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Environment

As a global business and one of the world’s leading publishers on climate science, the Press is committed to protecting the environment and reducing our impact on it. Our strategy includes a commitment to be net-carbon neutral from energy use by 2048 using science-based targets.

In 2019–20 we advanced our sustainability agenda with a wide range of initiatives. We built one of the UK’s largest flat roof solar installations at our Cambridge office. This will reduce our carbon footprint in the UK by around 20 per cent and will be able to meet half of the site’s power needs on the sunniest summer days. The panels became fully operational in September and had generated 371,516kWh by the end of the financial year, which equated to 95tCO2e avoided emissions. This helped us to reduce the amount of electricity we purchased on the Shaftesbury Road site to 1,560,067kWh or 399tCO2, a fall of 51 per cent compared to 2018–19.

This drop was also due to ongoing work to install more energy efficient lighting, boilers, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. From December onwards, all our UK electricity was purchased from renewable sources. As well as improved energy management practices, future energy efficiencies identified include further upgrades of electronic equipment, lighting and lighting controls.

We reduced our fleet cars from 21 to 17 and made plans to convert some from diesel to electric hybrid. Distance travelled fell from 381,434 miles to 258,387 miles, with carbon emissions from our fleet and pool vehicles falling by 32 per cent, saving a further 21 tonnes of CO2e compared to the year before. Eight additional electric car charging points were installed, making a total of 12 accessible points for colleagues and visitors.

We began to harness the enthusiasm of colleagues through Press-wide cross-functional working groups looking at ways of further reducing our environmental impact in six priority areas: business travel; energy; product and paper; resources and waste; supply chain and freight and food. An Environment Action Group coordinates the contributions of over 120 colleagues. This has elicited proposals for a new global travel policy and environmental travel guidance, consolidation of orders and returns to reduce freight, and creation of an allotment.

Ideas put into practice include the removal of plastic and paper cups from water coolers and two restaurants in favour of colleagues using their own cups, and the replacement of plastic food packing and cutlery with compostable or ceramic alternatives. We have a policy of sending zero waste to landfill. Refuse-derived fuel waste rose to 5.5 tonnes during the year, due to an office refurbishment, while waste recycled fell by 26 per cent to 115 tonnes in the UK. This was due in large part to a reduction in food packaging waste, as more sustainable alternatives were provided.

Waste Disposal

0%

sent to landfill

1%

sent as hazardous waste

6%

sent for incineration

93%

recycled

We have been working with colleagues in Cambridge Assessment and the wider University to align our sustainability strategies and drive forward joint initiatives such as the Cambridge Travel Project. During the year the Press also became a signatory of the UN’s Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate responsibility initiative. Signatories recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth - all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. We have held ISO 14001 environmental management certification since 2007, which is a framework that facilitates environmental improvements.

We report our progress on emissions reduction under three different scopes, and sub-categories, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a standard by which businesses and other organisations can measure climate-warming emissions. Scope 1 covers direct emissions, Scope 2 covers indirect emissions via the purchase of electricity, and Scope 3 measures indirect emissions in an organisation’s day to day operations.

In 2019–20, UK Scope 1 total emissions fell by 17 per cent to 109tCO2e. Under Scope 2 total emissions fell by 49 per cent to 432tCO2. The year’s figures were affected by COVID-19 which cut business operations sharply in the last two months.

During the year we moved beyond the UK and started screening our greenhouse gas emissions around the world. This allowed us to report Scope 2 emissions for nine other significant global offices, amounting to 420tCO2e. We are continuing to improve our international data collation.

Globally, our main focus is on cutting Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, while within Scope 3 our priority areas are the Press’s paper publications, freight and warehousing, business travel and supply chain partners. We continue to reduce resource consumption and waste; seek assurances from our suppliers that forestry products are legally sourced; and promote our environmental policy to our people, suppliers, customers and other partners.

Solar panel Photovoltaic panels on the roof of our Cambridge head office

The following table provides further specific energy and carbon data, as part of the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SE CR) legislation and additional Scope 3 data that is significant. Three intensity metrics are provided at the end of the table to normalise the data. This will facilitate comparison of data over time and show how much of an environmental impact we have relative to our number of colleagues, our gross internal area space or financial turnover.

The following table provides further specific energy and carbon data, as part of the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SE CR) legislation and additional Scope 3 data that is significant. Three intensity metrics are provided at the end of the table to normalise the data. This will facilitate comparison of data over time and show how much of an environmental impact we have relative to our number of colleagues, our gross internal area space or financial turnover.

Energy and carbon data for the year ended 30 April 2020

Swipe to view the rest of the table >
 
  Intensity metrics
GHG Scope & Category
Resource, activity, product or service Location Measurement Total tCO2e Difference from previous year Number of UK employees 1,257 (global 3,013) UK gross internal area 24,900M2 UK turnover
1 Propane gas Cambridge kWh 73,620 16 7% 0.014 0.001 0.00000005
1 Gas Cambridge kWh 240,729 49 0% 0.043 0.002 0.00000015
1 Fleet and pool cars Cambridge Medium diesel car/km 259,035 44 32% 0.038 0.002 0.00000013
2 Electricity Shaftesbury Rd, Cambridge kWh 1,560,067 399 51% 0.347 0.016 0.00000120
2 Electricty - other UK sites Pitt Building, Bookshop, apartments kWh 131,844 34 12% 0.029 0.001 0.00000010 
2 Solar panel electricity generation Cambridge kWh 371,516 -95 100% 0.076 -0.004 N/A
3 Global electricty Nine global branches kWh - 420 N/A 0.239 0.030 N/A
3.1 Purchased paper GPG ELT & Education cradle to gate ALL vendors, including the Iberian vendors used by ELT and Education Tonnes 9,011 8,585 N/A 6.829 0.345 0.00002594
3.1 Purchased paper GPG Journals cradle to gate UK & US Tonnes 490 467 N/A 0.371 0.019 0.00000141
3.1 Purchased paper GPG Academic paper cradle to gate   Tonnes 1,405 1,339 N/A 1.065 0.054 0.00000404
3.1 Water Cambridge Cubic meters 23,333 8.0 7% 0.006 0.000 0.00000002
3.1 Office paper Cambridge Tonnes 0.34 0.27 95% 0.000 0.000 0.00000000
3.5 General waste/RDF Cambridge Tonnes 5 0.12 -134% 0.000 0.000 0.00000000
3.5 Waste recycled Cambridge Tonnes 115 2.46 26% 0.002 0.000 0.00000001
3.6 Business flights, taxi and private vehciles Cambridge Passenger kilometers travelled & medium diesel car/km 13,786,196 2,922 3% 2.325 0.117 0.00000883
Calculations based on the UK Government's greenhouse gas reporting conversion factors 2019