Thea Sherer has been appointed director of sustainability at Springer Nature, a newly created role heading up a team dedicated to achieving the company's climate change goals, in a move billed as an industry first for an academic press.
Formerly director of group communications, Sherer took up the post on 1st August, reporting to Joyce Lorigan, group head of corporate affairs and executive team lead for sustainability. Shearer will be joined by the new team, named the Climate Action Office, as well as a wider governance network with links across the group.
Sherer said: “With fewer than 100 days to go until delegates convene at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the impact and importance of a more focused, strategic and cohesive approach to climate action has never been more keenly felt. We can make a greater positive impact on sustainability and climate action, by making more active changes in our operations and building on the incredible research we publish. I am very much looking forward to leading this new team and taking action with colleagues and groups across the company, including our Green Office Network, and wider communities to move this work forward.”
The company first started reporting on its environmental and social performance in 2017, and since then has it has worked to reduce energy use and switch to green electricity, minimise the use of plastic wrap, establish an internal "Green Office" network of more than 120 colleagues in 12 countries, and last year it became carbon neutral in its direct operations. It was also the first publisher to sign the Climate Pledge, and aims to become net zero (balancing all company greenhouse emissions) by 2040.
Lorigan said: “With the creation of this new role and team, we are simply following the science. As publishers of journals such as Nature Sustainability and Nature Climate Change, we are keenly aware of the immediacy of the issues the world faces. By organising ourselves to deliver more and faster we can build on the progress we’ve made to date, not just in our own operations but also in our capacity as a connector and influencer in the wider community. I am delighted that Thea will become our first climate action officer and know that she and her new team will be supported by the passion and commitment of so many across the group to make positive change."
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