Environment

Earth viewed from space.

Reducing our impact on the planet, not society.

Our learners and researchers are highly engaged in safeguarding the future of our planet, and we are committed to being part of a positive, sustainable future in which they, and the rest of society, can thrive.

Cambridge University Press & Assessment recognises the climate emergency and our responsibility to act. Our role as a leader in global education and research is to inform and progress action and debate around the world’s most pressing challenges, including the environment and climate change.

 

 

Our commitments

We are committed to reducing our environmental impact across all areas of our operations. We work to support our suppliers to share our ambitions for a carbon zero supply chain, while promoting our environmental ambitions to our people, customers and partners around the world.

We have set science-based targets to reduce our carbon footprint and commit to measuring ourselves against the three scopes of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Cambridge University Press & Assessment has committed to being carbon zero on all energy-related emissions by 2048, with a 72 per cent reduction by 2030.

We align with international conventions and standards so that we can publicly report on our progress. Our environmental management system takes into account compliance with a range of international frameworks, including the ISO 14001 framework and the GRI data standard, so we can assure our stakeholders that our environmental impact is being measured and improved.

We are a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, and we commit to upholding the principles of environmental responsibility and innovation across all our operations.

Our environment programme is aligned to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We consider our impact across a range of issues including biodiversity, water use and the consumption of single-use materials.

Above all, we are committed to working closely with learners, researchers and colleagues who make up our communities in over 170 countries. We provide access to the education, learning and research they need to contribute to a sustainable future for all.

 

“We are keenly aware that, as a global leader in education, learning and research, we help to inform and shape debate around climate change and environmental sustainability. That, really, has been the impetus behind our goal to make Cambridge University Press & Assessment a carbon-neutral organisation, and it’s a goal that our colleagues have wholeheartedly embraced.” 

Helen Griggs, Global Director, Environment, Procurement and Supply, Operations

Reducing the impact of our premises

New photovoltaic panels on the roof of our Cambridge head office.

 

With our strong climate change and sustainability publishing programme, we are clear that our approach to reducing our carbon footprint must be measured and delivered using science-based targets and an internationally recognised environmental management system.

We measure ourselves against the three scopes of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from activities under our control, such as our offices. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the electricity we buy. Scope 3 covers emissions from third parties and those beyond our immediate control, such as procurement and distribution. As our journey to carbon zero begins, we have delivered several initiatives to reduce our carbon and environmental impacts. 

At both the University Printing House and Triangle in the UK, green spaces and gardens have been built, including an allotment for employee use. Several have been turned into nature gardens to help encourage biodiversity across the Cambridge campus. 

In 2019 we installed one of the UK’s largest flat-roof solar installations on the University Printing House. This reduced our carbon footprint in the UK by 20 per cent, and now meets up to 5 per cent of our UK power needs. Combined with the 2018 solar installations on Triangle and a change in suppliers, all our UK energy needs will be met by renewable sources from September 2021. 

All UK waste contracting is now handled by suppliers who do not use landfill sites; waste is instead processed using recycling, incinerating and anaerobic digestion methods. Plastic food packaging and cutlery has been removed from all on-site restaurants, and staff fill up their own cups and bottles from our water taps. 

We are reducing the number of fleet cars and average miles travelled, and have added more electric car charging points at Cambridge office sites. We have a car-sharing scheme and a bicycle pool to encourage sustainable commuting. 

We operate in 170 countries, and our colleagues worldwide are committed to cutting the carbon footprint of our operations. Our ‘Eco-Warriors’ in Manila, Philippines, proactively champion environmental responsibility with our customers. They are seeking transformative waste-segregation approaches in the city by working with waste contractors and colleagues to cut down on single-use plastic, working towards zero waste to landfill. At our office in Madrid, Spain, electronic waste is now all repurposed or recycled, including computer screens, laptop chargers and electric cables. The office has gone ‘plastic free’, with colleagues all switching to reusable bottles and containers. 

Our journey towards carbon zero is a collective, global effort, and all change, however small, is important and something to be celebrated and supported. 

Sustainable procurement

We are committed to sourcing all our paper from sustainable sources

 

As a publisher and examination group, we are reliant on sourcing paper and board and recognise the impact that this has on the environment. The proximity of our supply chain to key natural resources makes it essential that we set serious targets to reduce the impact on the natural world of everything we procure.

We only use legal and sustainable sources, regardless of the complexity of the production process. Our approach is to use our international buying power to encourage suppliers to review their own practices. We work with them to solve mutual problems and to evaluate the environmental credentials of our supply chain as part of our tendering process. 

To help us, we work with organisations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

For example, 75 per cent of all Cambridge University Press books and journals, now contain only paper and board that is either FSC or PEFC certified. The remaining 25 per cent, are being updated to include paper and board from sources rated by the Publishers Database for Responsible Environmental Paper Sourcing (PREPS).

In 2019 we gained the top Timber Scorecard rating from World Wildlife Fund – a prestigious 3 Trees score recognising our work to make sure we source sustainable timber.

“We went from a 0 Tree score in 2015 to 3 Trees in 2019. It’s fantastic for all the colleagues and suppliers involved to see their effort acknowledged.” Helen Griggs, Global Director for Environment, Procurement and Supply

As part of our commitment to championing our approach to carbon zero with our supply chain, we are working with the Book Chain Project to capture detailed information about the environmental impact of our supply chain and identify areas for collective improvement. We also conduct systematic supply audits using external criteria and frameworks such as Sedex Members Ethical Trace Audit (SMETA).

For more information, read our Sustainable Procurement Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct here.

Our publishing