Sustainability is a priority for select businesses across all industries. The education sector is no exception. I work for Macmillan Learning, where sustainability is a core part of our company’s mission.
It’s not just a marketing gimmick or short-term initiative. Meeting our sustainability goals is woven into everything the company does. Since 2009, our goal has been to make the world a bit greener by slightly altering our everyday processes.
Reducing CO2 emissions is our main focus because we see it as the most pressing issue. By the year 2020, the goal is to reduce our carbon emissions by 65% from where we were in 2009.
It took extensive research and employee-led planning committees to determine our carbon footprint and formulate a plan for reducing it. It turns out that 80% of Macmillan’s carbon footprint came from the consumption paper, combined with transportation, printing and distribution of the books.
Within just the first two years of this initiative, we saw substantial progress. When reviewing emissions from the purchased paper required to print our books, we reduced the carbon intensity by 44% per ton.
Sustainability truly is a company-wide effort that is a priority for every aspect of our workday.
Why Other Companies Should Follow Suit
Although there is doubt among some that greenhouse gas emissions will lead to a climate crisis, why should we wait to find out? Most scientists agree that the “greenhouse effect” is a major factor contributing to climate change. By taking action now, large companies like Macmillan are doing their part to avoid a potential crisis that would be beyond repair by the time it is a “proven fact.”
Publishers (of educational material and otherwise), as well as companies in other industries, have a responsibility to society — to do good and cause no harm. If a company’s process is damaging the environment, that is arguably causing harm.
One of the biggest obstacles faced by the publishing industry is the lack of recycled paper available for companies trying to improve their efforts for sustainability. However, innovative teams are bound to continuously find solutions for any obstacles that arise in the pursuit of sustainability.
As Macmillan Learning’s John Sargent said, “Let us be a company that leads instead of follows.” I think that’s a great attitude to have, which is why I’m proud to be part of such a forward-thinking company.
As Macmillan’s latest blog post indicates, we’re currently in the process of calculating our primary carbon emissions for 37 sites across the United States, UK and Germany. This will tell us what progress we’ve made in the past 4 years, giving us an idea of where we can improve and where we’re excelling.
Stay tuned to the Macmillan Learning website and blog for progress updates!