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Through our publishing, we help to improve education, raise awareness and build knowledge on climate change mitigation, adaptation and impact reduction. We believe this is where Springer Nature, as a global research and education publisher, has a specific role to play.

As a responsible business, we aim to continue to reduce our carbon footprint year on year and we are committed to using sustainable paper in our products. Air travel is essential to supporting our international teams and maintaining strong relationships with the research community and educators around the world, but we recognise that it is also a significant contributor to the company’s carbon footprint. In 2019, we promoted ways for colleagues to reduce their air travel, highlighting alternatives to flying and making better use of technology to avoid travel.

In 2019, our carbon footprint was 29,692 tonnes CO2e (net emissions), a reduction of 10% compared to 2018. Purchases of offsets have reduced our 2019 emissions compared to 2018 by a further 20%.

An entry in the Springer Nature SDG photo competition, representing SDG 14: Life Below Water. Arend Kuester

Case study

Tackling carbon emissions

In 2019, Springer Nature explored approaches to mitigating our climate impact through carbon offsetting. We convened an advisory group, with senior managers from corporate functions and chief editors of some of our sustainability and climate-related publications, and agreed to support two carbon balancing projects which generate independently verified carbon savings.

The two projects were CommuniTree and Carbon Tanzania. CommuniTree (Nicaragua) gives local farmers the chance to earn more from reforesting their land with indigenous trees than by deforesting it. In East Africa, Carbon Tanzania works with the indigenous Hadza tribe and Tatoga Pastoralists to reduce uncontrolled deforestation by securing land rights for local communities and creating designated farming zones to reduce conflict.

Monitoring growth rates of indigenous trees in Nicaragua

Case study

Covering Climate Now

In September 2019, we joined 300 other media outlets in publishing climate-related articles in the lead-up to the UN climate summit, as part of the Covering Climate Now project. The project asks journalists to work together to ensure that climate change news is treated with appropriate urgency, given the narrowing window for action.

Nature published 25 pieces of climate-related content in seven days

Front cover of Nature’s 19th September issue

Case study

Reducing plastic packaging

Some of our printed journals and books are wrapped in plastic to ensure that they reach their destination in good condition. In 2019, we stopped wrapping all but the largest research books (where damage is more likely if unwrapped), reducing the number of units wrapped by 1.2 million.

We are researching alternatives for those cases where wrapping is still required. These alternatives present many challenges, due to the global nature of our production and distribution, the availability of different alternatives and their durability, and the wide variations in available recycling facilities around the world.

Since 2018, the education division has reduced packaging for most of its products, except for books series which must be kept together. For example, they have replaced two million plastic wallets for educational DVDs (use for teaching in countries where downloads are not possible or practical) with paper alternatives.

We reduced the units of books wrapped in plastic by 1.2 million

Our Green Office Network has over 100 members in 19 locations