Press Releases

  • TERI organizes second annual conference on green publishing

    14 March 2009

    Industry perspectives on the economics of ecological publishing and environmental challenges being faced by the publishing industry highlighted.

    The printing and publishing industry in India has traditionally been looked upon as a noble sector because of its obvious contribution to literacy, education, and awareness. However, as ecological concerns rise in the form of water depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, chemical discharge into water bodies, energy inefficiency, and environmental hazards, the conventional idea of profit maximization by private firms is being replaced by the ideology of corporate social responsibility. Recognizing this and the role that the publishing industry can play in going green to save the environment, TERI Press, the publishing arm of The Energy and Resources Institute TERI) organized an event Pathways to Green Publishing: a stakeholders' dialogue on ecological and sustainable publishing practices. With inaugural addresses by Dr R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI, Dr Vijay L Kelkar, Hon'ble Chairman, 13th Finance Commission, Government of India and Mr Akshay Pathak, Director, German Book Office, the event brought together stakeholders involved in the process of publishing, including paper manufacturers and printers, on a common platform to discuss the environmental issues plaguing the publishing industry as a whole.

    Giving his inaugural address Dr R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI said, "One of the most important frontiers in tackling the global threat of environmental degradation lies in greening the entire chain of printing and publication activity. If one were to assess the power of this extended sector, it would become apparent that the message of green practices applied in this field would reach every member of human society. India should be a leader in the field of sustainable development and consequently pathways to green publishing are important avenues for India to tread in a leadership position."

    Dr Pachauri further added that "It is critically important to set a motion of activities so that a radical change in the publishing industry can be seen. It is important to influence the thinking minds and it is heartening to see the enormous response TERI is getting from the stakeholders. It is crucial now to use the best methods & technologies to make publishing green in every aspect. He further stressed on the importance of involving the youth in this kind of initiative. "It is for you to be empowered & empower others.It's high time that we not only need to correct the damages but to also reverse the damages too." He added.

    Dr Vijay L Kelkar, Hon'ble Chairman, 13th Finance Commission, Government of India, while congratulating TERI for putting together this conference that addresses a very crucial issue, that of the environmental challenges being faced by the publishing industry, said "Sustainable growth is crucial for the development and growth of any industry and the publishing industry is no different. We all are aware that the whole process of publishing a book really turns out to be, not only very wasteful in nature, but also harmful for the environment. And it is imperative that we protect our environment as time is running out.

    Dr Kelkar while talking of the roles of all active stakeholders touched upon the role played by authors and intellectuals in encouraging a movement towards sustainable publishing." There is more than mere lip service that authors can pay to the environmental concerns plaguing the industry in particular and the economy in general. Authors can play a significant role in first, becoming aware of the current scenario that is detrimental to sustainable growth in future and second, influencing the publishers they work with to follow environmental rules, make adjustments that lead to a greener and cleaner tomorrow and understand that being environmentally conscious is not an expensive decision to make." He further added that "Most importantly, this conference fills the glaring information gap in the industry, which is also relevant for all other stakeholders in the supply chain beginning with authors and ending with the kabadiwalla."

    The highlight of the conference, however, was the high level Business Leaders Forum, which saw CEOs from the leading publishing conglomerates such as Pearson, Cengage, and Elsevier, as well as top printers like Thomson Digital and Gopsons in a discussion that looked at the ecological issues facing the industry as a whole and their quest for sustainable solutions.

    Apart from important sessions on Business Leader forums, Sustainable best practices etc, this years conference had two special sessions titled "Educational institutions as drivers of a greener tomorrow’ and ‘Author Speak". Teachers and students from leading schools of Delhi NCR, like The Shri Ram School, DPS Noida, and Kulachi Hansraj School participated in the conference to discuss the environmental initiatives that can be taken by schools and other educational institutions. This is in keeping with the vision of Dr R K Pachauri to inculcate the spirit of environmental awareness in young minds.

    The event also focused on "green business", the economics of sustainability, and the role of the media in bringing about a change. Therefore, students and faculty members from reputed management and media institutes such as NRAI School of Mass Communication, Management and Technology, Pioneer Media School, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology and, colleges such as Miranda House and Ramjas College participated in large numbers, where issues on how youth can be torch-bearers of change were dealt.

    The special "Author Speak" session saw renowned authors talking on best practices that the publishing industry can look into and also talked about the latest technologies available. Famous author, Ms Paro Anand addressed the session and shared her thoughts on how authors can lead the "green revolution" in publishing.

    The conference is a culmination of a year-long series of workshops under the Green Publishers' Guild in collaboration with the German Book Office, New Delhi. The first and second workshops addressed issues related to the publishing industry, such as the feasibility of using recycled paper and management of hazardous wastes in the printing industry. The second and third workshops addressed a wider audience with an emphasis on greening office buildings and educational infrastructure.

    Prominent speakers included Mr Vivek Govil, President and CEO, Mr Sanjay Banerjee, Managing Director, Elsevier, India, Mr R Srinivasan, Member, Corporate Management Committee, ITC Ltd, Ms Lata Vaidyanathan, Principal, Modern School, Mr Sanat Hazra, Technical Head, Times of India, and Ms Urvashi Butalia, Director, Zubaan Books. Prof Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, USA addressed the gathering through a video message. Representatives of renowned publishing houses such as Cambridge University Press, Pearson Education India, Pratham Books, Katha Books, Zubaan Books, Ratna Sagar Pvt Ltd, Narsinghdass and Co Pvt Ltd participated in the conference.

    While giving the vote of thanks, Ms Madhu Singh Sirohi, Head to TERI Publications said, "TERI press the publishing arm of TERI is perhaps the first publishing house in India to conceptualize a dialogue on the environmental impact of the process of publishing. I am hopeful that all those present here will benefit greatly from the deliberations and will also be inspired to lead from the front so that a pattern of sustainability is established throughout the supply chain."

    Ms Sirohi also introduced the "Green Publishers" Guild, which is a membership-based body of stakeholders from the paper, printing, and publishing industries as well as corporate houses, government institutions, media, and educational and knowledge-based institutions. The Guild is an active body that carries out workshops throughout the year, which finally culminates in the main event that is, Pathways to Green Publishing. The Guild also brings out a quarterly newsletter and is a platform for access to research conducted by TERI in the field of paper manufacturing, printing, and publishing.