In 2021/2022, we undertook a materiality assessment to identify the areas which presented the most significant opportunity to make a positive impact through our business activities and contribute to building a more sustainable future. This analysis involved engagement internally with colleagues, and externally with key stakeholders, including investors, customers, suppliers and literary agents.
The most important sustainability issues we have identified for our business and our stakeholders are:
At the heart of our business is a strong social purpose – to inform, educate and entertain, to inspire a love for reading, to promote literacy, and to help build a reading culture. Bloomsbury’s core business of publishing books is therefore in itself a social good.
Books have the power to change and shape lives, whether consumed for entertainment, escapism or education. They are a powerful vehicle through which people can connect. They introduce readers to new worlds and experiences, promoting empathy, understanding and tolerance, and can increase a sense of belonging and validation by reflecting the experiences of readers. Books play an important role in encouraging conversation around important subjects, including topics which have traditionally been considered taboo. They help build literacy and critical thinking, and promote social and democratic participation and inclusion through the transmission of knowledge and by supporting equality of access to information.
Research by the National Literacy Trust has established a link between reading and the mental health and wellbeing of young people, revealing that children who are the most engaged with literacy are three times more likely to have mental wellbeing than those who are the least engaged. Literacy remains a fundamental skill for social and economic participation, and the lack of literacy skills can hold a person back at every stage of their lives.
Our publishing and our partnerships with organisations, which are dedicated to increasing literacy and access to books for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, supports the cultivation of these crucial skills and the emotional and psychological benefits which reading has been shown to bring. Go to the Annual Report to read more about our community engagement and support for such organisations.
We are committed to helping both new and established authors bring original and powerful works across an array of genres and subjects to readers and learners worldwide, sharing ideas, knowledge and experience by publishing creatively in all formats across our diverse lists. We support learning and help to advance equity through education by way of our extensive portfolio of educational and academic resources for teachers and students.
Our diversified publishing, which combines general trade publishing for adults and children with educational and academic publishing for schools and higher education institutions, and resources to support professional development in the education sector as well as in professions such as law and accountancy, means that Bloomsbury is uniquely placed to make a positive impact across all sectors of society through the books and resources that we publish, and to promote a love for reading and literacy, which are known to underpin wellbeing and success.
Many of our books address issues of social and political importance and have the power to contribute towards a change of attitudes and behaviour in society.
On the Consumer side, our books range from titles about sustainability, such as Climate Justice by Mary Robinson, structural racism such as Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and White Rage by Carol Anderson, to the bestseller Stolen Focus by Johann Hari, which addresses the impact of digital technology on our mental capacity and wellbeing. The Earth Transformed by Peter Frankopan examines how a changing climate has shaped the development and demise of civilisations across time, raising awareness around the relationship between the history of humanity and the environment at a time when climate change is of pressing concern.
Personal narratives such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chasing Me to My Grave by Winfred Rembert as told to Erin I. Kelly, a memoir that celebrates Black life and summons readers to confront painful and urgent realities at the heart of American history and society, Transitional by Munroe Bergdorf, a memoir about learning how to live and grow as a trans person, You Are Not Alone by Cariad Lloyd, which explores dealing with grief and how to overcome it, Wendy Mitchell’s What I Wish People Knew About Dementia, about suffering with Alzheimer’s, and Edward Enninful’s A Visible Man, a memoir of his journey from arriving in the UK as a refugee to becoming the first Black editor-in-chief of British Vogue, open up the conversation around important subjects.
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Annual General Meeting
Preliminary announcement for the year ended 29 February 2024