Accelerating progress in support of the sustainable development goals

Springer Nature Group
By: Stefan von Holtzbrinck and Frank Vrancken Peeters, Thu Mar 26 2020
Frank and Stefan

Author: Stefan von Holtzbrinck and Frank Vrancken Peeters

Today, we publish Springer Nature’s third Responsible Business Report. Our responsible business strategy focuses on the key areas where we have a significant impact. 

As one of the world’s largest publishers of research and education content, we have a role to play in advancing sustainable development, opening up research, supporting diversity and inclusion within our communities and reducing the impact of our operations on the environment. The 2019 report outlines how we measure, monitor and manage our progress in these key areas. 

In 2019, the younger generation across the world made it very clear that fact-based science is the starting point when politicians, companies and citizens try to deal with the opportunities and challenges for our societies, as laid out so well by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is this positive momentum that makes our contribution at Springer Nature - communicating peer-reviewed science and providing sound education and skills - even more visible and important. 

As a publisher, whose roots are over 175 years old and whose brands stand for debate, integrity and progress, we publish thousands of articles and analysis of original research about the SDGs each year, complemented by journalistic content. This is core to our responsibility, it’s in our DNA and it’s close to our heart. With humility and pride we are a leading publisher in almost all of those goals. Four of the ten climate-related papers with the most media coverage in 2019 were published by Springer Nature and both Nature Climate Change and Nature Sustainability continue to publish research of critical importance to our understanding of climate issues and how to tackle them.  We launched an innovative technology-based pilot with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) using machine intelligence to provide data, insights and tools to understand better how open research can help deliver the SDGs.  In addition, we continue to make important connections between researchers, policymakers and practitioners providing topical information and commentary in Nature Energy’s Policy Briefs, forging partnerships with organisations including the WHO and UNESCO, and by staging events, like our successful Science on the Hill series in Washington DC helping to bring new perspectives together. 

Just a look at the recent outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) tells us that our editors and journalists are at the forefront of collecting and disseminating facts, helping to find and promote solutions to fight this infectious disease as quickly as possible. 

And on another, equally important level: in times of trade wars and geostrategic tensions, collaboration and communication in the sciences and the humanities play a positive role, bringing the world together in the name of a brighter future for all. There is no better force than better understanding.  Our 10,000 colleagues on all continents are dedicated to that endeavour.

We are making our own contribution to the SDGs by taking decisive climate action to reduce the company’s net carbon emissions by around 30% in 2019 (when the impact of offsetting is accounted for) with the clear goal of being carbon neutral by the end of 2020. We are also working to reduce inequalities both within our own organisation, making progress towards our target of 45% women in senior leadership by 2023, and in the communities we work with. We are seriously committed to improving diversity and inclusion on editorial boards, among peer reviewers, teachers, in our commissioned content and the conferences we organise.

This report describes in more detail what we do and how we do it, but also what we stand for - now and in the future. The full 2019 report can be downloaded at

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.