London | Berlin, 5 March 2020
In the lead up to publishing its third annual Responsible Business report, Springer Nature is committing to becoming carbon neutral for its business operations and employee flights, by the end of 2020.
As publisher of some of the world’s most important research on climate science, the company is committed to addressing its own environmental impacts. After baselining its carbon footprint in 2017, the company made an 18% reduction in net emissions in 2018 and has continued to reduce net emissions on the same trajectory into 2020.
Chief Executive Officer, Frank Vrancken Peeters said: “We believe that, as publishers, we can play an integral role in addressing global challenges such as climate change, by sharing trusted evidence-based insights from some of the world’s leading climate scientists, and disseminating the results widely. As one of the world’s leading publishers of research related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we hold ourselves to high account which is why we began monitoring, managing and reporting on our carbon footprint within two years of the creation of Springer Nature. I am pleased to announce that we will become net carbon neutral in our own operations by the end of 2020 and pledge to continue to seek further reductions in our use of energy and other resources.”
Having trebled its purchasing of green electricity in 2018, Springer Nature will now:
Increase green electricity purchasing to 100% (from the current level at around 75%) in countries where robust renewable accounting systems exist.
Continue to take local action at individual sites to reduce energy consumption, working closely with a voluntary employee network of green office ambassadors in its global offices.
Balance harder-to-reduce emissions, such as those relating to essential business flights, through high-quality carbon offsetting schemes.
In 2019, Springer Nature piloted a programme to balance some of the harder-to-reduce emissions, purchasing 7,000 tonnes of high-quality carbon offsets supporting forestry projects in Tanzania and Nicaragua, certified by Plan Vivo. It expects to expand this further in 2020, while seeking to reduce carbon emissions from business flights where possible.
Martin Mos, Chief Operating Officer, said: “As a global organisation, working with higher education institutions around the world, business travel is an important part of staying close to the research and education communities we work with, as well as our own teams. However, we are continuing to invest in technologies that help us stay in touch virtually and encouraging colleagues to take the train as an alternative for some trips within Europe.”
Over the past two years, the company has also significantly cut back on its use of plastic, reducing by more than 7 million the numbers of copies of books and journals that are wrapped in plastic before shipping. While an increasing proportion of Springer Nature’s products are delivered digitally, Springer Nature has also put in place a sourcing policy to ensure that paper used for products comes from known, legal and responsible sources.
Springer Nature has powerful digital platforms, including Nature.com and SpringerLink which attract a billion downloads per year, and a related digital infrastructure to support one million submissions of research papers per year, all of which are powered by green energy.
A company-wide voluntary green office network, comprising more than 100 people, in 19 locations, is working with colleagues to make local-level changes to increase efficiency and reduce energy use.
Springer Nature’s Responsible Business report on progress in 2019 will be published at the end of March at www.springernature.com/responsiblebusiness.