Bookseller Associations Take on Environmental Efforts

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This week, the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland (BA) launched its “Green Bookselling: A Manifesto for the BA, Booksellers and the Book Industry.” At the same time, the American Booksellers Association is wrapping up a bookseller survey on environmental sustainability.

In 2018, the BA created a Green Bookselling Task Force to review how bookstores can be environmentally responsible and identify efficiencies that could be brought to the supply chain to reduce waste. The Green Bookselling Manifesto will be joined by a Guide to Creating a Green Bookshop in the future, and the BA plans to lobby the wider trade on green and environmental issues.

“It is vital that everybody in the book industry, from individual booksellers to publishers, and from distributors to printers, makes a concerted effort to reduce their environmental impact,” said BA Managing Director Meryl Halls. “Booksellers can take the lead in their communities, and in the trade — where there is already a high awareness of the challenge — and the Green Manifesto is designed as a key step in committing to doing more to be sustainable and ethical. The issue is urgent and inevitable, and so we are particularly pleased to be working with other Booksellers Associations on joint activity and initiatives in this area, to the benefit of all our members.”

The Green Manifesto is based on three principles: that the need for change to prevent further environmental decline is urgent and permanent; that there is much that individuals and organizations can do; that there is much that the U.K. book supply chain can do to help.

The BA is working with both the American and Australian Booksellers Associations on this project, reflecting the commitment across the English language territories to improve the book trade’s green credentials, behaviors, and aspirations.

“The American Booksellers Association is pleased to be working with our colleagues in the U.K. — and around the world — on a series of green initiatives as we recognize the critical importance of these matters and the special obligation that we in the book business have to be part of the solution, as these are clearly global concerns and we need to find new ways in which we can cooperate,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher.

Robbie Egan, CEO Australian Booksellers Association, added, “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. Our colleagues in the U.K. have led the way and we look to this example with the desire to emulate the initiative, and to build a cooperative approach to improving bookselling and the book industry on both a local and a global scale.”

Bookseller members of the American Booksellers Association are invited to participate in a short survey on environmental sustainability. The 12-question survey seeks opinions on global climate change, eco-friendly habits, customers’ interest in the environment, and more. The survey can be accessed on Survey Monkey, and all responses are due by Friday, July 26.

Questions about the survey can be addressed to ABA Senior Strategy Officer Dan Cullen. Booksellers who are interested in working further with an ABA task force regarding environmental issues can also contact Cullen.