Sustainability at Norton

W. W. Norton & Company and its employees are committed to publishing important, thought-provoking books while working every day to develop sustainable publishing practices. Finding the balance between these priorities is a goal we take seriously. Norton books, after all, are printed in the thousands of copies and shipped to warehouses, bookstores, and customers throughout the United States and, often, the world. Publishing responsibly requires careful management not only of book production but also of back-office operations. We have taken the following steps to minimize our publishing footprint, and we will continue to discover innovative paths toward a truly green publishing process.

Book manufacturing practices

  • Norton uses paper with recovered fiber content whenever possible, always with an eye to the consumer’s interest and to the quality, durability, and affordability of its printed books.
  • Norton has a zero-tolerance policy for suppliers that purchase wood products from illegal logging operations and further requires suppliers to guarantee that neither they nor any subcontractors use material harvested from ecologically sensitive areas. Both suppliers and other service providers must show a commitment to clean manufacturing procedures. Furthermore, paper suppliers must produce certification of sustainable forestry practices both for paper sold to Norton and for all forests such suppliers purchase from, own, or manage. New paper purchase agreements will require that these certifications be confirmed annually.
  • To help keep paper consumption to reasonable levels, Norton is creating e-book versions of more and more of our older releases, while making every new release available on recognized ebook platforms.
  • Our growing print-on-demand program helps Norton manage specialized and academic backlist inventory more efficiently than ever, by eliminating the need to order reprints in minimum quantities.

Office and operations initiatives

Green publishing is not all about paper. Environmental responsibility must govern both a publisher’s products and the processes that stand behind them. Norton’s greening has begun with a series of individual and departmental initiatives from the roots of the organization:

  • The editorial departments strongly encourage electronic submission of manuscripts and proposals.
  • Trade editors and sales representatives are using e-book readers to review manuscripts and book preview materials, avoiding hundreds of thousands of pages in copies per year.
  • College advertising prints most of its ads and catalogs on 100% PCW (post-consumer waste) recycled paper.
  • Norton is making many of its most paper-heavy processes—notably the numerous stages of manuscript editing—paperless whenever feasible. Office paper is being recycled, as are forms of office waste such as cardboard and aluminum cans.
  • In the New York office, single-paned windows were recently replaced with more-efficient double-paned windows.
  • In the warehouse, lighting fixtures have been outfitted with energy-saving ballasts and bulbs, and programmable thermostats are set back for off-hours.
  • The warehouse minimizes truck use by organizing bulk shipments of newly released titles to bookstores, wholesalers, and distributors in two concentrated runs per month.
  • The warehouse purchases shipping cartons made from only 100% PCW recycled cardboard and packs books with biodegradable cornstarch peanuts, not with plastic or Styrofoam. (Go ahead, run water over a handful and watch them dissolve.)

Toward a sustainable future

As an employee-owned company, Norton has always considered its staff partners in its future. Whether it is through the marketer disseminating information about books electronically, the editor reading manuscripts onscreen, or the field rep cheering about the mileage on a hybrid, each day Norton will go greener.

If you want to read more about going green, Norton has some suggestions about where to start: