Sustainability

To make books, we need paper. To make paper, we need trees. Trees and forests cover almost a third of the world's surfaces. But we are losing them at a rapid rate.

Our sustainability pledges

Case studies

Going Green

We might be orange at heart, but green flows in our veins.

Green is our colleague-led initiative that aims to help us make small, manageable changes to our everyday working lives so we can collectively reduce our impact on the planet.

Launched in 2018, we’re focusing our efforts on reducing single-use plastic and printing in the office. Our tactics have included a call to arms to get colleagues to pledge to make a change; selling subsidised Penguin keep cups; and sharing monthly motivation through an e-newsletter.

Penguin branded Keepcups

Sourcing our paper sustainably

Wood is by its very nature a renewable resource. When forests are properly managed, harvesting timber can be an effective way of safeguarding forests for future generations. That’s important given that forests support up to 1.6 billion of some of the world’s poorest people, as well as countless plant and animal species. 98% of our paper is currently FSC™ (Forest Stewardship Council™) certified.

FSC™ is the only wood certification scheme endorsed by WWF, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust. Certified forests must meet a range of best-in-class standards, ensuring harvested trees are replanted or allowed to regenerate naturally. FSC™ also safeguards forest biodiversity and local communities.

For the second year running in 2017 WWF awarded us the highest possible score as part of their Timber Scorecard, which assesses the timber sourcing policies of companies across a range of industries.

FSC logo with the slogan "Forests for all forever"

Making our supply chain more sustainable

Each week our warehouse distribution team processes around a million books, which we receive from our printers and then transport to bookshops, retailers and wholesalers around the UK. Over the past year the team in our main warehouse in Frating, Essex, has been investing and innovating to make the way we do business on a day-to-day basis as green as possible.

As a result of their changes, so far in 2019 we have cut single use plastic within our warehouses by 47% - the equivalent of 37.6 tonnes – by reducing a significant amount of the plastic used to transport our books from suppliers and to customers. We’ve done this by investing in new processes and tools, such as moving to recycled (and recyclable) shredded cardboard – rather than plastic inlay – to pad out boxes to prevent books from being damaged in transit to our independent bookshop partners. We continue to work with our suppliers, customers and wholesalers to reduce our plastic usage further and make our supply chain even more sustainable.

In addition, we’ve transformed our warehouses to make them as energy efficient as possible. In Frating we’ve switched to a renewable energy provider (something which we’ve done across all our seven UK locations) and have moved to LED lighting, which has resulted in a 9% reduction in power consumption, despite a growth in the size of our warehouse. And we’re also working with our transport providers to better plan loads and reduce both excess and empty mileage.

Shredded recyclable cardboard used in our warehouse