Oxford University Press unveils environmental sustainability ambitions for the future

Oxford University Press (OUP)—the world’s largest university press—has unveiled plans to further its commitment to sustainability, with targets that will substantially reduce OUP’s impact on the environment. By 2025, the publisher intends to be carbon neutral in its own operations; ensure 100 per cent of paper for printed publications is certified as sustainable; and minimize waste by ensuring there is zero landfill from its own operations.

These targets are in keeping with OUP’s five-year sustainability strategy, which focuses on reducing its contribution to four environmental impact areas: climate change, deforestation, waste, and pollution.

To support its enhanced focus on sustainability, OUP has begun closely measuring and monitoring its environmental impact. Its baseline footprint, for the year 2019, includes:

  • An estimated 90,000 tonnes of CO2, over half of which was associated with paper and book production
  • Around 40,000 tonnes of book paper used, two-thirds of which was already certified as sustainable
  • Some 5,000 tonnes of waste from OUP’s offices and warehouses, around a quarter of which went to landfill.

OUP has committed to tackling these areas over the coming years. 

Nigel Portwood, Chief Executive Officer at OUP, stated: “As a global organization with a long history, we understand the importance of operating in a sustainable way. 

“We are committed to not only reducing our own footprint, but also raising environmental awareness through our future content. We know we have much to do, but our targets for 2025 signal our intent to drive improvements within OUP, and we are proud to continue our work in helping the publishing industry become more environmentally conscious.” 

Zoe Cokeliss Barsley, Director of Sustainability at OUP, stated: “We have already taken significant steps to improve our sustainability at OUP. Our strategy will mean we can look to achieve our commitments by 2025 with confidence. We are also putting plans in place to look beyond this date, and reduce OUP’s climate, biodiversity, waste, and pollution impact further still.

“As well as reducing our own operational footprint, we will be working closely with our suppliers to ensure our products are made in a way that are as clean and green as possible. We have been working with our people to look at the steps that they can take to reduce their own footprint and contribute to our goals.”

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