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Sustainability Statement

Thames & Hudson is a globally operating publishing company. Although we publish some paper-free and digital books, the vast majority of our output consists of colour books printed on paper. We recognise that our business is part of a complex supply chain and acknowledge the potential impact that the running of our business may have on the environment and the necessity of maintaining environmentally friendly practices.

To this end we have set up a team of staff members from across the business, led by our company chairman, who are working on our Sustainability Policy by reviewing resources and practices, and setting future goals. Our Sustainability Policy is part of a broad range of social responsibility policies that also include a focus on working conditions and staff welfare on our own sites and those of our suppliers.

We are signatories to the UK Publishers Association’s pledge to take action on climate change, and are investigating the feasibility of working towards B Corp Accreditation by the end of 2024.

We actively publish books across our list to encourage and promote sustainability and environmental awareness. These include The Green Imperative, The Eco-Design Handbook, Sustainable Materials, Processes and Production, The New Autonomous House, Design & Landscape for People, Habitat, The Sustainable Fashion Handbook, The Eco-Travel Handbook, How To Thrive in the Next Economy, The Big Book of Belonging, The Big Book of Bugs.

Paper sourcing

  • To protect and preserve the world’s forests we use papers made from timber and pulp that is from legal, sustainable and well-managed sources. We do not procure paper that is made from mixed tropical hardwood, including ramin, or wood that has been:
    • illegally harvested
    • logged in protected areas, or areas currently undergoing an official process of designation for protection unless the logging is clearly in line with national conservation regulations
    • sourced from endangered, old growth forests, drained tropical peatlands, Indonesian tropical rainforests, high-risk acacia forests and any contentious suppliers or their affiliates
  • We are committed to using only print suppliers that are accredited by Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
  • Our printers are instructed to buy paper on our behalf which is FSC-accredited. If FSC-accredited materials are not available, we direct our printers to buy from well-known and reputable sources. As a result, over 90% of our books and all our catalogues are made from FSC-certified materials.


  • We periodically audit all of our existing suppliers to ensure that their sustainability practices and environmental credentials are being maintained. We also assess the environmental accreditations and policies of any new suppliers before engaging their services.
  • We are committed to working only with print suppliers who can demonstrate a commitment to the preserving the environment. We require ISO 14001 accreditation as a minimum. ISO 14001 is an internationally accredited standard that sets out effective Environmental Management Systems recognising a commitment to effective management of waste, careful use of energy and ensuring recycling processes are in line with governments standards. ISO 50001 accreditation is desirable. ISO 50001 is aimed at organisations committed to addressing their impact, conserving resources and improving the bottom line through efficient energy management.
  • Our editorial team are working to a set of economical page size formats, designed to fit standard printing press sizes in an effort to reduce paper wastage on both first and subsequent printings.
  • Although it is not suitable for the majority of our book output, we fully embrace digital printing and publishing where appropriate.

Shipping & distribution

  • We are active members of the Book Chain Project, which aims to drive a more sustainable supply chain across the industry.
  • We work to print schedules that call for the use of sea freight over air freight.
  • Wherever possible, we consolidate shipments from overseas suppliers to reduce the carbon emissions associated with sea freight.
  • We ship most of our books to only two warehouses, one in the UK and one in the US.
  • We plan to offset the carbon cost of all overseas shipments.
  • We are in discussion with our suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging they use. Where packaging is necessary, we are encouraging the supplier to increase this to 100% recyclable whenever possible.
  • All the cartons and other consumable products used by our UK-based distributor, Hachette Book Distribution, in the packing of our books are 100% recyclable.

In-house practices


  • As a result of our shift to home-working during the pandemic, and in response to employee feedback, we have developed a Flexible Working Policy, which has led to a reduction in emissions arising from staff commuting and general office usage.
  • We actively encourage the safe use of cycling as a principal means of travel. Our company benefits provider, Enjoy Benefits, participates in the Cycle to Work scheme, which enables our employees to purchase a bike using an interest-free loan provided by Thames & Hudson Ltd. We also provide secure bike lock areas.
  • Business travel has been reduced significantly, and the carbon cost of any necessary business travel will be offset at the point of purchase.

Energy & waste

  • We only use energy-efficient light bulbs and we are formulating a policy to upgrade these to LED lamps where possible.
  • Staff are required to turn off lights and non-essential electrical equipment out of hours when not in use.
  • We have requested that the landlord of our UK headquarters switch to renewable energy suppliers.
  • All of our meeting rooms are equipped with facilities to show documents on a large screen to reduce paper consumption.
  • A significant proportion of our office waste is recycled for sorting at the relevant recycling centre, where the target is to recycle 98% of all general waste. Paper and cardboard collection points are provided on every floor and next to every photocopier. The aim is to remove all personal waste paper bins over time.
  • We are committed to radically reducing the use of paper and plastics in our office. We have implemented a system to monitor and reduce usage of every printer and copier.
  • We use a high proportion of recyclable cardboard packaging for shipments from our offices and aim to make all shipment packaging 100% recyclable by the end of 2022.
  • We supply point-of-use drinking water but do not supply plastic or paper cups.


  • In 2022 we will be installing a button on the checkout page of our e-commerce site to enable online customers to plant a tree for every order placed. In addition, once a year, we will be planting a tree for every newsletter subscriber.