Environmental & Ethical Policies at Little, Brown Book Group

Environmental and Ethical Policies

at Little, Brown Book Group



    Here at the Little Brown Book group we're committed to working with environmental organisations to ensure that our policies and practices not only protect the environment but also improve it wherever practical. Our policy is part of a broader range of social responsibility policies that include a focus on working conditions at our head office, a responsible attitude to our suppliers, equal opportunities and charitable giving.

    Our view is that care for the environment goes hand in hand with good business practice and we are continually developing and revising a sustainable publishing model to satisfy ever more ambitious aspirations in both these respects.

    The area in which we believe we can make the biggest difference is in the sourcing and conserving of paper, board and packaging. We are profoundly concerned that our use of these materials should not destroy or degrade ancient forest habitats that are home to people, animals, birds and plants and we positively reject irresponsible logging. Furthermore, as part of the largest publisher in the UK we believe that our active participation in reform can lead to our being able to make a difference to an extent beyond that which has yet been achieved by other publishers whose businesses are smaller and simpler.

    • We expect our suppliers of paper sourced all over the world to declare to us the sources of paper used in printing our books.
    •  We will not knowingly use paper sourced from any ancient or endangered forests and we are committed to the phasing out of any particularly controversial sources of paper fibre.
    • Where practical and viable, we give preference to post consumer recycled fibre and we aim to ensure that any virgin fibre used is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). (www.fsc-uk.org/)

    • At the beginning of 2008 Little, Brown Book Group achieved FSC certification and our books are printed on FSC-certified paper. Such certification confirms that we have in place watertight procedures to ensure that we maximise our knowledge of the sources of our paper and only indicate that FSC paper is being used in the production of our titles when we have full supporting evidence. 99% of the 17 million titles produced in 2014 were printed on FSC-accredited paper and carried the FSC logo.

    •  Where possible we try to use paper mills, printers and other suppliers who have gained or who have applied for EMS ISO 14001 accreditation. ISO 14001 is the internationally recognized standard for Environmental Management Systems.
    •  We actively strive to reduce our use of paper in the office by reducing the amount of photocopying and printing. We remain committed to using recycled and FSC-certified paper for photocopying, business correspondence.
    •  As part of our move to a brand new office in 2007, four multifunction units were installed. These units print, copy, fax and scan with access codes for each employee thereby reducing the amount of wasted printing. All printing is set to default to double-sided and black and white. We also have centralised paper recycling points and encourage people to reuse paper and jiffy bags whenever possible.

    •  We recycle as much paper and packaging as possible. In addition to this there are recycling points for glass, cardboard, metal and plastic in the kitchens.


    Reduction of Emissions

    We also look to reduce emissions of many other substances in to the atmosphere, water and land as possible.
    •  We monitor the processes by which our source materials are made

    Returns and Overstocks

    There is no better example of our concern to make best business practice and environmental considerations compatible than in the approach we take to the control of returns.

    •  Printing and multiple transportation of books that may eventually be pulped is both costly and environmentally damaging and we are committed to reducing this practice.
    •  Our returns policy was originally designed so that we as publishers should share with our customers much of the risk involved in the promoting and stocking of books and specifically precludes, 'shelf-clearing' the practice of sending back to us for credit books which do sell well but may be temporarily in excess of booksellers' 'ideal requirements' at their financial year ends or for other reasons of stringency or convenience.
    •  Control of returns forms an important component of the Vendor Buying Agreements in place with all major customers.
    •  vOur forecasting systems, print run evaluation policies and fast-turnaround contracts with printers enable us to reduce our stockholdings relative to sales over many years, and we shall continue to improve our performance in this regard throughout the group.
    Monitoring and reporting

    Little, Brown Book Group plays a leading role in the Hachette UK Environmental and Ethical Board

    Little, Brown Book Group also has an environmental and ethical committee which meets on a regular basis to devise and discuss ways in which the company can contribute. We report fully and regularly on the progress we're making on all environmental initiatives.


    Our new office building at 100 Victoria Embankment has been designed, built and refitted with environmental principles at its heart. The building, 100VE, has received various environmental and green building awards and has been granted an excellent BREEAM* score.

    •  The interior of the office is fitted with occupancy sensor lighting so that any period of inactivity ensures that the lights automatically turn off.
    • The furniture, supplied by Vitra, is produced to the highest possible standards with longevity in mind. Since 1997, Vitra has been certified according to the DIN EN ISO 9001 and DIN EN ISO 14001 standards for quality and environmental management. (www.vitra.com)
    • We have four centralised waste and recycling points situated throughout the office. People are encouraged to recycle and reuse paper wherever possible.
    •   The kitchen is fitted with further recycling points for metal, glass, cardboard and plastic.
    •  Our kitchens are fitted with taps which issue chilled filtered water and boiling water therefore cancelling the need for kettles.
    • Power outlets are fitted at desk level to encourage people to unplug chargers and other accessories at the end of the day.
    The Environmental and Ethical committee devises initiatives to encourage employees to think about the office environment. These initiatives range from remembering to turn off meeting room lights when finishing your meeting and to remembering to switch off your computer monitor at the end of the day.
    *BREEAM is a rating used to assess the environmental performance of buildings.


    Little, Brown Book group is keen to foster ethical as well as environmental issues. Recent initiatives includes fostering close community links with local schools with an assisted reading scheme and the development of a reading group for the homeless in east London.


    Individual members of staff regularly undertake various charitable activities and are widely supported. Recent activities have focussed from British Heart Foundation to Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. As a company we are long time supporters of the Book Trade Benevolent Society (BTBS) which specifically supports those who have worked in across the book trade.
    This year we are supporting the English PEN charity and all proceeds from the annual company Pub Quiz were donated to this cause. (www.englishpen.org)
    Statement of Business Ethics

     We pride ourselves on our reputation for acting fairly and ethically wherever we do business. Our reputation is built on our values as a company, the values of our employees and our collective commitment to acting with integrity throughout our organisation. We condemn corruption in all its forms and will not tolerate it in our business or in those we do business with.

    Our Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct sets out what we expect of our staff, how they should behave and what they should do if confronted with corruption.

    The code is for the benefit of staff as much as for the company. The potential harm done by bribery, both to the company and to individual members of staff, is long term.  If convicted of a bribery offence, the company might get a significant fine and suffer lasting reputational damage. If an individual is convicted of a bribery offence, they could personally face up to ten years in prison.
    In accordance with the requirements of anti-bribery legislation, the company will:

    - maintain its current good and ethical practices.

    - meet all relevant anti-bribery and corruption legislation and regulation appropriate to the business.

    - assess and keep under review its activities, especially in jurisdictions deemed to be risky, and act on any areas that may pose risk.

    - will set objectives and targets to respond to these risky areas and periodically review progress.

    - ensure all employees are made and kept aware of our policy and its objectives.

    - ensure relevant staff, especially those operating in identified sectors or jurisdictions, will be trained.

    The Chief Executive Officer is ultimately responsible for preventing bribery and corruption within the company. The CEO ensures that the company’s policy is maintained and that adequate resources are made available for its effective implementation. Responsibility for ensuring that the specific arrangements defined in the policy are understood and implemented is delegated to Divisional Finance Directors.
    Little, Brown Book Group is an Hachette Livre UK company. Read the Hachette Livre UK environmental and ethical policy.

    Papers used by Little, Brown are natural, renewable and recyclable products sourced from well-managed forests and certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council.
    By buying products with an FSC label you are supporting the growth of responsible forest management worldwide.

    Find out more about the FSC.