July 24, 2019

UK Booksellers Association launches green initiative


The UK Booksellers Association is challenging booksellers to become more environmentally friendly, launching Green Bookselling: A Manifesto for the BA, Booksellers, and the Book industry. Jim Milliot outlines the manifesto for Publishers Weekly:

The manifesto includes recommendations for booksellers on how to pursue environmentally friendly practices, as well as commitments such as running a green audit, holding training seminars, and further reviewing the association’s processes. It calls on publishers and distributors to take up environmental commitments, among them the phasing out of single-use cardboard in favor of recyclable materials, reviewing both the delivery and returns processes, and ceasing to send out unsolicited book proofs and marketing materials to booksellers.

A survey sent to members of the UK BA reveals that many folks are onboard and already making efforts to be more environmentally-friendly—but there’s ample room for improvement.

Here are the numbers so far:

 • 19.3% have switched to a green energy supplier
• 12.3% measure the carbon footprint of their suppliers
• 13% are supplied with green credentials of their suppliers
• 67.9% of booksellers have switched to local suppliers where feasible
• 42.9% have reviewed stationery purchases to source from renewable sources
• 63.2% have reviewed how they send things out to customers, including packing materials
• 56.4% use eco-friendly cleaning and other materials
• 33.3% let their customers know about their green activities
• 59.1% receive unsolicited marketing materials from publishers
• 85.0% would like to choose what they receive
• 56.8% receive unsolicited proofs
• 79.4% would like to choose what they receive

It looks like a similar program is in the works, or at least in mind, in the US. The American Booksellers Association sent booksellers a survey with questions about their opinions on climate change and whether bookstores can (and should) help lead the way to an environmentally-friendly future.

And over in Australia, PW reports that CEO of the Australian BA Robbie Egan said: “The Australian BA is investigating ways to help our industry respond to the need for better environmental practices, from reducing packaging waste, increased recycling, and better management of freight and returns.”



Amelia Stymacks is the former director of digital marketing at Melville House.