Greenleaf isn’t just our CEO’s last name—Greenleaf Book Group is committed to taking proactive steps to offset our tree consumption in our day-to-day and business lives. We recycle, do the majority of our daily work electronically, and encourage our partners and authors to do the same. (We’ve also been known to give a tree a little hug as we walk by. Shhh. It’s our little secret.)
Tree Neutral© is our commitment to the future of our forests. We work with individuals and companies that want to offset the number of trees they consume by taking proactive steps such as recycling, converting to electronic records, planting trees in direct proportion to the number of trees they use, and other methods of reducing tree consumption.
We partner with the Arbor Day Foundation to offset the number of trees the books we published consume by taking part in reforestation initiatives all across the United States. In 2012, we focused on Pere Marquette State Forest in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula as well as Manchester State Forest in central South Carolina to improve habitat for endangered species and restore the forests to their former glory.
Our nation’s forests provide wood for homes, habitat for wildlife, clean air, and drinking water for millions. Urban trees provide environmental, economic, and social benefits such as reduced energy consumption, less stormwater runoff, and lower crime rates. You can imagine the havoc deforestation creates and see why we’re so committed to the cause.
So, just how many trees did Tree Neutral© plant in 2012?
A whopping 10,742 trees! That makes 45,462 trees since the inception of the Tree Neutral© program.
We hope you’re as impressed and inspired by these numbers as we are—and remember, by choosing to be Tree Neutral, you’re making a responsible decision that will have a positive impact on the future, your life, and your business. To get involved, visit the Take Action page of the Arbor Day Foundation for information on donating, becoming a member, and volunteering in your community.
Follow us on Facebook to watch as this number continues to grow.
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Conservation is humanity caring for the future.
–Nancy Newhall, US photography critic
According to some estimates, 20 to 30 million trees are harvested each year for paper and paper products, and the US publishing industry is one of the biggest culprits. On average, only about 5% of the paper used by US book publishers comes from recycled paper or paper managed in an environmentally friendly way. What's wrong with this picture?
Fortunately, some publishers are trying to do better than the average.
For example, Simon & Schuster recently announced a new environmental initiative and paper policy with a 2012 goal of deriving 10% of the company's purchased paper from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)–an international organization headquartered in Bonn, Germany that sets standards worldwide for responsible forest management. If paper is FSC certified, it came from forests that are managed in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
Random House set the bar even higher with its goal of raising the proportion of recycled paper it uses to 30% by 2010. It used 3% recycled paper in 2006. And according to paperrecycles.org, the US paper industry has set an industry goal of recovering 55% of all the paper consumed in the United States by 2012.
But it's not enough, especially when you compare those numbers to the new figures showing that the European Union (EU) paper recycling rate reached 63.4 percent in 2006 (according to statistics released by the European Recovered Paper Council, or ERCP).
There's much more that can be done in the United States. Don't believe those tired old arguments about higher costs and customer indifference. A 2005 survey conducted by Book Business magazine showed that "17% of publishers using at least 30% post-consumer recycled fiber were able to achieve cost parity." And a 2005 study co-sponsored by BookTech magazine, Co-Op America, and Green Press Initiative found that "80% of consumers who had purchased a book or magazine in the past six months would be willing to pay more for a book or magazine printed on recycled paper." More than 42% of respondents were also willing to pay an additional $1 to purchase a book printed on recycled paper. And what about the future costs of not doing much of anything?
And it's not just readers who are concerned about the environment---authors such as J.K. Rowling, Alice Walker, and Margaret Atwood are joining their voices in the call for conservation. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which boasted a record-breaking print run, was produced with great environmental care. Six new types of paper were developed specifically for the book, and Markets Initiative, a Canadian environmental group, presented the Order of the Forest award to Rowling for saving trees and encouraging other publishers to do the same.
This holiday season, why not give the gift of trees to your readers?
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Yo’ Mama Earth. It’s true: the publishing biz is hard on the planet. But there are ways to make it easier on her. One of the best ways is to work with earth-friendly partners. So, how do you tell if a publisher, printer, or paper mill is environmentally conscious? Score them based on these three criteria:
1. Materials. Recycled paper and biodegradable glue are both widely available earth-friendly options. Most of the glues used in book binding today are biodegradable. Some are solvent-free and labeled as nonhazardous—even better! As for paper, due to increasing demand for earth-friendly products, many book printers now offer some recycled papers among their house stocks. However, make sure to ask how much recycled material is actually used in the paper. Recycled paper can also be significantly more expensive than a standard house stock, and a higher recycled content percentage translates into a higher price. Some printers only choose house stocks that have some recycled content. Usually the percentage is relatively low, but the papers are more affordable.
There are environmentally superior options for other materials, too. Many printers also use recycled binding boards, or boards with a percentage of corrugated material, which cuts down on paper consumption. Check out Green Press Initiative for updates on particular publishers, printers, and papers and a good look at the deforestation rate.
2. Tree harvesting. Because of the incredible amount of trees consumed every year for paper production (400 billion per year, according to Ecology.com), deforestation is a legitimate concern for printers, publishers, authors, and even readers. To watch out for all those falling trees, cooperative organizations, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), have been founded, with measurable success. SFI plants more than a million trees per day, and its members include book printers and paper mills. Find out how your favorite printer is getting involved. You can also contact paper mills and find out which ones use sustainable sources for their paper.
3. Energy use. Paper mills are huge consumers of energy. But many of them use creative methods to boost energy production and decrease consumption. Some mills accumulate the unusable scraps from trees, such as bark and knots, to be burned for fuel. Others have found alternative fuel sources such as used tires, which can provide a great deal of energy. A resourceful average-size paper mill is capable of producing enough surplus energy to power a city of thirty thousand. Though some of these alternative fuel sources can contribute to air pollution, they save on natural resources and space in the world’s landfills.
These three categories represent some of the best ways for printers and publishers to lessen their toll on Mama Earth. Although some of these options are less cost-effective than the tree-hater alternatives, increased demand and increased attention to publishing’s effect on the environment will make them cheaper and more widely available. Doing business with innovative, environmentally friendly printers, publishers, and paper mills will help encourage their practices. It’s one way to make Earth happy, and as everybody knows—if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.