Michiel Kolman, Juan Mera and Patxi Beascoa, who acts as moderator, take part in this colloquium on sustainability and the relationship between the publishing industry and ecological policies.
The session begins with a presentation by Michiel Kolman, Senior Vice President at Elsevier, representing the IPA (International Publishers Association). Kolman sets out the responsibilities of publishers in relation to sustainability and lists two main objectives that can be broken down into more specific ones. The first would be to become a responsible organization (that is, one that has fair labor policies, that values diversity and inclusion, and that has work dynamics that are considerate of the environment); the second is to be a catalyst for change (publish content related to the global agenda, work on the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] to catalog and promote content, organize projects and collaborations).
The SDG Publishers Compact is a declaration and an alliance that brings together different publishing firms that want to be part of the sustainable commitment. Joining it means establishing ecological policies in line with the precepts of the SDGs.
Kolman then lists some of the main implications of this pact, including prioritizing sustainability, raising awareness, and taking action.
In 2018, the IPA conducted a survey among its members to find out which objectives seemed to be top priorities to them: quality education, gender equality, peace and justice, responsible production and consumption, climate action and collaboration to achieve these objectives.
The conclusion is that we live in an unstable climate, which suggests that there are three approaches to climate action:
-Direct emissions that are emitted from resources that companies own directly.
-Indirect emissions of own resources.
-The indirect emissions of resources that are not ours but are part of the same network as us.
The role of collaboration in climate action and IPA’s ideas for the sustainability subcommittee are explained by sharing resources and setting sustainability standards. Differentiate between what can be done within the sector and outside.
Triggering a climate action may require the following:
-Take action now: the technology exists.
-Responsibility of everyone across the sector.
-Check the feasibility of the proposals now.
Next it is the turn Juan Mera, the director of supply chains at Grupo Planeta, who shares with us that he has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing sector but that he is happy to still be here at this time because it is a time of change and challenges about which he will now speak to us.
He divides his presentation into three parts. The first deals with the fact that sustainability is not a passing trend but rather a philosophy that is here to stay. In the second part he lists the sustainability problems that the publishing sector will have to face. Finally, in part three, he shares some insights on how an environmentally friendly approach can result in profits and growth for the industry.
He points out that publishers have to lead this transformation, not just follow it.
Patxi Beascoa, the CEO of Penguin Random House, begins the discussion with brief but effective questions on the issue: what are the main steps to follow? How much courage will it take to dare to walk in this direction? After a few minutes of debate, other questions are asked, such as to what extent readers demand sustainability policies.
Dr. Michiel Kolman is Senior VP and Academic Ambassador at Elsevier and former President of the International Publishers Association (IPA) where he now chairs Inclusive Publishing and Literacy. Michiel also serves on the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) board. Since joining Elsevier in 1995, he has held various core publishing roles in Amsterdam and Tokyo. Prior to Elsevier, he worked for Wolters Kluwer in a division that is now part of Springer Nature. He holds a degree from Leiden University in the Netherlands and a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia University in New York, where he studied with a Fulbright scholarship. Michiel is co-chair of Workplace Pride supporting LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion internationally.
Juan Mera is Director Supply Chain y Transformación Digital sector editorial at Grupo Planeta, the group where he has developed different projects and departments during more thab twenty years. Previously he was the Director of Planeta in Portugal (2008 -2019), Director of International Expansion, Managing director of Don Quixote.