Magazine article Information Today

Blackwell Publishing Sparks Global Greening

Magazine article Information Today

Blackwell Publishing Sparks Global Greening

Article excerpt

Global warming has captured its share of headlines over the past few years. According to scientists, carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be one of the key factors causing this warming, so some companies are taking a closer look at what kind of impact their operations have on the environment. That's why Blackwell Publishing took a critical look at its contributions to the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the environment in 2005 and decided to take a giant step toward conservation. Blackwell became the first publisher to become "carbon neutral."

"We started around November 2005," according to Michael Fenton, operations director for Blackwell in the U.K. "We decided to go carbon neutral for two reasons: One is that we were concerned about the general shift in climate change and environmental issues, and two, because our major customers are academics ... we decided to do something to improve the quality of life."

Fenton explained that Blackwell enlisted the help of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management (ECCM) and the London-based The CarbonNeutral Co. to find out what kind of "carbon footprint" (estimated global carbon dioxide emissions) Blackwell was creating. The ECCM bills itself as having "a reputation for delivering the highest quality solutions in a cost-effective and flexible way." The assessment included tracking energy usage, business travel, and products and services used in companies that Blackwell worked with around the world.

Since Blackwell is a global firm, publishing production processes migrated from the U.K. to Asia. "When you're shipping materials around the world, you leave quite a sizable carbon footprint," Fenton said. "And we didn't want to worsen [ours]."

Once the company's carbon footprint was assessed, the next step was finding ways to conserve energy and decrease carbon dioxide emissions. Blackwell took the normal route to conserve on business trips, add low-watt lightbulbs in the offices, recycle materials, and even limit air conditioning temperatures in the offices. When the company team launched its first environmental week in late 2005, each day focused on a specific conservation measure to raise everyone's awareness: One day was devoted to watching water consumption, another power, and another waste disposal. …

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