Open for Progress

Springer Nature Group
By: Stefan von Holtzbrinck and Frank Vrancken Peeters, Wed Apr 10 2024
Frank and Stefan

Author: Stefan von Holtzbrinck and Frank Vrancken Peeters

Today we publish Springer Nature’s 2023 Sustainable Business report, Open for Progress - the latest annual report on the company’s environmental and social impacts. 

2023 was a significant year for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it marked the halfway point towards their 2030 end point. Nature took stock of progress in a special supplement, which was edited by the UN scientists appointed to assess progress and recommend how to move forward. In the supplement, these researchers delivered a stark message: the world is not on track to achieve any of the 17 goals and cannot rely on change to happen organically.

At Springer Nature, we remain steadfast in our commitment to accelerating solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, based on the discovery and dissemination of trusted knowledge. It is the unifying mission for our 9,400+ colleagues around the world, informs many of our external outreach activities and is supported by our extensive publishing programme across research, professional, health and education.

Our colleagues share a passion to make a difference to the world. To reflect this, we launched our new employer brand ‘Be Part of Progress’ this year, which captures why our people choose to work for us, as well as what new and current employees can expect from a career with us. We also saw more colleagues commit to sustainability this year by signing up to our Green Office Network, which doubled in size to over 400 active members.

We regularly use the convening power of our trusted brands, such as Scientific American and Nature, to facilitate discussions between policymakers and scientists and in 2023, this included events such as the UN Science Summit in NYC and our seventh annual ‘Science on the Hill’ event in Washington D.C. Also this year, we collated the views of nearly 5,000 researchers to analyse their perception of diversity, equity and inclusion, with a view to making science and research more equitable and accessible in order to speed up progress towards the goals.

Since 2015, we have published more than 940,000 articles and book chapters with SDG-related content and a majority of the content of almost 500 of our journals is related to the SDGs.

Of course, the most significant contribution we can make to progressing the SDGs is through the trusted content we publish.

In education too, we celebrated 180 years of the global brand Macmillan Education, which continues to inspire children and students across the globe with their Advancing Futures programme introducing sustainability and citizenship.

Clearly, we can’t talk about 2023 without mentioning artificial intelligence (AI). The opportunities presented by the emergence of generative AI was the subject of analysis in Nature, which heard directly from the research community about their use of available tools as well as their hopes and fears for the future. This report explores the delicate balance we must strike between acceleration and patience and the importance of keeping humans in the loop to protect the integrity of the scientific record.

The assessment of impact, risk and opportunity also sits at the heart of any sustainability and ESG reports. In the following chapters, you’ll read more about the topics we need to manage effectively, working closely with our people, our partners and our peers to have a positive social and environmental impact and continue to deliver on our mission to accelerate solutions to the world’s urgent challenges.

You can read the report's highlights and download it in full, by visiting the dedicated microsite.

Frank and Stefan

Author: Stefan von Holtzbrinck and Frank Vrancken Peeters

Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Chairman, Springer Nature

Stefan von Holtzbrinck’s career in publishing began at Kirch Media Group, Bloomsbury and then in the New Media division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. He joined Macmillan Limited as a director in 1997 and then served as Managing Director at Nature Publishing Group. He joined Holtzbrinck Publishing Group as Chief Executive Officer in 2001. Dr von Holtzbrinck was born in 1963 in Ettlingen, Germany. He studied Law and Literature and earned his PhD in Media Law from the University of Munich.

Frank Vrancken Peeters, CEO Springer Nature

Joined Springer Nature in 2017 as Chief Commercial Officer and became CEO in September 2019. He has spent more than 25 years in the media and publishing sectors, with leadership roles across a range of strategic and delivery business functions in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer contexts. Frank has previously had senior positions at: Wolters Kluwer, where he was Regional Managing Director, Legal and Regulatory, Western Europe; at Infinitas Learning, where he was Chief Operating Officer; and Elsevier Science, where he served as MD Government and Academic Markets, MD ScienceDirect and MD Global Sales, in each case building and growing significant-scale, complex international businesses. Frank holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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