Environment &
sustainability

 

 

Like so many people and organisations, our goal is to make measurable changes to the planet, not only as a business but as individuals too.

We recognise there’s still a lot more work to be done, but by considering the impact on the planet with every action we take, we can all make a meaningful difference and help take small steps towards a better world to live in.

As a business, we are passionate about leading change and aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While our focus is to ensure that the research we publish can fully play its part in solving significant global challenges, we are also making sure our environmental & sustainability roadmaps are aligned with the SDGs, via SDG12 and 13.

We all have a responsibility to our planet. Individually and collectively, we make daily choices which can have negative or positive effects. At Emerald, we're aiming to lay strong foundations for change through education, knowledge, and action. Every small step matters to create positive intent and impact.    

Vicky Williams, CEO Emerald Publishing

Our overall progress & highlights so far

 

We became a signatory of Publishing Declares in December 2023.
 

62% of our journals and 90% of our books frontlist titles map to one or more UN SDG.

We have reduced our carbon footprint by switching to hybrid working across all our global offices.

We’ve made the switch to 100% renewable energy at our head office, based in Leeds, UK.

FSC, PEFC and SFI approved and endorsed for paper.

 

We have embedded 'Planet Champions' across the business.
 

We moved to a primarily print on demand first books programme back in 2016.
 

Our commitment to climate action


We've signed up to Publishing Declares bannerSignatory of Publishing Declares

We are proud to be a signatory of Publishing Declares the Publishers Association’s Climate Action Pledge. Launched in 2021, this is the UK publishing industry’s first declaration on climate action.

The five commitments of Publishing Declares are below, along with the actions we have taken so far against each. We will continue to regularly report back on our progress to ensure we stay true to our commitments and the promises we make.
 

Commitment 1: Reach net zero by 2050

Join the global climate effort to limit warming to 1.5°C by setting ambitious, measurable targets across our own operations and extended supply chain to achieve net zero as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest.

Our actions so far:

  • We are working hard to understand the climate impact of our operations across the supply chain and on setting targets for reduction.
  • In 2023 we reduced our physical head office space to reduce energy consumption and switched to 100% renewable energy supply.

 

Commitment 2: Protect nature and biodiversity

Work with supply chain partners that are resource efficient, use sustainable materials and processes wherever possible in the content we produce, and constantly innovate to make use of new and recycled materials.

Our actions so far:

  • We work with our partners across our supply & value chains to use sustainable materials, including eco forest and sourcing.
  • We have established a sustainable procurement working group to develop best practice and partner with suppliers who share our values.

 

Commitment 3: Strengthen partnerships

Collaborate with our peers, authors, illustrators, supply chain partners, and business partners to translate our climate commitments into tangible actions to safeguard our planet for future generations.

Our actions so far:

  • Colleagues volunteer with the Canal and River Trust in the UK with planting and litter-picking schemes.
  • We work with our research communities to ensure that valuable and timely research is published to support environment and sustainability best practice.

 

Commitment 4: Educate our colleagues

Empower our colleagues to become climate literate and support them to bring that knowledge into the work that they do.

Our actions so far:

  • We have introduced an environmental training course as well as embedding a learning pathway around environment & sustainability, across the organisation, which all colleagues are asked to complete.

 

Commitment 5: Advocate for sustainability

Use our expertise, platform, and voice to raise awareness and drive positive climate action wherever we can.

Our actions so far:

  • We have an experienced and passionate group of Environmental & Sustainability champions throughout the business, from regions across the globe
  • We participate in the Net Zero Challenge at organisational and individual levels.
  • We have representation on the ALPSP SDG and Publishing SIG. The aim is to provide information and share best practice to help those industry members with limited industry knowledge, build a better understanding of the UN SDGs and how they can actively contribute to them inside and outside of their organisations.

Net Zero Challenge

We all need to make changes to the way that we work and live to reduce our carbon emissions.

Being involved in the Net Zero Challenge enables Emerald employees worldwide to report on their actions, including:

  • Reductions in car and air travel.
  • Switching to green energy suppliers and reducing our home and work energy usage.
  • Using less water at home and work, particularly hot water.
  • Reducing the amount we throw away.
  • Helping to protect and improve biodiversity in our local area.

Between April 2022 and August 2023, 72 Emerald Employees have taken part in the challenge and so far have avoided 28,361kg in CO2e emissions – that's the equivalent of taking a return flight from Paris to New York for 56 passengers!

Our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals


In 2021 we became signatories of the SDG Publishers Compact. This is a United Nations initiative launched in 2020, in collaboration with the International Publishers Association.

The Compact aims to accelerate progress to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

As signatories, we aspire to develop sustainable practices and act as champions of the SDGs during the Decade of Action (2020-2030), which includes publishing books and journals that will help inform, develop, and inspire action in that direction.

View our progress and how we report on our actions

Reporting on our actions


In 2024 we will be publishing our carbon accounting (including SECR & Scope 3 emissions) as well as our Responsible Sustainability report.

Scope 3 reporting will enable us to quantify the emissions of our supply chain which will help us to capture a full view of our carbon footprint. As well as being the right thing to do, it will help us gain understanding of the true impact of our business on the climate and inform our plans to move towards net zero.

We are already disclosing our actions as part of our commitment to the SDG Publishers Compact. You can either download the PDF infographic or read the accessible version below.

Take a look at our actions

Our progress on the SDG Publisher Compact 10 recommendations

1. Committing to the SDGs

Refreshed our responsible business strategy focussing on SDG 4, 10 and 13.
Communicated a clear statement of our intent.

2. Actively promoting and acquiring content that advocates for themes represented by the SDGs

62% of Emerald journals mapped to one or more SDG.
90% of our frontlist titles map to one or more SDG.

Commissioning content aligned to Goals, made up of overlapping SDGs.
Partnered with COPPUL
Worked with Joint Commitment for Action on Inclusion and Diversity within Publishing, adding new questions to ScholarOne to collect gender, race and ethnicity data.
Provide important how-to guides to aid dissemination and discovery beyond academia:

Promote 'beyond the article' content types, such as:

Books we publish aligned to the SDGs:

  • Higher Education and SDGs series
  • Concise guides to the SDGs series

3. Annual reporting on progress towards achieving SDGs

Committed to increasing female and non-binary representation across editorial boards and authorship by 2030.
Publish Gender Pay Gap and Ethnicity Pay Gap reports.

4. Nominating a person who will promote SDG progress

Established Publishing Development Manager roles, each focusing on broad, SDG-related areas:

5. Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among staff

Established a team of 'SDG champions'. Developed and launched an on-demand resource for ED&I. Improved our recruitment practice:

  • Recruit talent representative of diverse community groups
  • Introduced AI to screen job adverts for gender-biased language
  • Introduced anonymous application and screening process
  • Worked with Inclusive Employers to perform an end-to-end recruitment audit

6. Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among suppliers

  • Launched an ethical procurement process

7. Becoming an advocate to customers and stakeholders by promoting and actively communicating about the SDG agenda

Clearly display our commitment to UN SDGs and SDG Publishers Compact on our corporate website.
Address global challenges facing society by bringing communities together to share knowledge and foster debate through mission campaigns:

Established the yearly Interdisciplinary Research Award
Work in progress to align the journal programme to a lead SDG-themed Goal where relevant, for example:

8. Collaborating with other signatories and organisations to develop, localise and scale projects that will advance progress on the SDGs

A signatory of DORA
A core member of the SDG Publishers Compact Fellows and supporter of the recommended Top Action Tips
Contribute to the UN-endorsed HESI Joint Task Force

9. Dedicating budget and other resources towards accelerating progress for SDG-dedicated projects and promoting SDG principles.

Participate at annual conferences and speaker opportunities.
Dedicate curated, ungated SDG missions – content collections within our Emerald Goals.

10. Taking action on at least one SDG goal

The following are the golden thread across everything we do:

Our mission-driven content


As a global publisher we are committed to ensuring the research we publish can fully play its part in solving significant global challenges. This includes making sure the best research on the SDGs is available to those that need it, in a format that can drive action, both inside and outside of academia. We are doing this in a number of different ways.

Our goals

We focus on five interdisciplinary goals, fairer society, healthier lives, responsible management, quality education for all, and sustainable structures and infrastructures, each aligned to multiple SDGs.

/our-goals

Fully open access journals

These new journals give authors the opportunity to publish their research open access so that they can influence thinking, change policies and practice, and make a positive difference to lives beyond academia.

/new-open-access-programme-addressing-un-sustainable-development-goals

Sharing knowledge


International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management cover

Research has the power to change the world where it matters most.

This open access journal is available to access and read and contains important research that links specifically to the environment and sustainability. It provides a platform for papers accessing approaches to combat and cope with climate change.

Find out more about the International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management.