How does a big, global company approach sustainability?

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Apr 16 2024

Author: Guest contributor

A part of Springer Nature’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to be sustainable across the company's own operations.  

Below, Marc Spenlé, Chief Operating Officer, and Joyce Lorigan, Group Head of Corporate Affairs, talk about Springer Nature’s approach to sustainable operations, including the company’s pledge to be at net zero by 2040. This includes how Springer Nature moves towards that pledge every day from: in-office sustainability initiatives from the employee-led Green Office Network and working to reduce our carbon emissions.  

Sustainable Business Report 2023 © Springer Nature 2023

Editorial: Our Planet's Future: Following the Data?

We are proud to say that at Springer Nature, we follow the science. Since 2020, we have been carbon neutral for our buildings, fleet and flights, through our use of renewables, offsets and increased efficiencies. The subsequent year saw us sign The Climate Pledge and commit to setting science-based targets, both of which gave us a clear goal of net zero by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. In 2022, we developed our science-based targets, and in 2023 we were delighted to have them externally validated. We published these targets in a net zero supplement, alongside our first full scope 3 inventory. 

Our targets lay out a roadmap for ambitious near-term emissions reductions. These align with the scientific consensus that rapid emissions reductions are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. 

We now understand our total value chain carbon footprint, and the scale of ambition needed to operate within the 1.5°C global warming limit. 

This is in line with the science we publish. Armed with this knowledge, we are empowered to take decisive actions to reduce our carbon footprint and lead by example. Using data to inform changes, we will continue working to reduce our emissions. For example, this year, we’ve undertaken an in-depth review of our global fleet of more than 700 vehicles so that we can reduce fleet emissions in the coming years. In 2023, more than 120 of these vehicles used an electric battery1, up from 36 in 2019, our baseline year.  

In our books and journals, our aim is to decouple the process of sharing knowledge from carbon emissions. Printed products can be printed nearer the customer. We increased data collection through our ongoing supplier sustainability programme, to ensure key suppliers are aware of the value we place on reducing carbon emissions, as well as protecting human rights. 

We also continue to see the restoration of biodiverse forests as a way to contribute to managing global carbon levels and deliver positive co-benefits to local communities. In light of this, we aim to balance out our carbon emissions. However, we acknowledge that offsetting alone is not a sustainable solution, and recognise that achieving net zero requires ambitious emissions reductions. So, while we continue to purchase carbon certificates for our scope 1, 2 and partial scope 3 emissions, we are prioritising ways to reduce emissions at the pace needed.   

We believe that these examples underscore our dedication to embracing the science, and illustrate the actions we are taking to drive down our carbon emissions. 

Our carbon reduction ambitions are only part of our environmental sustainability journey. Our 9,000 colleagues across Springer Nature play a crucial role in delivering our sustainable business strategy, and we want to empower them to join us on this journey. That’s why, this year, we had our first compulsory environmental training for all our staff, which received an approval rating of 4.6 out of 5. We also support and encourage initiatives such as the employee-led Green Office Network of volunteers, which initiates projects and inspires action on sustainability-related behaviour in our offices. The significant growth of the network, nearly doubling to 400 members in 2023, is a clear indication that sustainability is important to many of our colleagues. We will remain committed to engaging and supporting our colleagues as we move ahead in delivering our goals. 

Read the entire editorial below — and then the material that follows it — in Springer Nature’s 2024 Sustainable Business Report, available now. 

Read more about our achievements in this area and more in the complete report 

About the authors

P_Joyce_author image
Joyce Lorigan - Group Head of Corporate Affairs

P_Marc_author image
Marc Spenlé – Chief Operations Officer 


Author: Guest contributor

Guest Contributors include Springer Nature staff and authors, industry experts, society partners, and many others. If you are interested in being a Guest Contributor, please contact us via email: