Comprehensive Environmental Strategy
My team evaluated Yale University Press’ current position in the publishing industry, and studied environmental impacts associated with offset printing, transportation of books, and the day-to-day operations of the Press’ New Haven office.
Our most important contribution was helping managers to sort out the greenwash campaign publicized by one of their American offset printing vendors. This vendor placed ads in prominent publishing magazines stating that an important step in publishing a ‘green’ book is to “Print in the US.” We conducted a mini-LCA to test this assumption. We found that considering only the distance traveled does not provide a complete picture of the impacts of transportation on global warming. Instead, the method of transportation is at least as important as the distance traveled.
The graph to the right demonstrates our findings: a book printed in China, transported by container ship to Seattle and by rail to the Press’ distribution center in Rhode Island had a lower environmental impact associated with transportation than a book printed in Indiana and trucked to Rhode Island.
We encouraged the Press to map the locations of printers that they use, and investigate the transportation options available from each site.