Book publishing is a notoriously resource-intensive industry, so as publishers we have a responsibility to consider not only how our books impact our readers but also our environment. As the next generation of publishing professionals, we at Ooligan Press literally wrote the book on Rethinking Paper & Ink because we believe in striving for sustainability at every stage of the publishing process.
If you’re a student at Ooligan, you’ve probably heard the publisher’s assistants preach about the Green Press Initiative because raising awareness of publishing’s environmental impacts is a vital part of our mission. Before we can get greener, we’ve got to get educated—so what is the Green Press Initiative? Why does certification matter? And what can you do to help make publishing more sustainable?
According to the Green Press Initiative, together the US book and newspaper industries consume over 120 million trees and emit over 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year—that adds up to the yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 7.3 million cars! To help reduce this sasquatch-sized footprint, the Green Press Initiative aims “to work with book and newspaper industry stakeholders to conserve natural resources, preserve endangered forests, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize impacts on indigenous communities.” Their mission is to help publishers adopt more environmentally responsible practices through a stringent set of certification standards, including:
- using recycled or sustianably sourced paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
- reducing the paper weight of every page we print
- using responsible paper-bleaching practices
- using paper made with renewable energy or alternative fibers
- using ink low in volatile organic compounds
- lowering gas emissions when shipping our books
- striving to achieve lower return rates to keep books out of landfills.
Ooligan Press strives to meet or exceed the Green Press Initiative’s benchmarks for sustainability because our press is rooted in the Pacific Northwest, which demands that we use our natural resouces responsibly for generations of readers to come. That’s why Ooligan’s OpenBook titles undergo environmental audits, which we publisher’s assistants make possible by keeping careful records of every publishing decision our press makes. Our dedication to sustainability allows us to operate with a clear conscience, and every department has a part to play in making greener publishing decisions:
- Our acquisitions department can help by choosing books that will be read again and again, reducing shipping emissions from returns and keeping books out of landfills.
- Our editorial department can help by reducing page counts, which can lower our use of paper and ink.
- Our design department can help out by reducing page counts, considering cover designs that use less ink, and including certification seals and copy in our book designs.
- The marketing, social media, and digital departments can help by incorporating our certification and sustainability initiatives into Ooligan Press’s brand message. Promoting the Green Press Initiative helps foster a culture of sustainability at the press and raise environmental awareness among our partners and readers.
As publisher’s assistants, we couldn’t be more excited to renew Ooligan’s certification. With everyone working together, Ooligan Press can help publishing get a little bit greener with the Green Press Initiative.