The Economist Group, with its globally curious and environmentally aware readership, is committed to adhere to the highest standards of sustainability targets throughout its supply chain. This commitment, however, has become increasingly complex as sustainability targets and challenges continue to evolve, explains Faye Jeacocke, Director, Production Operations at The Economist Group. The Economist and its sister publications, 1843 and The World In series, account for the majority of the group’s annual spend on paper and printing.
All suppliers of paper and print services used in producing these publications adhere to one or more of the internationally recognised environmental standards: ISO 14001, FSC and PEFC. The business case for ethical procurement is clear. It improves supply chain efficiency, protects and enhances a company’s reputation and increases sales. But, says Jeacocke, responsible supply chain management needs to stand up to the same standard of scrutiny as the journalism that has earned The Economist its reputation as one of the most trusted news sources in the world.
“Responsible supply chain management needs to stand up to the same standard of scrutiny as the journalism that has earned The Economist its reputation as one of the most trusted news sources in the world.”
–Faye Jeacocke, Production Operations Director, The Economist Group
“The printed paper remains a big chunk of our production process and yes, paper production is carbon intensive,” says Jeacocke. “Therefore we take great care to ensure that our suppliers show that they are proactively looking at ways to improve sourcing practices. We need to ask: do they reduce their carbon footprint? Do they use less water? Increasingly, these issues are key when we are sourcing suppliers. If consumers are concerned about a matter, then it is important to provide concrete answers," says Jeacocke.
She references recent concerns in the UK by customers asking why The Economist needs to be wrapped in plastic. “If our readers ask these questions, we need to provide answers… We need to find a permanent solution that will satisfy customers.” In the same way, consumers are asking more questions about how the sourcing of materials impact local communities. “It is not just about the end product being sustainable. It is also how you work within the overall environment, taking into account matters such as infrastructure and how sourcing can make the life better for people and local communities.”
And, predicts Jeacocke, in the future customers will demand much more. “Climate change as a global concern will continue to intensify. How we respond to it will become more and more intensive. It will necessitate a more concerted effort. All our processes – and how carbon intensive they are – will be intensely scrutinised.”
Author: Jon Watkins. Created in partnership with FIPP - Connecting Global Media.