Markus Dohle, Penguin Random House c.e.o., has said Penguin Random House is "well on its way" to reducing its carbon emissions by 20% by 2025, after Thomas Rabe of parent company Bertelsmann declared its goal to be "climate neutral" by 2030 earlier this week.
Dohle said that global publisher PRH has a "three-pronged" strategy in place for achieving climate neutrality in a letter to all staff yesterday (18th February). Namely it involves three imperatives: "Avoid unnecessary or excess emissions. Reduce emissions where possible. Offset unavoidable emissions."
Dohle emphasised efforts must be locally driven with best practices shared across PRH globally.
He wrote in a letter to staff: "We have actively implemented changes in all three areas over the last few years, and I believe that we are well positioned to achieve our goal across our local operations worldwide. As Bertelsmann’s most international company, we know that our carbon footprint varies in different countries and that’s why it’s necessary for our efforts to be locally driven, but like everything we do, we want to share our best practices and learnings globally. Along those lines, I also want to thank you for all you do personally each day to make our offices and facilities less wasteful and more sustainable. Your individual actions collectively have a significant impact."
In 2016, PRH announced its 2020 Social Responsibility Commitments "to help improve the company, communities, and planet", per its company values. It made two sustainability commitments then for 2020: firstly, to source 100% of the paper it uses worldwide from certified mills; and, secondly, to reduce its carbon emissions by 10%.
Dohle said of its progress: "By the end of last year, more than 98% of our paper was purchased from mills that meet one of two standards: the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). We are fully on track to reach our goal of 100% by the end of this year.
"Our second goal was to reduce our carbon emissions by 10% – which we exceeded by making improvements to our company’s infrastructure and energy-saving capacity, putting us well on our way to further total reductions of 20% by 2025."
By 2022, PRH is aiming to have "fully transitioned to green energy", according to Dohle. "Already, many of our facilities and distribution centres are outfitted with energy-saving products and technologies in addition to sourcing renewable energy to supply their power," he said. "Our colleagues will also continue to work together to further improve our own operational processes and efficiencies and in partnership with our suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions across the supply chain."
In terms of what PRH UK specifically is doing to achieve climate neutrality, a spokesperson said it had considered sustainability at all stages in the development and fit-out of its new office (for example, all furniture is sourced from within the UK). It has switched energy supplier, so that it is on a renewable energy tariff at all UK sites and can use 100% green energy in its workspaces. Its UK warehouses also have a sustainability committee that meets on a fortnightly basis to drive change.
Last year this committee achieved a 9% reduction in power consumption in its Frating warehouse, despite a growth in the size of the warehouse, as a result of moving to LED lights in much of the warehouse, light sensors and car park timer switches. It cut single plastic use in PRH UK's warehouses by almost 50%, too – the equivalent of 37.6 tonnes – by reducing "a significant amount" of the plastic used to transport books from suppliers and to customers.
Concluding his letter to staff Dohle said: "It is more important than ever to take active, science-based steps to protect our environment for the next generation of readers, and for this one."