Environment

Environmental Policy

The Environment

Bloomsbury takes its environmental responsibility very seriously. We believe that a
responsible and sustainable business allows us to respond to stakeholder expectations and
to manage a range of emerging risks, including in the important area of climate change.
We aim to reduce the environmental impact of our business wherever possible.

Governance

The diagram below illustrates the governance structures in place at Bloomsbury to manage climate change and sustainability topics.

The Board has responsibility for approving substantive strategies for reducing the environmental impact of Bloomsbury’s business and addressing climate risk. The Executive Committee, supported by the Sustainability Steering Committee, is responsible for the formulation and execution of the Group’s sustainability roadmap, including tracking progress towards its climate-related targets.

The Board and Executive Committee are briefed on climate-related matters by way of regular updates from the Head of Sustainability on progress against the Group’s sustainability objectives as well as through education sessions to communicate relevant developments in climate policy, research, and debate, and climate-related regulatory requirements relevant to the Group. This has included a session on the Group’s response to the Task Force on Climate- Related Disclosures (“TCFD”) recommendations and project work in respect of the Group’s climate transition planning. 

During the year, our governance of climate-related matters was enhanced by the establishment of a cross-functional TCFD Steering Committee to support our work towards compliance with the recommendations of the TCFD and the work of our Sustainability Steering Committee, which oversees sustainability initiatives and objectives, including the setting of science based targets to reduce Bloomsbury’s environmental footprint. Both committees are chaired by the Head of Sustainability and comprise members of the Executive Committee and key stakeholders from relevant functions and divisions within the Company. The TCFD and Sustainability Steering Committees have joint responsibility for developing Bloomsbury’s strategic response to climate change.

2021/2022 Progress

During the year, we have made significant strides in our work on environmental sustainability, building on the strong progress made in the prior year. The illustration below sets out some of the key milestones achieved in 2021/2022.

“It is imperative that we embed sustainable principles in the way that we operate and the books and digital resources we publish. Furthermore, to achieve real progress towards net-zero, we must work together as an industry to implement low carbon opportunities in our shared networks. We will actively seek opportunities to take leadership in tackling climate issues at Bloomsbury. In my role as President of the UK Publisher’s Association, I am encouraging the acceleration of action throughout  the industry.”

Nigel Newton Chief Executive

Environmental policy

During 2021/2022, we published our environmental policy to communicate to staff, customers, suppliers and investors our commitment to measure and reduce carbon emissions both in our operations and in our supply chain. The environmental policy can be found at the top of the page.

Science based targets

In September 2021, Bloomsbury received validation from the Science Based Targets initiative (“SBTi”) for our nearterm emissions reduction targets.

We have set reduction targets for our operational footprint (Scopes 1 and 2) in line with the Paris Agreement, and have committed to a 46% reduction in emissions by 2030 (base year 2019/2020).

We have currently achieved a 40% reduction in our Scope 1 and 2 emissions from our base year of 2019/2020, tracking below our SBTi targets. This reduction reflects the continuation of hybrid working among Bloomsbury staff, combined with office closures for periods of the year, and the switch to renewable energy supply in the UK and Australia.

We have also committed to working with our suppliers and have set further targets to achieve a 20% reduction in Scope 3 emissions across our supply chain by 2035 (base year 2019/2020). This reduction is in line with a 2-degree pathway.

Our science based Scope 3 targets are in respect of Category 1 (purchased goods and services) emissions, which accounted for 83% of Bloomsbury’s Scope 3 emissions in our base year of 2019/2020.

In the year ahead, we will assess our long-term plans to further align to the goals of the Paris Agreement with a net-zero transition. This programme of work remains of the utmost importance to Bloomsbury’s Board and Executive Committee, and to our employees.

Supplier Engagement

A significant achievement during 2021/2022 was engaging key suppliers and building relationships with their sustainability representatives. Through the spend-based Scope 3 analysis carried out in 2020/2021, we have identified those suppliers which contribute most materially to Bloomsbury’s greenhouse gas emissions. Regular meetings with these suppliers enable us to gather data, share progress and work together on sustainable projects and initiatives.

Industry Collaboration

We believe that working as an industry, publishers have the power to drive change. Bloomsbury’s Head of Sustainability represents Bloomsbury on the Publishers Association (“PA”) Sustainability Task Force as well as the Independent Publishers Guild (“IPG”) Sustainability Action Group and the Book Industry Communications (“BIC”) Green Supply Chain Committee. All groups drive industry-wide collaboration to tackle climate change. Bloomsbury is an active member of the Book Chain Project (“BCP”), a collaborative project run by Carnstone, which aims to provide accurate information about suppliers (paper mills, printers, etc.), enabling publishers to make responsible decisions throughout the supply chain and drive change towards more sustainable ways of working. The BCP also runs industry-wide research projects. During the year, Bloomsbury committed to joining a BCP project to identify the environmental and social sustainability impacts of commonly used paper types and deliver insights on their availability and useability.

Bloomsbury’s was a founding signatory of the Publishing Association’s Publishing Declares pledge. Signatories have agreed to:

  • Set targets across their operations and supply chains to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the latest;
  • Work with resource-efficient supply chain partners and use sustainable materials and processes where possible;
  • Collaborate to achieve their climate aspirations;
  • Support colleagues to become climate literate; and
  • Raise awareness and drive positive climate action wherever they can.

Next Steps

During 2022/2023, we will be taking the following steps to continue to advance our sustainability objectives:

  • Supplier engagement – continue to work with suppliers to gather increasingly accurate data and to reduce emissions in line with our science based targets and our strategic response to climate risks.
  • Science Based Targets – review the SBT Net-Zero Standard, and assess our long-term plans to further align to the goals of the Paris Agreement with a net-zero transition.
  • Continue to engage staff through our Sustainability Working Groups.
  • Industry engagement – work with our peers, suppliers and customers to drive change throughout the supply chain.

Key areas of activity to reduce Bloomsbury’s environmental impact include:

Book manufacture

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products and to controlling the materials used to produce them. We believe in protecting the world’s forests and we are committed to ensuring the paper we use is responsibly sourced. A keystone of our global print purchasing strategy is the requirement for Forestry Stewardship Council (“FSC”), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (“PEFC”) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (“SFI”) accreditation to act as a print supplier to Bloomsbury, and we direct the printers buying paper on our behalf to use FSC/SFIaccredited materials in the manufacture of our products. Where FSC/SFI-accredited materials are not available we specify alternatives from known and reputable sources.As a result, over 95% of our output is made from FSC/SFI certified materials. Sustainability policies and planning, and a willingness to work together to achieve targets are key factors in our decision to engage a supplier, and once 

 

During 2021/2022, we introduced the following sustainability initiatives in respect of the manufacture of our books:

  • Adjustment of backlist specifications to remove plastics and energy-hungry processes; and
  • Cooperation with suppliers to source alternative materials to manufacture and pack our books with a view to reducing our reliance on plastics and chemicals, as well as cutting energy use.

Print-on-demand

Changes in print technology are increasingly making it economic to manufacture books at the time of, and in the quantity needed for, sale – in some cases in the territory of sale. This reduces the CO2 generated by pulping, recycling and transporting unsold books.

Online publishing and e-formats

Our editorial strategy and XML-based production workflow embrace digital publishing and the potential benefits this may bring to the environment. Our focus on digital formats and products allows millions of students to access essential resources without using paper and enables consumers to purchase Bloomsbury titles in digital formats should they wish to avoid the consumption of paper products.

Building and office facilities

The pandemic has meant a continuation of hybrid working. Bloomsbury’s offices have been open for periods during the year with staff having the option to attend on pre-allocated days, but many have chosen to remain working from home. Most of our London-based employees who have chosen to work from our offices travel to work by public transport. We provide bicycle storage and showers for staff who ride to work.

From 1 April 2022, all UK sites under head office control will use 100% renewable electricity. This excludes multioccupancy sites under landlord control, although we continue to engage with our landlords on this issue.

Lights are generally fitted with motion detectors and our office policy is to turn off lights and non-essential electrical equipment out of hours when not in use. We only use energy-efficient lightbulbs and we are rolling out a programme to upgrade these to LED lamps where possible.

During the pandemic, UK office heating and lighting has been significantly reduced to focus on occupied areas. This is aided by previously installed lighting motion sensors and temperature controllers.

For most employees, we have implemented separate recycling bins for different waste materials so that a significant proportion of our office waste is recycled. Paper and cardboard collection points are provided in every room and next to every photocopier.

All general waste is disposed of in clear sacks for sorting at the relevant recycling centre, where their target is to recycle 98% of all general waste that is sent to them.

We use 95% recyclable cardboard packaging for our shipments from our offices and are working hard to make this 100% in the coming year.

We supply point of use drinking water and do not supply plastic or paper cups.

ESOS Compliance

We are ESOS compliant and have taken advice from Inprova Energy Ltd T/A Energy & Carbon Management, who carried out phase two of our ESOS compliance. We continue to consider and apply their recommendations to reduce our carbon footprint.

Flexible office working

Bloomsbury has implemented a flexible working policy enabling homeworking for parts of the week for all staff, which will impact on emissions related to staff commuting and is likely to lead to a reduction in emissions arising from staff attendance at our offices, when measured against pre-pandemic emissions. We are assessing our ability to account for home working emissions, and will be gathering relevant data via staff surveys.

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