Sustainability

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Introduction 

At PLPG, we are committed to doing business in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible, and that make a positive global impact. For more than a ten years, our brands have driven the cultural conversation, inspired and propelled meaningful change around the world. We not only inform our audiences, but inspire them to take meaningful action.

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Sustainability Statement 

While we have always been passionate about achieving the highest standards in everything we do for our readers, viewers and clients, we recognize that, when it comes to looking after the natural environment, we need to do more.

PLPG accepts the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s position on the state of the world. The climate crisis is upon us and man-made climate change exists. We commit to accurate reporting, to champion change, and to always refer to the IPCC’s latest report, facts and figures as the baseline.

PLPG operates across multiple markets and its influential brands engage with millions of people around the globe. We can and should inspire communities around the world to take action. We understand our responsibility and are ready to lead by example.

We believe that we have a duty to deliver the highest quality content and experiences expected from our brands and to do so in a way that reduces our impact on the planet.

We recognize our responsibility to raise awareness, contribute to the global debate and to point to solutions that ensure that our industry, readers and viewers are actively engaged in protecting our most precious resources. We commit to playing a more proactive and meaningful role in informing our readers about the climate emergency and inspiring them to take practical actions, working with partners to foster tangible change.

We pledge to deliver systemic change throughout all levels of our organization, and to ensure that our content is always scientifically robust and accurate. To bring these principles to life, PLPG will outline clear targets of accountability. We will regularly unveil new initiatives and recalibrate our approach to ensure we deliver change in line with breakthroughs of sustainable practice.

 

Supporting a More Sustainable Fashion Industry

We have joined the UNFCCC’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action to support industry efforts to make fashion and textiles more sustainable.

The Fashion for Global Climate Action initiative is an urgent and global appeal to the fashion industry to acknowledge its impact on our planet and the collective responsibility of the sector to strive towards climate neutrality.

Through collaborative action and bold leadership, the fashion industry has the ability to develop clear targets of accountability and the power to make this necessary and drastic transformation happen.

As a international media company compromised to support the charter, PLPG is
committed to playing a more proactive and meaningful role in the global climate
action movement. PLPG will work with industry partners to influence consumer
behavior by promoting the re-use of clothes, sustainable fashion, innovative
materials and technologies which can help to mitigate the environmental impact
of fashion. 

Making PLPG Greener

In 2019, PLPG undertook its first comprehensive sustainability assessment to quantify our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and material usage.  

Our goal is to mitigate our global environmental footprint, while using our influence to inform our audiences and foster positive change.  

All our paper is acid-free and FSC-certified, which means it’s from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources. Our publications are also recyclable, making it easy on consumers and the environment.

Informed by the findings of our assessments, we have developed our first Five-Year Sustainability Strategy (2020 to 2025) and pinpointed four priority areas of our business that will undergo transformation. These focus areas include: reducing our emissions and offsetting when reduction is not possible; working with partners across our supply chain to foster a more sustainable publishing sector; identifying and using more sustainable materials across our production process; and championing a more sustainable corporate culture while informing and inspiring our audiences. 

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Our Sustainability Vision

In 2019, we published our Global Sustainability Statement. In keeping with our commitment to transparency, we are now publishing the first GHG and Materials Assessment findings of  PLPG markets.
 
With a clear understanding of our environmental performance across our operations, we developed our first five-year sustainability strategy (2020 – 2025) confirming our intention to to drive innovation and actionable change inside our organization, across the fashion and publishing industries and beyond.
 
Additionally, we’re one of the first publishing companies to begin accounting for the environmental footprint of our digital value chain, including emissions of digital content consumption.
 

Our Commitments

Our first five-year sustainability strategy (2020 – 2025) is structured in three phases, which involve incremental improvements across four key areas:

  • Reducing our emissions and offsetting when reduction is not possible. We aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, starting with a 20% reduction in corporate emissions and 10% reduction in supply chain by the end of 2021.

  • Encouraging partners across our supply chain to foster a more sustainable publishing sector.

  • Identifying and using more sustainable materials across our production process. We will transition to 100% internationally certified paper by the end of 2021 and will eliminate all fossil-based, non-recyclable plastic packaging from publications across PLPG markets by 2025.

  • Championing a more sustainable corporate culture while informing and inspiring our audiences. We aim for our brands to be recognised as leading advocates for sustainability, setting higher standards for reporting on issues of climate change and sustainable fashion.

To meet our commitments and ensure tangible, long lasting change in the way we operate, we aim to fully embed our sustainability strategy within our key business processes. To achieve this necessary change, we have identified four key focus areas where we see the need for transformation over the next five years.

Our approach is based on incremental changes and improvements over three phases:

Phase One: We will work to establish a foundation for our sustainability transformation across all business functions and operations; set public targets and develop a structured reporting process for accountability and delivery while integrating sustainability considerations into daily workflow.

Phase Two: Aim to integrate sustainability best practice processes across business functions such as procurement and print production, while increasing our sustainability ambitions.

Phase Three: Continue to lead by example, setting industry agenda and identifying high-level, effective opportunities for change and innovation in the fashion and publishing industries.

Ambitions for Phase One

  1. Reducing emissions PLPG will aim to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 by reducing our emissions and offsetting when reduction is not possible. We will also work closely with our suppliers to ensure a reduction of emissions across our supply chain while simultaneously reducing our corporate emissions by 20%.

Key Actions:

  • Conduct ongoing GHG data monitoring and preliminary reduction target-setting
  • Conduct a GHG assessment every two years
  • Transition to energy efficiency programs and green electricity purchase
  • Optimize the use of virtual meeting infrastructure
  • Explore alternative travel arrangement
  • Explore international environmental certification
  1. Engaging suppliers and working with partners Revise procurement approach and encourage suppliers to align with PLPG ’s sustainability objectives, champion industry-led initiatives to foster supply chain transformation, encourage our licensees to adopt environmental best practices.

Key Actions:

  • Revise our procurement approach to identify suppliers that share our sustainability objectives
  • Work with industry peers and key suppliers to identify shared sustainability objectives and areas of collaboration
  • Conduct systematic reviews on sustainability credentials and supply chain efficiency (e.g. print, event management, photoshoot, video production, etc)
  • Prepare for supply chain transformation and transition to more sustainable materials
  1. Using more sustainable materials Improve the sustainability credentials of materials we use in our production process, ensuring we consider and adopt high-performing alternative materials while encouraging licensees to adopt similar standards.

Key Actions:

  • Conduct annual comprehensive material audits
  • Ensure 100% of paper used is internationally certified
  • Progress our commitment to eliminate all non-recyclable, fossil-based packaging materials
  1. Becoming a voice for change Firmly position PLPG and its brands as leading advocates for sustainability, with industry peers and audiences while strengthening expertise at corporate and editorial levels to further enhance our credibility and authority as a trusted voice in the public sustainability debate.

Key Actions:

  • Launch of a global employee council for sustainability to champion corporate culture change across our markets
  • Publish PLPG ’s GHG emissions results and Five-Year Sustainability Strategy
  • Promote the adoption of The Sustainable Fashion Glossary, the authoritative global resource for understanding sustainable fashion and the fashion industry’s role in the climate emergency.
  • Roll out sustainability policies and employee trainings
  • Continue to support institutional partnerships for multi-stakeholder collaborations.
 
 
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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment 2018 

Understanding PLPG ’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2019, we conducted our first cross-market greenhouse gas (GHG) emission assessment. The assessment examined emissions generated in 2018 by PLPG  markets across corporate facilities and the full supply chain.

The objective of the assessment was to establish a robust baseline to inform our carbon mitigation targets. To ensure that our baseline is comprehensive, we looked at the following elements of our corporate facilities and supply chain:

Corporate:

  • All fuels and refrigerants used directly by PLPG  corporate offices facilities.
  • All purchased electricity used in PLPG  corporate office facilities.
  • The impacts of business travel, including air and road travels, as well as hotel stays.

Supply Chain:

  • Printed products including cradle-to-gate emissions associated with paper used (forest management, wood transport, pulp and paper-making, paper transport), emissions associated with production (printing, finishing) and emissions associated with distribution of the finished product (via subscriptions, newsstand, and other routes).
  • Digital media, including emissions produced by content distribution across networks, and emissions from the devices used by readers to consume content published across PLPG ’s digital properties.

Reporting scope

The scope of this assessment covers PLPG markets (inclusive of 13 operations), including our Colombia HQ, California HQ, New York, Philipines, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico & Latin America, Russia, Spain, Dubai, Taiwan and UK.

GHG Emissions Assessment Methodology

While the majority of the GHG footprint was emitted from our supply chain, there is also room for improvement within our supply chain and corporate offices.

Electricity consumption is our largest direct source of corporate emissions, while air travel accounts for the largest indirect source of corporate emissions. In answer to this, PLPG will prioritize reducing corporate emissions by introducing energy efficiency programs and optimizing the use of virtual meeting infrastructure.

Print production and circulation are the largest source of our supply chain footprint. To minimize the impact of our supply chain and begin reducing emissions, we intend to assess all supplier sustainability credentials and collaborate with our key paper suppliers, printers and distribution partners to improve their environmental footprint.

GHG Emissions Assessment Methodology

We follow the Greenhouse Gas Protocols established by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute. They are a set of internationally-accepted standards for GHG accounting and reporting. In PLPG ’s first GHG assessment, the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Scope One and Two) and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope Three) are applied. This internationally-recognized approach allows PLPG  to assess our entire value chain emissions impact and identify where to focus reduction activities. The results and analysis of GHG assessment have informed our first sustainability strategy and our preliminary emission reduction target setting.

Assumptions & Limitations

Corporate: Emissions related to green electricity certificates, PLPG  events and licensed businesses are not included in the scope of our first cross-market GHG assessment. The goal of the first assessment was to quantify the GHG emissions of our core value chains and to establish a baseline. We will continue to evaluate our reporting boundaries and consider inclusions of other business segments in our future assessments.

Supply Chain: It has been assumed that 100% of unsolds arising in the newsstand supply chain are diverted to material recycling. In this case, the GHG emissions associated with the reprocessing of the fiber (sorting, repulping/de-inking etc) are allocated to the lifecycle of subsequent product supply chains and are therefore not included in PLPG ’s GHG inventory. This approach is known as a “cut-off approach” and is used extensively in lifecycle thinking of the print publishing industry.

For post-consumer magazines, it is also likely that a high proportion of these are sent for recycling, as magazines are potentially a source of high-quality recovered fibers. However, data is not available for all of our markets, and therefore this assumption may be a limitation in the overall analysis, which could be further improved in the future.

Materials Usage

Understanding PLPG ’s Paper And Plastic Consumption

At PLPG  we are proud of the initial steps we have taken to improve the sustainability of the paper and plastic packaging we use, but we acknowledge there’s still work to be done.

All our paper is acid-free and FSC-certified, which means it’s from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources. Our publications are also recyclable, making it easy on consumers and the environment.

We have made strides towards transitioning to 100% fully certified paper via the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC and PEFC certification guarantees the sustainable management of forests that safeguards and preserves biological diversity, regeneration and indigenous land rights. The economic viability and social benefits of those who rely on the industry, as well as chain of custody assurance, is also taken into account to ensure products are environmentally and socially responsible for the market.

Acknowledging the negative impact of fossil-based, non-recyclable plastics (i.e. single-use plastic wraps) on the environment, in 2019 we committed to phasing out these plastics from our publications across our owned operations by 2025.

We have already made good progress on this commitment and are on track to eliminate 50% of single use plastic packaging by the end of Phase One (2018 baseline), with 10 out of 12 markets already testing alternative packaging materials and solutions.

The alternative packaging solutions that have been adopted by our markets range from naked mailing (U.S.); paper envelopes (Russia); recycled plastics made from post-consumer waste (PCW) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) (Britain and Germany); and bio-based compostable packaging made from potato starch, sugar cane and corn (Britain, France, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, Italy).

We will continue to monitor progress and report annually on our efforts to eliminate problematic plastic from our packaging.

Methodology and Materiality Analysis

The materiality principle is at the core of PLPG ’s five-year sustainability approach, which enables our global operations to prioritize actions with the most significant impact. The aim is to identify key sustainability challenges and opportunities throughout our entire value chain.

The methodology examines the challenges and opportunities most relevant to our company through reviews of the international and national regulatory landscape, peers and industry trends and consultation with a diverse mix of external and internal stakeholders. The four priority areas outlined above — including reducing emissions, engaging suppliers, using more sustainable materials and becoming a voice for change — were identified in this way.

The feasibility of various actions, along with our markets’ ability to quickly pilot them, was also taken into consideration as actions were prioritized over a five-year horizon. The strategy framework encompasses both corporate and editorial divisions: covering corporate office operations, print and digital value chains, creation of editorial and communications content, events and licensing.

The selection of priority actions also align PLPG  with high-profile global initiatives such as UNFCCC Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, UN Climate Change Conference (COP), World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, Make Fashion Circular initiative and CE100, Climate Group’s EP100 and RE100 and We Mean Business.

Looking forward

At PLPG  we are uniquely positioned to drive real transformation across the publishing, media and fashion industries. We will continue to monitor, adapt and improve the way we operate as a business to meet our environmental ambitions and inspire our audiences, peers and employees to take positive climate action.