The action we are taking
SDG Publishers Compact – our first year
The UN Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact is a pledge which features 10 action points to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Signing the pledge affirms an ongoing commitment to sustainable practices and to champion the SDGs during this UN Decade of Action (2020-2030). The UN SDGs are 17 goals set up in 2015 as a “blueprint” for a better and more sustainable future for all; these goals “cut across disciplines, sectors, and institutional mandates, acknowledging the integrated nature of the many challenges that humanity faces – from gender inequality to inadequate infrastructure, from youth unemployment to environmental degradation.”
Catherine Hodgson, Sustainability Manager
Leah Kinthaert, Senior Social Media Manager
We sat down with our first ever Sustainability Manager at Taylor & Francis, Catherine Hodgson, to ask her about her work with the Publishers Compact in 2021. We discussed how the organization has progressed with its work towards fulfilling the compact since January, and asked her what the next steps were as we head into the final months of 2021.
Leah Kinthaert: Can you tell me a little about how Taylor & Francis came to sign the SDG Publishers Compact, and also why you feel publishing as an industry is important to the promotion of the SDGs?
Catherine Hodgson: One of our portfolio development specialists (Laura Kelleher, who is part of the Life, Earth, and Environmental Science team) heard about the launch of the UN SDG Publishers Compact and felt it would be a good way for Taylor & Francis to publicly affirm our support for the Sustainable Development Goals. It aligned with similar existing goals around Climate Action and Sustainability more generally. As an academic publisher, and as part of Informa PLC, we play an important role in promoting Quality Education (SDG4) by connecting people with knowledge to help them learn more, know more, and do more. By pledging our support for this compact we remain committed to publishing content and resources that amplify progress towards achieving the SDGs. Taylor & Francis is known for the breadth and depth of our content across all subject areas and through our specialist resources, like SDG Online, we connect academic communities with a huge amount of interdisciplinary content that spans all 17 goals.
Leah: On the UN’s site they list over 100 publishers in the compact, from all over the globe. Has there been any sort of collaboration between Taylor & Francis and these publishers, or other partners, to develop, localize, and scale projects that will advance progress on the SDGs individually or through a Publishing Association?
Catherine: Partnerships are integral to Taylor & Francis being able to commission, validate, publish, disseminate, and curate the latest research that helps address some of the biggest challenges that society is currently facing. We are proud to partner with many organizations and industry bodies that help us progress access to educational resources and specialist knowledge. To name a few, these include Research4Life, BookShare, RNIB, Access Text, and INASP. We are also an active member of the Publishers Association’s Sustainability Taskforce, contributing our specialist expertise to develop an industry-focused carbon calculator, materials matrix, climate pledge, and focused reporting.
“ I really believe that it is through our extensive range of specialist products and services that Taylor & Francis helps communicate the relevance of the SDG goals. ”Catherine Hodgson, Sustainability Manager, Taylor & Francis
We are working with authors and other partners to publish more content on and around the SDGs; for example Taylor & Francis’ Earth & Environmental Sciences editors and society partners will be publishing a series of cross-portfolio special issues on policy-relevant topics, beginning with the policy priorities expressed in the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Missions, to be published on World Earth Day 2022.
We are also launching new journals and products developed around the SDGs, so that every section aligns with specific ones as part of their scope and supports interdisciplinary research. Our first three are fully Open Access journals Sustainable Environment, All Life and All Earth.
F1000, which joined Taylor & Francis in January 2020, publishes research across all subject areas and in each of the 17 goals across more than 10 Platforms. The Emerald Group Publishing’s open research platform, Emerald Open Research, is built around Gateways aligned to the goals. Each of the six Gateways on the platform seeks to address several of the goals by encouraging the swift publication of relevant research in an open format. This rapid and open format helps ensure that such topic research is made as widely available and as rapidly as possible.
Leah: There are 10 SDG Compact Commitments that we signed, ranging from raising awareness to dedicating budget towards accelerating progress. In your experience, in which commitment have you seen Taylor & Francis make some of the greatest strides?
Catherine: Over the past 12 months Taylor & Francis has made fantastic progress towards commitments 9 and 10 – dedicating budget and resources towards SDG-dedicated projects and taking action on SDG goals. Creating a more sustainable print supply chain is an ongoing priority for us and we have really focused on reducing our waste and emissions through several initiatives.
These include prioritizing our print-on-demand program, reducing our physical stock levels, donating returns and unsold stock to BookAid and Amnesty International, and a new program that has already removed plastic packaging from at least 73% of our journals. We have taken our commitment to reducing our emissions a step further and have gained CarbonNeutral® certification for our print books and journals. This means that all emissions from our print supply chain have been calculated and compensated for through high-quality carbon offset projects. We will continue our work to reduce emissions and waste, but we are proud of the progress we have made so far.
Taylor & Francis achieves CarbonNeutral® publication certification
We are proud to achieve CarbonNeutral® publication certification from Natural Capital Partners, the leading experts on carbon neutrality and climate finance, in line with The CarbonNeutral® Protocol. This certification is for all 2021 and 2022 print book and journals. This follows our accelerated progress in reducing carbon emissions from our product supply chain and our purchase of high-quality, third-party-verified carbon credits for the remaining emissions that cannot yet be avoided.
- Increasing the use of print-on-demand services to better match production with demand and reduce physical stock levels;
- Donating unused book stock to BookAid and Amnesty International, avoiding waste and contributing to the wider sharing of knowledge;
- Implementing a program to remove plastic packaging from printed journals, which now covers nearly 75% of products.
Making progress with FasterForward
Our sustainability program FasterForward, includes a range of ambitious activities between 2020-2025 that will ensure we become an ever more sustainable, positive impact business.Sustainability Inside Commitments
Embedding sustainability inside our products to help our customers advance sustainable development in their areas of expertise.
- Embed sustainability inside 100% of our products by 2025
- Help and promote the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through our content
Moving faster to become a zero waste and net zero carbon business.
- Become carbon neutral across our products by 2025
- Halve the waste generated through our products by 2025
- Become zero waste and net zero carbon by 2030 or earlier
Multiplying the positive impact we can create when we improve access to knowledge, helps people connect more efficiently and invest in our communities
- Enable 1 million disconnected people to access networks and knowledge by 2025
- Contribute value of at least 1% of profit before tax to community groups by 2025
- Save customers more carbon than we emit by 2025