I just received a paperback copy of A.A. Milne’s Now We Are Six from the UK as a late sixth birthday present for my daughter. And as well as the great original E.H. Shepard illustrations, I found a round logo from the publisher, Egmont Press, stating that the company “is committed to Ethical Publishing.”
In other publishing contexts, ethical publishing refers to policies on plagiarism, acknowledgement of sources, etc. In Egmont’s case, this is specifically about environmental awareness, workers’ rights, and product safety.
“We always know where the wood in our papers comes from,” states the Egmont material. “It never comes from wood in ancient and precious woodland. It always comes from an identified, researched and legal source, and we use only paper that’s given a positive grading by PREPS (Publishers’ Database for Responsible Environmental Paper Sourcing).” Egmont also claims to have “developed the principles upon which PREPS was instigated including Egmont’s own paper grading system.”
For workers’ rights and standards in its suppliers, Egmont declares, “we still insist that all our suppliers conform to our strict code of conduct.” And for product safety, “we produce only products that are safe for young people – from the very earliest age.”
Egmont has also been involved in advocating better reading education for children, and perhaps this kind of position and ethical stance comes easier to a children’s book publisher. But it’s good to see wherever it arises, and traditional publishers overall might want to take note. Then there might be fewer readers switching to ebooks to drive out ridiculous and unsustainable policies like sale or return and remainder stores, and to save the trees.