What is Green
Green Press Initiative (GPI) is a non-profit program which
takes a collaborative approach towards working with publishers,
printers, paper manufacturers and others in the book and
newspaper industries to minimize social and environmental
impacts, including impacts on endangered forests, impacts on
climate change, and impacts on communities where paper fiber is
When was GPI
GPI was founded in 2001. Initially the focus was entirely on
the book industry, however, the program was expanded to include
the newspaper industry in 2007.
What are the
impacts of the paper industry and books/newspapers?
The entire paper industry, when
accounting for forest carbon loss, emits nearly 750 million tons
of C02 equivalent annually – nearly 10% of all U.S. greenhouse
gas emissions. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of
over 136 million cars. The U.S. book and newspaper industries combined require the harvest of 125 million trees each year and emit over 40 million metric tons of CO2 annually; equivalent to the annual CO2 emmissions of 7.3 million cars.
Each year the U.S book industry uses approximately 30
million trees, and the U.S. newspaper industry consumes 95
million trees. Many of these trees are from old growth and
endangered forests, and the demand for paper is encouraging the
practice of converting natural forests into single species tree
plantations that support only a fraction of the biodiversity.
Impacts on Climate
The paper industry is the fourth largest industrial source
of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and books and
newspapers release greenhouse gases thought their lifecycles.
Globally, scientist estimate that deforestation is responsible
for 25% of human caused greenhouse gases. When trees are cut to
make paper, not only do they cease to remove carbon dioxide from
the atmosphere through photosynthesis, but greenhouse gases are
released to the atmosphere when plant material not used makes
paper decays or is burned as a source of power at the mill. As a
result of these emissions and those associated with soil
disturbances at the site of harvest, even trees are replanted,
it can take up to 25 years for a newly planted forest to stop
being a net emitter of greenhouse gases, and hundreds of years
before they store the same amount of carbon as an undisturbed
GPI worked to
complete the first ever Environmental Trends and Climate
Impacts report for the U.S. book industry. It was the first
comprehensive carbon footprint analysis of a publishing sector
and is being used as a model in other paper sectors.
This assessment found
that the entire book industry, through all steps of production,
retail, and publishing activities, emits a net 8.85 pounds per
In Canada, Indonesia, Brazil and many other countries
throughout the world, people who rely on forests for their
livelihood have been severely impacted by the paper industry.
From the destruction of forests needed to survive to some being
forced from their land, the paper industry has disrupted the way
of life for these communities.
What is the
Book Industry Treatise on Environmentally Responsible Publishing?
Industry Treatise on Environmentally Responsible Publishing
is an industry-developed declaration of meaningful environmental
goals and timelines for industry transformation.
It spurred the
adoption of environmental paper policies with nearly 200
publishers and printers, following the guidelines in the
What are the
benefits of recycled paper?
Each ton of recycled fiber that
replaces a ton of virgin fiber saves 17-24 mature trees and up
to 7.5 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions.
Also, recycling keeps paper out of landfills, which at current
levels makes up 26% of landfills. The degradation produces
methane a greenhouse gas with 23 times the heat trapping
capacity of carbon dioxide and landfills are the source of 34%
of methane releases—the single largest source in the U.S.
What are the
benefits of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified papers?
Forest Stewardship Council
(FSC) certified paper ensures that the fiber to make paper does
not originate from Endangered Forests or areas of social
conflict. They work to keep natural and biodiverse forests from
being converted to single-species tree farms after harvest and
integrate the concerns of indigenous and local communities into
forest plans and assessments.
What progress has
been achieved in recent years?
GPI’s consistent education and
advocacy work have also spurred the development of environmental
paper policies from over 180 book publishers – approximately 42%
of market-share in the U.S. book sector. This has resulted in a
six fold increase in recycled fiber use-- representative of a
reduction of over approximately 1.4 million tons of greenhouse
gas emissions (equivalent to over 250,000 cars/yr) and nearly 3
million trees per year
We’ve helped to advance the development of nearly 30 new
eco-paper grades, including recycled, postconsumer recycled and
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) fiber content and supported a
cut in price premiums by 50%, and there are now 31 U.S.
and Canadian printers serving U.S. publishers are now stocking
environmental grades in-house.