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OUP shares progress on sustainability

Oxford University Press has shared its latest Responsible Publishing Report reflecting on the steps the publisher has taken to operate sustainably.

OUP shares progress on sustainability
Nigel Portwood: “I am extremely proud of the progress we have made this year, much of which can be attributed to the continued focus and hard work of our colleagues worldwide.”

Oxford University Press (OUP) has published its second Responsible Publishing Report. The report reflects on the steps the publisher has taken to operate responsibly and support its people and communities worldwide, as well as capturing the progress it has made against its targets.

It further demonstrates how OUP — a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Publishers Compact — is aligning many of its operational and publishing activities with the SDGs, with a particular focus on promoting access to quality education, ethics, diversity and inclusion, and environmental sustainability. The report shares progress against its three sustainability targets, including a 59% reduction in operational carbon footprint and a 70% total reduction in waste. 91% of the paper used by the publisher’s strategic print suppliers is now certified sustainable, up from 75% the prior year.

The publisher says highlights from the report include:

  • Donating thousands of books to support educational initiatives worldwide, including to long-standing charity partner Book Aid International and to schools affected by the earthquakes in southern Türkiye and Syria.
  • Increasing women’s representation at leadership level to 45% in December 2022, against a target of 50% representation by 2024.
  • Sending zero waste to landfill from OUP’s two largest offices, representing 40% of the workforce.
  • Conducting a climate risk assessment to embed climate risk more deeply into the risk management process.
  • Developing a Sustainable Marketing Charter, with the aim of using sustainable paper for 100% of its marketing collateral by 2025, as well as reducing the amount of marketing print produced overall.
  • Providing employees and their family members with access to the global Employee Assistance Programme, available in regional languages, including in multiple local dialects in India. There is also an on-site counsellor based at OUP’s largest office, Oxford.
  • Aligning with the South African government’s initiative to address low levels of literacy and numeracy across the country, with OUP’s Road to Literacy campaign.

This year’s report also includes a new section, Publishing with Purpose, which acknowledges the role publishing plays in educating future generations on social and environmental issues, promoting critical thinking, and increasing the impact of research. It details how many of the titles and content published by OUP address some of the world’s most pressing sustainable development challenges and inspire action.

The publisher added, examples include:

  • Raising awareness about the SDG topics through its titles. All About Us Now for Spain was the first course to collaborate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to educate learners on the challenges faced by child refugees.
  • Publishing a wide spectrum of content which reflects the communities OUP serves. For example, the Oxford Dictionary of African American English is in development with Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and hundreds of Academic titles were published to increase the visibility of underrepresented groups.
  • Making impactful open access research on key topics relating to sustainability available through the Oxford Open series, including Oxford Open Climate Change and Oxford Open Energy.
  • Improving processes and policies to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of publishing. The ‘Bring Your Voice to Primary Literacy Publishing’ initiative was introduced to attract authors from underrepresented backgrounds to write for OUP’s Primary Literacy list—and has already commissioned 15 authors.

Nigel Portwood, CEO of Oxford University Press, said: “I am extremely proud of the progress we have made this year, much of which can be attributed to the continued focus and hard work of our colleagues worldwide. Through collaboration, and a commitment to our mission—furthering the university’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide—we have pursued initiatives and activities that make a real difference, both within OUP, and among the communities we serve. But our work doesn’t stop there; we will continue to review and enhance our processes wherever possible, so that our publishing remains purposeful, challenges minds, and drives positive, long-lasting change in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

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