How we support climate action

It has been a pivotal year for climate action at Springer Nature. We:

2020

Became carbon neutral for offices, fleets and flights

April 2021

Signed The Climate Pledge

August 2021

Appointed a Climate Action Officer and launched a Group-wide Environmental Policy

October 2021

Committed to set science-based targets

November 2021

Engaged in COP26 in partnership with others and hosted our second company-wide Green Week

December 2021

Completed Green Building Checklists across 14 of our largest sites

“As a world-leading climate publisher, we are acutely aware of the importance of turning to science when solving pressing global challenges.”

Thea Sherer, Director of Sustainability

Case study

Linking research to climate action at COP26

To highlight the importance of research in identifying climate solutions, Springer Nature launched Climate Research in Action alongside the climate conference COP26.

Ahead of COP26, President Alok Sharma asked researchers and scientists to enter the public debate on climate change, fill knowledge gaps and help policymakers find climate solutions. Springer Nature rose to the challenge and developed our Climate Research in Action campaign to highlight the importance of multidisciplinary research in finding solutions to climate change.

The campaign included a dedicated microsite with a compilation of important research from across the Nature Portfolio that delegates and policymakers could access freely during the conference. The microsite also featured a timeline of the Ozone Story, on the scientific discovery of a hole in the ozone layer, which was first published in Nature in 1985 and led to the development of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. The campaign received endorsements from international climate action leaders and was accessible via QR code for over 500 passengers travelling to Glasgow via Rail to the COP, an initiative transporting activists and delegates to COP26 by train.

Poster for the Climate Research in Action website: Are you up to speed with the latest climate research? #ClimateResearchInAction

Taking responsibility for our impacts

In 2021, we rolled out our first global Environmental Policy, setting out our expectations for the most material environmental impacts.

The policy gathers a range of practical guidance under a clear vision:

Travel: minimise travel and use greener modes where possible

Offices: reduce energy use

Water: monitor water use at our largest sites and seek to improve efficiency where possible

Paper: ensure paper is sustainably sourced by our suppliers

Packaging: minimise use of plastic wrap and trial biodegradable or alternative replacements

Supply chain: suppliers must adhere to our Code of Conduct, which includes environmental expectations

Marketing and events: ask staff to consider sustainable sourcing and waste reduction

Cloud services: strive to use suppliers that are carbon neutral or committed to being by 2025

Acting on carbon

Decarbonising our operations, supply chain and products is challenging – and in line with many companies we are still developing our detailed plans.

We know that waiting until all the relevant information and technologies become available will mean acting too late, so we are already working towards interim targets.

Net zero targets – Set science-based targets against a 2019 baseline, covering at least 95% of our scope 1 and 2 emissions and two‑thirds of our scope 3 emissions in 2022.

People – Roll out introductory sustainable business training to all employees via a three‑year programme starting in 2022.

Offices – Set up Green Building Checklists and action plans for major sites in 2022, and review half‑yearly 2022‑2025. Implement space‑saving strategies across our global office portfolio and measure associated carbon reductions.

Suppliers – Actively engage 50% of print and 50% of pre-press suppliers (by spend) to align on our sustainability targets by 2022.

Products – Inform end-of-life recycling by labelling new titles in our printed books and journals portfolio by 2025.

IT – Transition from data centres to carbon-neutral and energy‑efficient cloud‑based suppliers wherever possible by 2025.

Our progress in 20211

  • 37% decrease in gross emissions
  • 47% decrease in net emissions
  • 9% decrease in total energy use
  • 84% decrease in emissions from business flights

1 When compared with 2020.

Our emissions

In 2020, Springer Nature became, for the first time, net carbon neutral for emissions associated with our offices, fleet and flights, and in 2021 we saw further reductions in our carbon footprint. We report our carbon emissions in three ways: gross carbon emissions (2021: 8,602 tonnes of CO2 equivalent); net carbon emissions before offsetting, including the reduction in emissions from buying renewable electricity (2021: 4,304 tCO2e), and net carbon emissions after the purchase of carbon offsets (2021: zero tCO2e).

Greenhouse gas emissions

(Tonnes of CO2 equivalent/tCO2e)

Greenhouse gas emissions chart
Net emissions (before offsetting)Gross emissions
2019 (baseline)**27,10433,473
2020*8,08613,663
20214,3048,602

* Data was reviewed by our auditors in 2020.

** 2019 baseline excludes data from SPS business (divested in December 2019).

Data in this bar was reviewed by our auditors – please see the audit statement in our Sustainable Business Report 2021.