News | Penguin Random House | Munich, 04/24/2013

Verlagsgruppe Random House Tops WWF Company Rankings

How good are German companies at conserving the resources wood and paper? To find out the state of sustainability in German businesses, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) surveyed 139 retailers, publishers and cities about their commitment to the environment in the area of wood and paper. Criteria included the sourcing of wood and paper from responsibly managed forests (e.g. FSC labeled); information provided to customers such as type of wood, origin and certificates; and plans to step up activities in the months ahead. On average, the participants scored 44 percent of the maximum number of points. Book publishers were among the top scorers, averaging 55 percent of the maximum number of points, and Verlagsgruppe Random House Publishing Group led the pack with 76 percent.

WWF expressly praised the publishing group as an "FSC pioneer." As long ago as 2005, the publishing group began to convert all its publishers to FSC and recycled paper. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label is the only international seal that guarantees that wood and paper products come from sustainably managed forests rather than from deforestation. "The results of the survey show that there are definitely companies out there that take their responsibilities seriously," says Johannes Zahnen, forestry officer at WWF Germany. "But unfortunately, not enough of them. Customers are still tricked into buying products that involve deforestation. This must change if we are to halt the global loss of biodiversity."

Since 2003, WWF has regularly surveyed major companies in various industries about their environmental commitment regarding wood and paper. The importance of the results is increasing steadily, says the environmental organization, because the problem of deforestation is growing ever larger: According to its figures, every year 13 million hectares of forest are disappearing worldwide - especially in the tropics. This leads to a loss of species and global warming, as deforestation accounts for 15-20 percent of global CO2 emissions.