over around about £24 million a year. We publish 150 new titles a year in the UK, and we have these huge series of the "Where's Mr Lion" is a series called "Felt Flaps," and the one below is a "Bizzy Bear" series. And we print these in batches because they're enormous. We'll do at least half a million per batch over multiple titles. So, you can imagine the sheer amount of paper that we're consuming in order to produce these is significant. So, for any changes, any reductions that we can make in the tonnage of using those will have the biggest, most immediate effect on our carbon footprint. So, we were using a 350-gram board. I'm not sure how that translates into Canadian terms. Someone will have to do that calculation for me. But essentially, we sourced a new lighter weight board, but that's still bulked the same. So, there was no discernible difference to the customer at all. But as a result, we reduced our tonnage by 7% by doing that. And that's something I'm incredibly proud of. We also coincidentally reduced our costs by doing that. And sort of linking your sustainability strategy, which I have to say we aren't not for profit, is something that I think as a business we need to do. I'm very aware I haven't got much time, so I'm going to race through these. So, yeah, you got to be in it to win it. This is one of the biggest challenges I think as a small to medium enterprise, is your resource. And just being informed, being involved, going to the forums, going to the meetings, speaking when you go to them, having an opinion, wanting to learn, being open to ideas, these, for me, in the strategy are essential. And these are just a few of the groups that I belong to. I belong to many forums and groups and projects, and I spend a lot of my time, and my own personal time, quite honestly, being involved in these and, yeah, taking part. For the Book Chain Project, there are three major tools. One is forest sourcing, the second one is chemicals and materials, and third one is labour environment, and they all touch upon sustainability. There are links in my slides to them, which will tell you a bit about what they all do. I highly recommend that people join if they possibly can. The labour environment tool is for free. There is a cheaper version of the forest resource. In this one, I don't know if any of you know about it, but essentially, we manage the provenance of our papers. Through that, all our suppliers also have to submit environmental questionnaires, and it's starting that journey of mapping carbon footprint through our suppliers and through paper mills. The chemicals and materials is really...for us, it's important for our safety testing for children's product because they have to meet so many levels of legislation depending on where you're publishing or where you're selling to. And it's actually very technical and a huge amount of work. But these and being involved, speaking
  • 13. up, having an opinion, learning, these things are incredibly important, and the Book Chain Project is a huge part of my sustainability journey. And then just challenges and balance. These are the challenges for us, which is knowledge, just learning about this stuff. Man, there's so much stuff and it changes all the time, all the different acronyms, jargon, just constantly learning and being involved. Your resource and your time. When I started at Nosy Crow, there were five people in my team. I now have 10. And we're growing hugely. So, at Nosy Crow itself, we're just over 50 people when I started, and we're almost 100 now. This is the rate of change that we're going through. And putting sustainability at the top of the agenda is a challenge. And I'm always thinking about this urgent versus important matrix. And for me, it's pushing that to the top of the agenda for the leadership in my business all the time. Commercial reality, I think has been said before, it's not cheap to be sustainable. It's not the cheapest option. But we are a business that is for profit. So, having to balance that is a challenge. And capacity and capability is literally...there is not the capacity or the capability in Europe to produce most of the products that we publish at Nosy Crow. There is no capability outside of China really, very limited to do hand-assembled novelty board books. And that is a challenge. So, there will always be an element of freight that is involved. But at the minute, for us, due to sheer numbers, freight produces near 19% less carbon than road freight for us to the same destination because we do not have electrified fleets in Europe yet. And most of that energy is coming from fossil fuels. So, I think also knowing where your energy is coming from, understanding where your supplier's energy is coming from, so knowing what sustainability strategies your suppliers are having is also incredibly important. And legislation, for us, I'm not sure what the state of the nation is in Canada. But in Europe, there is a lot of legislation. And it's increasing and growing all the time. The latest one is EU deforestation regulation, which means any products which might have contributed to deforestation are banned in the EU from the end of this year. And we have to prove the provenance of our books, the paper, the wood source of our books, that it doesn't come from areas which might have been deforested. The fact that we use 100% FSC-certified paper now is in our favour. The FSC is having to work very hard in order to provide this information. It's so in depth that you have to now provide the geolocation of the wood source of your paper if you are going to import into Europe. And it also applies to other commodities such as soy, cattle, chocolate, cocoa, these kinds of things as well. But wood, obviously, for us, is the major one. And green washing. This isn't my personal bug, but I'm just going to have a little minute just to say about this because I come across this in all the many, many forums because so many publishers in my experience are seemingly more concerned with appearing green than really doing the hard work because it's not an easy thing to achieve. And guarding against that, that the changes that you're making, that the policies that you're putting in place have real meaning and impact. And it's not just something that you can have a good news story about. It is a challenge. And it's really hard. But then I have to say, you know, these are the things that keep me up at night and make me spend my personal time investing in our sustainability strategy at Nosy Crow.
  • 14. And this is where we are. We have just finished mapping our baseline carbon footprint at Nosy Crow. It was a massive, massive amount of work. It's not perfect by any means. The means in which you can map your carbon footprint are very challenging. But that, for me, is our biggest trick because now it means we can set targets and we can move forward. One of the things we'd like to be able to do is set science-based targets initiatives to verify our mapping and set targets. I would love us to be carbon-neutral by 2030. I have to admit, I don't think we're going to get there at the minute. It's a challenge. And then, yeah, these are the things also, like offsetting is going to have to be a part of our strategy because there is nothing else at the minute that's available to us within our current business model. And so, I think this is going to have to be a stopgap. When I'm thinking about offsetting, I am very conscious, and I'm part of a big offsetting project group, which is looking into what is available in terms of offsetting, and not all offsetting is equal. And I'm very interested in carbon offsetting projects where they are doing carbon reuse and capture, you know, things like that. Circularity, I think longevity products or something, you know, these things are not yet built into what is available to us. I would love to be able to sign up to the SDGs Publishers Compact. I'm very jealous of UTP that they've done that already. And that is something definitely on our horizon. Yeah. And just really doing everything we can in order to continue with doing better. And it's a journey, it's a struggle. And, yeah, any questions? And that's it for me. EJ: Karina, thank you so much. And congratulations on doing your carbon footprinting. I'd like to say those are the things that keep me up at night as well. So, congratulations. We have good news for Canadian publishers, New Society Publishers, along with ECW Press. We've put in and received a grant from Canadian Council, and we are beta testing a tool that will be provided free to all Canadian publishers so that you can measure the carbon footprint of an individual print run. And we're also in the process of creating a tool where you can measure your business carbon footprint. So, those will be available by the end of this year, hopefully, by the middle of this year. And you will definitely hear more about it through BookNet, I'm sure, and the Green Book Alliance. So, there'll be a tool to help you with what is a difficult measurement. We're really short on time. It's basically time now. So, I will maybe venture to answer one question very quickly, and those of you who have to jump off, can, and it's the question that's been asked about the reuse of printed books. And I picked that question because it has to do with circularity. So, the future is a circular economy. So, this regards reusing printed books has always been contrary to the goals of for-profit publishers. What are the panel's thoughts on making efforts to encourage the reuse of products? So, you may envisage Patagonia, for example, who's done a lot of work on building a circular product economy. Would anyone like to volunteer to talk about that topic? Any of the panellists? Okay. Sandra: UTP is a not-for-profit publisher, so I can only speak to what we're doing. But we pulp and recycle anything that we don't sell, any overstock. So, we're very much in favour of the reuse and recycling of materials that are overstock. EJ: New Society Publishers, we're a for-profit, but we're also mission-driven. And so, we like to sell our remainders. We like to donate books. Every time we have our recycle list
  • 15. come up, books that need to be shredded, we immediately try and sell them for a very steeply discounted price to remainder companies. We look for places to donate the books. And being mission-driven, we don't see that as competing with our profits. We see it as getting the message out to a wider audience who may not otherwise have the opportunity. And failing that, yes, they are recycled. Norm: I mentioned...and Karina's answer to this question, if you have one, Karina, just because we're also a not-for-profit publisher, so it's a little bit less of a consideration there. Karina: I'm sorry. Could you repeat the question again to me? EJ: Sorry, yes. What do you think about instead of destroying books, reusing printed books? Karina: I think, yeah, there's the returns issue. At Nosy Crow, our policy has always been to process and put our books back into circulation. So, we've always been very proud of our very low returns rates at Nosy Crow. We pay the money to do that, but many publishers don't. And it's the dirty secret in the UK publishing industry because returns are really high. The other thing is, I think the same as you, is we will sell to...if it doesn't feel like it has a normal trade life, then it will go to remainders. And failing that, we will send it to book charities. So, we do everything we possibly can to not pulp in Nosy Crow. But I would say it's a real challenge for many, and particularly big publishers, where their numbers are so high compared to what we do at Nosy Crow. And I have worked for many of those big publishers, and it's a cheaper thing to just throw them away. But it is something that they will recognise, and it is something that they're trying to address. The thing about all sustainability for me is nothing seems quick enough, fast enough, big enough for us to have this impact and meet these targets. So, just one other thing to say about circularity for children's books, and I think it's something that's not yet built into sustainability models, is the number of uses of a book, and the type of book, and how many times it's read and kept. I have many books, which I've kept for many years. I collect really old books as well. And for us and children, we might put finishes on our books. I'm going to be honest, we put loads of finishes on our books. Two things, one, it's meant to extend the lifetime of that book because we intend our books to be used and used and used again. And a lot of our books, particularly the high price point ones, we want them to be kept and treasured for years to come. I think the other thing is to say, in the old days, you couldn't recycle easily books with finishes, but now you can. There still would be waste. Those things will still exist, and they probably would go into landfill. I think it depends on the kind of book, quite honestly. Does that answer...? Sorry, I'm rambling. Does that make sense? Is that useful? EJ: Yes, thank you so much. So, we're about five minutes over now. Stephanie, will I pass it back to you? And you may be able to tell people what we do with the questions if their questions weren't answered. Thank you so much to all our panellists. That was really interesting conversations. Stephanie: Okay. So, thank you, EJ, Norm, Sandra, and Karina for your time, for sharing your expertise with us. And thank you to all our attendees for joining us for this presentation. Before we go, we'd love it if you could provide feedback on this session. So, we'll drop a link
  • 16. to the survey in the chat, take a couple of minutes to fill it out. We'll also be emailing you a link to a recording of this session as soon as it's available. We'd like to invite you as well to join us for our upcoming session, Book Industry State of the Nation 2024, which is scheduled for April 2nd. You can find information about all upcoming events and recordings of previous sessions on our website, bnctechforum.ca. And if your question wasn't answered today, feel free to send us an email, techforum@booknetcanada.ca. We'll try to track down an answer for you. Lastly, we'd like to thank the Department of Canadian Heritage for their support through the Canada Book Fund. And thanks, everyone, for attending.