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  • Green Book Alliance

GBA 2023/24 Stakeholder Survey Report

This report summarizes key findings of the GBA survey results and compares them to past survey results (GBA Survey 2020/21).

Download the Excel sheet for a comparison of the 2020/21 & 2023/24 data:

GBA Survey Results 20/21-23/24
Download XLSX • 176KB

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Executive Summary

This comparative analysis between the 2020/21 and 2023/24 surveys highlights a few shifts in sustainability practices within the publishing industry, though most aspects remained consistent. However there were differences, such as a noticeable increase in efforts to reduce carbon emissions from staff travel in the 2023/24 survey, with a 19% rise in reduced travel and a 13% increase in the use of video conferencing. This shift reflects a growing emphasis on reducing environmental impact through alternative modes of communication and transportation.

Additionally, the 2023/24 survey revealed a mixed picture regarding carbon offsetting practices, with a substantial increase in organizations reporting no plans to carbon offset. There was a decrease in the number of organizations currently engaged in carbon offsetting compared to the 2020/21 survey. This trend suggests a shifting landscape in approaches to carbon mitigation strategies, potentially influenced by evolving priorities or challenges faced by organizations. Moreover, while some environmentally friendly practices remained consistent, such as the use of green/sustainable energy providers, there were notable decreases in certain areas, such as the use of certified post-consumer recycled paper. These shifts underscore the dynamic nature of sustainability efforts within the publishing industry, reflecting ongoing adaptation to emerging environmental priorities and strategies.

Notable Findings

  • Less travel, more video conferencing

  • Decrease in carbon offsetting

  • General decrease in use of sustainable paper strategies

  • Increase in environmental certifications and commitments

  • Most respondents do not know if their country has a unified national book industry sustainability group

  • Most respondents are publishers, there was an increase in respondents who are manufacturers

Highlights by Question

1. Does your organization have an environmental policy or has your company committed to any environmental goals?

  • Responses similar with ~65% choosing yes

2. Over the last 3 years or so, what steps has your organization put in place to manage its environmental footprint?

  • Responses similar

  • Options added to 2023/24 :Print on Demand instead of warehousing, Increased use of Print on Demand (compared to 2020) but still some warehousing, More materials sourced locally, Using more FSC paper

  • Top answers for responses available both years: Reduce material wastage (~77%), Improving efforts to recycle materials where possible (~60-70%), Lower energy consumption (~55%)

3. For some, businesses travel is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. What steps have been taken by your organization over the past 3 years to reduce its carbon footprint regarding staff travel?

  • Increase in reduced travel in 2023/34 by 19%

  • Increase in video conference in 2023/24 by 13%

  • 12% reduction in response that no steps had been taken in 2023/24 

4. Many organizations now operate successfully with staff working from home 100%, or in a hybrid manner - for a variety of reasons. Is this type of working arrangement applicable to your organization still, and if so is it something that your organization will continue to operate under for the foreseeable future?

  • Responses similar with ~40%-50% choosing yes for a combination of reasons including environmental ones

5. What steps have been taken by your organization overall over the past 3 years to reduce its carbon footprint when it comes to the transportation of books?

  • Responses similar with Greater use of Print-On-Demand, smaller print runs/not overprinting etc (~50%-60%) and Printing locally where possible (~40-50%) being top answers

  • More options were added to 2023/24 survey: Reduced air shipments, Eliminated all air shipments, Increased cover-only or affidavit returns, Increased use of FSC packaging, Introduced or increased direct to customer deliveries

6. It is a controversial option for some, but does your organization offset any or all of the carbon it produces?

  • Increase in no plans to carbon offset by ~17% from 2020/21 to 2023/24

  • Decrease in number of company’s currently carbon offsetting from 2020/21 to 2023/24

7. Does your organization currently use green/sustainable energy providers? If so, for what type of energy use? e.g. heating, lighting etc.

  • Responses similar

8. It is stating the obvious, but we would not have printed books without paper. These next statements are concerned with both paper for the creation, promotion, and distribution of the printed book and the use of paper in the office generally. Please tick all that apply.

  • ~14% decrease in use of certified 100% post-consumer recycled paper for printing books

  • ~18% decrease in not sending out any unsolicited paper marketing material

  • ~13% decrease in paper for manuscripts, books, and/or royalty statements is sourced from a certified forest management system

8. Does your organization currently have a department or person with overall responsibility for your sustainability agenda?

  • Responses similar, slight increase (7%) in answer ‘yes’

9. Does your organization measure its sustainability through any sustainability KPIs or metrics?

  • Responses similar, almost equal responses between yes, no, no but we intend to

10. In the last 3 years, the use of non-biodegradable and/or single-use plastics (including materials used during distribution, shipping etc, book finishes, lamination, manufacture, shrink-wrapping, plastic bags and so on) for your organization has generally:

  • Responses similar

  • ~10% increase in stayed the same

11. Has your organization undertaken any environmental sustainability certifications or commitments (e.g., SBTI, ISO 14001, Carbon Disclosure Project, UN SDGs etc)?

  • 2020/21 only asked is your organization ISO 14001 certified

12. What (if any) environmental questions do you ask your trading partners/suppliers before you agree to trade with them and throughout your trading relationship?

  • Increase of ~13% in “ask some environmental questions depending on the nature of the trading partner/supplier”

13. What (if any) environmental questions do you ask your trading partners/suppliers before you agree to trade with them and throughout your trading relationship?

  • Responses similar with number one choice (~60%) “Our decision is somewhat influenced by our trading partners’ responses to our environmental questions”

  • Increase of ~13% for “our decision to trade is never influenced by our trading partners’ responses to environmental questions.”

14. Would representatives of your organization want to attend future industry forum meetings hosted by the International Green Book Supply Chain Alliance on environmental matters relating to greening the supply chain?

  • Responses similar 

15. What features do you use on the Green Book Alliance's website? (tick all that apply)

  • New options added in 2023/24 survey (makes comparing more challenging)

16. What projects do you think are important for this international effort and the industry to consider?

  • New options added in 2023/24 survey (makes comparing more challenging)

  • Responses similar 

17. Does your country have a unified national book industry sustainability group that we could contact?

  • Responses similar with number one choice (~45%-60%) “Don't know”

18. My company’s primary business is (select one)

  • Responses similar, primarily publishers (~55%-70) but increase (~13%) in manufacturers (paper or printing)

19. My role is:

  • Responses similar, primarily C-suite oversight and Departmental manager (~35%-45%)

20. My involvement with environmental issues and topics is:

  • Responses similar, with number one choice “Direct - it’s part or all of my job”

Countries Breakdown of Survey Respondents






Hong Kong




United States






South Africa



United States





United States



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