How we're doing



We are proud to be involved in helping research fulfil its potential and supporting the wider research community in doing the right things and earning their trust.

We hold ourselves to account and make sure we stay true to our commitments and the promises we make.

Statement of intent

We recognise that the publishing sector can make an important contribution towards the realisation of a sustainable future for all, and Emerald is driving positive action. This is why, in 2018, we launched our Real impact manifesto, marking our intent to challenge the status quo and lead the publishing charge towards meaningful impact.

Since signing the UN SDG Publishers Compact in 2021, with membership of the SDG Publisher Compact Fellows soon after, our focus as a core member and supporter of the recommended top action tips, has been to ensure 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. This includes publishing books and journals that will help inform, develop and inspire action, to affect change in society as well as creating more equitable publishing practices. 

The Compact outlines clear targets, giving further impetus to move forward in a number of specific areas. For example, as we explored new forms of content beyond the research article and ways to present research and recommendations to non-specialist audiences, we've implemented a number of initiatives:

  • Accelerated the publication of policy briefs. Positive impact has been evidenced through citation of these publications in policy outputs, including the European Institute for Gender Equality document and a European Commission document on disaster risk management.
  • Created a library of over 70 podcasts, each one distilling research findings into a digestible format that is accessible to all.
  • Launched a new kind of article – the impact article – to celebrate and make explicit the impact of the underpinning research.
  • Provided guidelines to help authors craft a strong and compelling statement as part of their research article, emphasising the importance of a structured abstract that acts as a pointer to readers around potential relevance and application beyond academia.
  • Encouraged authors to create plain language summaries to help promote their work, a selection of which are hosted by Kudos.
  • Actively promote the SDG Publishers Compact Fellows top action tips and other resources by signposting to them on key campaigns and SDG Goal webpages.

The Compact represents a long-term commitment to measurable action for the benefit of society, one which challenges all publishers to think differently about content and supporting processes, to ensure even greater equity both in publishing and the wider research ecosystem. Emerald remains committed to driving positive change in partnership with our communities and other stakeholder groups, including for example, academic and professional associations, institutions, policy makers and funders, and we encourage all to adopt a similarly collaborative approach.

Working closely with our communities of editors and authors, many Emerald journals differentiate themselves by focusing on engaging practitioner audiences. Examples include:

  • The International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, which distils research papers down to two or three pages, with a writing style aligned to the needs of practitioners.
  • The Journal of Professional Capital and Community introduced a new initiative called voices from the field, which provides a forum for practitioners to contribute their insight, experiences, and feedback in relation to research published.  

Emerald has also collaborated with leading researchers in the impact and knowledge mobilisation space, to provide tools for research managers and academics to develop their impact knowledge and plans, from the outset of the research itself, with Impact Services.

You can see our full progress so far on the UN SDG Publishers Compact 10 commitments, which is regularly updated.

Tony Roche, Chief Officer: Publishing & Strategic Relationships, Emerald Publishing

Our progress on

SDG Publisher Compact 10 recommendations

In January 2021 we became a founding signatory of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) Publishers Compact and since then we have been working hard to embed the 10 actions across everything we do as a business.

It’s a long-term commitment but our progress is detailed in this infographic. You can either download the PDF infographic or read the accessible version below.

Download the infographic (PDF)


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 progress on DORA commitments

In May 2023, DORA celebrated their 10-year anniversary. As a signatory of DORA, we recognised the milestone by reflecting on our progress so far against their 10 recommendations to help improve how research is assessed.

View our progress so far

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.

More on environment & sustainability