International trade bodies unite in call for action on climate change

International trade bodies unite in call for action on climate change

A group of international publishing industry organisations have joined forces to discuss their response to the climate crisis in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

As part of the ongoing discussions, the International Publishers Association (IPA) and other trade bodies are calling for the book sector to take tangible action. The organisations have agreed to be part of a series of conversations on climate convened by the IPA. The first will take place at Frankfurt Book Fair, followed by virtual sessions, with the aim to release the agreed conclusions and actions ahead of COP26.

Alongside calls for agreed international approaches to greening the supply chain, the industry bodies are encouraging the production of, and greater accessibility to, works that can support research into the climate crisis.

The group, which is made up of eight organisations, includes the IPA, the Federation of European Publishers, the European and International Booksellers Federation, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the Green Book Alliance.

Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the IPA, said: “We are facing today’s biggest challenge to our society: climate change. Like so many other times in history, society need the tools to enable us all to have a broader perspective and to inspire everyone to really change our day-to-day lives to become more sustainable. COP26 is the starting point where publishers alongside the rest of the book chain are united in becoming a force for good and putting sustainability and climate change on the top of our priorities”.

Karina Urquhart, executive director of Book Industry Communication—a co-founding organisation of the Green Book Alliance—commented: “It is in the supply chain that the most significant changes can be made by the global book industry to eliminate waste and reduce its impact on the environment. It is vital that international organisations collaborate and provide leadership in this critical area. 

"The Green Book Alliance welcomes the opportunity to facilitate cross-sector supply chain initiatives with organisations signing this pledge to help the book industry understand and make significant changes to reduce its overall environmental impact on the planet.”

The move comes as key figures across the industry galvanise to take action. More than 100 British writers and illustrators, including Cressida Cowell, Dara McAnulty and Piers Torday, signed an open letter to UK publishers and literary agents last month, calling on them to commit to reducing their greenhouse emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Bookseller will publish a Climate Issue on 15th October, ahead of COP26, with the aim of interrogating what the trade can do to meet the challenge of environmental change in the wake of global warming.