Why promote environmentally conscious options in the publishing and media industry?

Florencia Di Giovanni

Many myths are surrounding the economic impact of reducing paper use in the publishing and media industry. If we start reducing the number of a copy’s printed editions to contribute to the care of the environment, the biggest of these myths — the alleged reduction of profits — automatically comes to mind. But does this have to be the case?

In fact, some possibilities prove otherwise. For example, you can stop printing a considerable amount of copies and still have the same amount (or even more) of profit than when you were sticking to a monotonous sales model that is increasingly compatible with many other forms of marketing that are kinder to the environment.

If we talk about myths and realities, the truth is that paper consumption has a really negative impact on the environment. This is reflected in the 3.3 kg of CO2 produced for every kg of paper. It is no secret to anyone: Reducing paper use is no longer a necessity but an obligation. The question is, then, how to achieve this without affecting the company economically. Here are some recommendations to make the necessary combinations and achieve them.

What are the benefits of being environmentally conscious?

Becoming more sustainable and environmentally conscious is a challenge facing organizations, companies and individuals around the world. Publishers and media must contribute by evaluating which recycling and print paper-reduction options are possible. In this way, the industry steps toward evolution and the use of technology to integrate sales models that are kinder to the environment.

It is a paradigm shift to move away from the conventional model and, in this way, begin to actively contribute to the care of the environment. It also means rethinking planning since a medium and long-term strategy must incorporate more eco-friendly alternatives within the business model and the company's culture. Both the planning and the paradigm shift should be focused on obtaining the following benefits:

Environmental benefits

Undoubtedly, reducing the negative environmental impact derived from the company's activity is an important point to consider. The idea is that the industry can achieve greater control in energy consumption, thus reducing raw materials and the amount of waste generated.

Brand benefits

Every company must understand a strong trend: For some time now, society and consumers have been demanding more and more environmentally friendly products and services. From the use of eco-friendly leathers by clothing brands or alternatives to animal testing by laboratories that produce cosmetic products, the publishing industry reduces paper use. Joining this movement and being an active part of the change will undoubtedly help your brand to position itself positively among your consumers.

Economic benefits

Sustainability can also mean a positive path to profitability for a business. Integrating new sales models, such as marketing digital editions or subscribing to a virtual library, can help project the sale of content profitably over time and remove export barriers.

Recycling can be thought of as an outlet that helps the environment and works perfectly in cost reduction for the industry!

Ways to promote sustainability in the publishing industry

The most important thing is to understand that there is no single model of sustainable development for the publishing industry. Each company is different. It's necessary to plan actions that generate a tangible positive result in reducing the environmental impact caused by the production, distribution and end of life of a printed edition. But this will absolutely depend on the internal culture of each organization.

Keeping this in mind, we invite you to learn about some of the options and ideal starting points to begin to devise structural changes that allow the development of an environmentally responsible company:

Digital Editions

As publishers, one of the most significant impacts on paper reduction is choosing digital editions. This means:

Digital transformation is a must. This is a component that drives innovation. It gives publishers and media outlets new perspectives on their content and guides them to make more sustainable decisions. Digital tools help increase production without leaving out the environmental commitment.

Digital platforms are great examples of the new services we have within reach to enhance our business, supporting paper reduction.

Creating your own virtual library is the first step to generating a high level of impact in reducing deforestation for printed paper. Only in one device can a reader store an unlimited amount of material.

Eco publishing

It is an innovative way of managing publications according to sustainability principles:

It consists of incorporating environmental criteria into the publishing process, considering the negative impacts derived from this activity throughout all its phases. It seeks to cover all stages of the product in environmental practices, from design to distribution, highlighting above all the production process. According to the Manual De Ecoedición | La Sostenibilidad En El Sector Editorial: "The production phase is responsible -approximately- for 95% of the impact generated in a book, compared to other phases such as distribution and end of life, which are not very significant".

Within this system, companies or media must take into account the forest certification system (PEFC or FSC) that ensures and certifies that forests are responsibly managed and that the use of paper that a company or an industry makes comes from these forests, guaranteeing the consumer that they are buying products from sustainably managed forests.

Currently, one of the challenges an organization faces when defining its communication strategy is everything that revolves around corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Even if the company has its vision well defined, it will face a lot of expectations. Even within the organization itself, there may be different ideas about what it means to be sustainable. But once you have a clear vision of where you want to go, it is time to act.

The reality is that as a society, we must have the capacity to make conscious and responsible use of our resources. Thinking of different alternatives, such as these recommendations, is necessary to face the current situation. This is the only way to break down the economic myths that revolve around being a sustainable company and promoting sustainability in the publishing and media industry. It is a path that involves a lot of work and trial and error leading to the discovery of the sustainable model that best suits your company. Today is an excellent day to start planning changes that will allow your publishing or media company to be responsible and take an active role in caring for the planet.