February 20, 2020

Penguin Random House sets new targets for sustainable business


Bertelsmann, the gigantic German media conglomerate and parent company to Penguin Random House, announced earlier this week its plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.

In his note to Bertelsmann’s employees, CEO Thomas Rabe wrote:

With our decision to achieve climate neutrality by 2030, we are taking responsibility in the battle against climate change and global warming. In this connection, Bertelsmann has become one of around 800 companies worldwide to join the Science Based Target initiative. The initiative supports companies in setting scientifically sound climate targets.”

Over here in the Western Hemisphere, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle echoed that commitment in a memo, saying:

By 2022, Penguin Random House is aiming to have fully transitioned to green energy. Already, many of our facilities and distribution centers are outfitted with energy-saving products and technologies in addition to sourcing renewable energy to supply their power. Our colleagues will also continue to work together to further improve our own operational processes and efficiencies and in partnership with our suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions across the supply chain.

Our strategy for achieving climate neutrality is three-pronged:

  • Avoid unnecessary or excess emissions
  • Reduce emissions where possible
  • Offset unavoidable emissions

We have actively implemented changes in all three areas over the last few years, and I believe that we are well positioned to achieve our goal across our local operations worldwide.

As Jim Milliot writes in Publishers Weekly, this is in addition to the targets that PRH has hit in recent years in order to ensure that 100% of its paper comes from mills certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative or the Forest Stewardship Council (currently at 98%, PRH expects to reach 100% by the end of 2020).

It is a reality that the world must reach negative greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to stave off the most catastrophic effects of climate change, so to learn more about how other industries, governments, and local programs can make that happen, arm yourself with The 100% Solution coming next month from Melville House



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.