In January 2010, at a company meeting in New York, Macmillan CEO John Sargent announced a new corporate mission: starting immediately, we would target global climate change with an unprecedented effort to reduce the company's effect on the environment. The goal: a 65% reduction in Macmillan's carbon footprint by the end of 2019. "Sustainability," Sargent said, "will be part of the very mission of the company. Not just as a press release, not just around the edges, but in the very fabric of the place. It will be as important as growth, as important as profitability. It may be even more important."
In the time since, we have launched a wide range of initiatives to shrink our environmental impact: tightening up energy and paper usage at our own offices and facilities; purchasing paper from low carbon-emitting mills; transitioning to hybrid model company cars; investing in certified carbon offset programs like methane recapture; and much more. The sustainability effort now covers every aspect of our working day and all steps required to make and sell books—everything our publishing houses can control or influence in their relationships with vendors, stores, employees, authors, and readers.
At that meeting announcing Macmillan's sustainability initiative, John Sargent quoted Albert Einstein, saying, "'Problems can't be solved with the same thinking we used to create them.'" Going forward, Macmillan will continue to look for new and better ways of using natural resources and reducing environmental damage. "All companies are going to have to address these issues sooner than later if they hope to stay in business," Sargent concluded. "Let us be one of the companies that leads instead of follows."