Environmental Policy

The Environment

Bloomsbury takes its environmental responsibility very seriously and this is an area of utmost importance to us. 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.

During the year, we took significant steps to increase the scope of our sustainability efforts. The Board approved the appointment of a Head of Sustainability to advance our work in this area. A cross-functional Sustainability Steering Committee, which is chaired by the Head of Sustainability and comprises members of the Executive Committee and key stakeholders from relevant departments within the Company, including Production, Operations and Finance. The Sustainability Steering Committee has subsumed the work of the Sustainability Working Group which was established during 2019/2020 and works closely with the Executive Committee of Bloomsbury to formulate the Company’s environmental policy and objectives. Kathleen Farrar, Managing Director of Group Sales and Marketing, is the Executive Sponsor in respect of the work carried out by the Sustainability Steering Committee. The Board receives regular reports on our activities in this area from the Head of Sustainability and Kathleen Farrar as Executive Sponsor, and has responsibility for approving substantive strategies for reducing the environmental impact of Bloomsbury’s business and addressing climate risk.

A significant achievement during 2020/2021 was mapping our Scope 3 emissions for the first time. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that occur in Bloomsbury’s value chain. We have worked with our independent advisors, Trucost, to measure our Scope 3 emissions in addition to measuring our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. We have measured Scope 3 emissions for both 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, using 2019/2020 as our base year for developing science-based targets, in order to exclude the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our emissions.

Through the process of measuring Bloomsbury’s Scope 3 emissions, we have identified key suppliers in Bloomsbury’s value chain with whom it will be important for us to collaborate in order to minimize future emissions. Going forward we will be working closely with our suppliers to gather more detailed data on how they are measuring and managing their greenhouse gas emissions. Incorporating environmental criteria in procurement specifications  will be an essential part of supplier engagement.

During the year, the Board endorsed the decision to set science-based targets to reduce Bloomsbury’s greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and approved the parameters recommended by the Head of Sustainability and supported by the Executive Committee. Bloomsbury has submitted a letter of commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (“SBTi”) and is now registered as “committed” by the SBTi as well as the CDP and We Mean Business websites. The reduction targets approved by the Board have been submitted to the SBTi for validation.

Bloomsbury is aware that working as an industry, publishers have the power to drive change. The Head of Sustainability
represents Bloomsbury on the Publishers Association Sustainability Task Force as well as the Independent Publishers Guild Sustainability Action Group. Both groups promote industry-wide collaboration to tackle climate change. Bloomsbury has joined the Book Chain Project, a collaborative project run by Carnstone, which aims to provide accurate information about suppliers involved in the publishing value chain (for example, paper mills and printers.). This information enables publishers to make responsible decisions throughout the supply chain and drive change towards more sustainable goals and action to achieve them. The supplier information procured by the Book Chain Project allows publishers to assess supplier emissions data as well as gaining an understanding of their overall approach to sustainable working.

We are committed to meeting the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”). Our ongoing work to measure our emissions across our operations, as well as better understand the risks and opportunities arising from climate change, will prepare us for future disclosures. We have carried out climate-related scenario analysis to assess the physical risks arising from climate change as well as transition risks arising from the processes and measures being implemented to transition to a lower carbon world. Physical risks include direct damage to assets and indirect impacts from supply chains as a result of acute climate-related events and chronic climate change patterns. Transition risks include technological innovations and market shifts in supply and demand for certain products and services as climate-related issues are increasingly taken into account, changing stakeholder expectations, increased legislation and policy measures such as carbon pricing mechanisms which are directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We will use the climate related scenario analysis we have conducted as a strategic planning tool enabling us to identify potential business impacts of climate change (both risks and opportunities) and the appropriate response.

Book manufacture

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products and to controlling the materials used to produce them. To that end, we work only with Forestry Stewardship Council (“FSC”) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (“PEFC”) accredited suppliers, and we use FSC materials for over 90% of the Group’s output. Where FSC-accredited materials are not available we specify alternatives from known and reputable sources. 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 we have entered into partnerships, we make regular trips to factories to monitor progress, observe working practices and recycling programmes, and to learn about other locally relevant environmental initiatives.


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 ebook and audio book formats should they wish to avoid the consumption of paper products.

Building and office facilities

In our UK offices we have started to switch to renewable energy suppliers. 13 Bedford Square has used renewable energy since we moved in during September 2019 and the Group’s two largest consuming electricity accounts at 50/51 Bedford Square have been using 100% renewable electricity since February 2020. We will switch to renewable energy supply for all our UK sites as contracts allow.

We have signed up to the Lloyds Bank Green Building Tool. This is a digital insight tool that enables us to assess the opportunity for making energy-efficient improvements across our buildings. We are currently using this across all UK sites.

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 light bulbs and we are rolling out a programme to upgrade these to ED lamps where possible.

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

ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK that meet the qualification criteria. The Environment Agency is the UK scheme administrator. Organisations that qualify for ESOS must carry out ESOS assessments every 4 years. These assessments are audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.

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 Working Practices

Most of our London-based employees travel to work by public transport. Following on from the successful shift to home-working  during the pandemic, and in response to employee feedback, we have developed a Flexible Working Policy which will be  implemented when our offices re-open. This is likely to lead to a reduction from emissions arising from staff commuting. We  provide bicycle storage for staff who ride to work.


As noted in the Corporate Responsibility Section on page 67, Bloomsbury has partnered with the Woodland Trust and during the year made a donation to sponsor a one acre grove at Langley Vale Wood in Epsom, Surrey, which contains around 750 newly planted trees. The donation encompasses ongoing care and management of the trees to ensure they grow into maturity, enabling them to provide shelter and food for wildlife.

Bloomsbury has also sponsored the preservation of over 8,900 trees in 2021 through a donation to Reforest’Action. All 725 members of staff across Bloomsbury’s global offices have been given a code to plant ten trees via the Reforest’Action projects Bloomsbury is sponsoring in Guinea, Peru and Indonesia.

Key areas of priority over the next 12 months:

  • Science Based Targets – obtain validation of science-based targets for emissions reduction.
  • Supplier engagement – Work with suppliers to reduce emissions in line with our science-based targets and as part of our strategic response to climate risks.
  • Continue to engage staff through the Sustainability Working Sub-Groups.

Environmental performance:

Greenhouse gases, waste generation and water consumption

We report on our greenhouse gas emissions as required by the  Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013. We also report on our greenhouse gas emissions, waste production and water consumption in alignment with the 2006 Government Guidelines; Environmental Key Performance Indicators: Reporting Guidelines for UK Businesses. In respect of greenhouse gases, we report in respect of stationary fuel use (onsite consumption of natural gas and diesel), vehicle fuel use, refrigerant use and electricity use in kWh, converted to CO2e following the protocols provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (“DEFRA”). Emissions have been categorised against the Greenhouse Gas Protocol scopes of reporting. The analysis of the Group’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, together with waste production and water consumption, is performed by an independent external adviser, Trucost, based on data we have provided, including utility bills, vehicle fuel data, and expenditure on business travel. As reported above, this year we also measured our Scope 3 emissions for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. The results are set out below.

During the year, there was a significant reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, waste production and water consumption as a result of office closures during the pandemic as compared to the previous reporting period.

  • Total GHG emissions for 2020/2021 were 146 tCO2e. Scope 2 (location based) emissions account for 87% of the total, and the  remaining 13% is attributed to Scope 1.
  • Overall Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions intensity in 2020/2021 was 68% lower than in 2020 (normalised by revenue), due to a significant reduction in gas and electricity consumption. This was driven by Bloomsbury’s strong financial performance in  2020/2021, in conjunction with the temporary closure of Bloomsbury offices for much of the duration of 2020/2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the permanent closure of our Haywards Heath and 48 Bedford Avenue offices part-way through the year. We also relinquished our serviced office in Dublin during the year. This resulted in an overall reduction of 9% in our office footprint.
  • Bloomsbury generated 15 tonnes of waste in 2020/2021, of which 71% is recycled and 29% is sent to landfill. This represents a reduction of 93% on the prior reporting period.
  • Total water consumption for 2020/2021 is 828 cubic meters (m3), which is 80% lower than in the preceding reporting period, with water consumption intensity decreasing 83% to 4.48 cubic metres (m3) per £million revenue.

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Financial Calendar

30 Mar 2022

Trading Update

26 Jan 2022

Trading Update

27 Oct 2021

Interim Results

27 Aug 2021

2021 Final Dividend