In late June, the SEPM1, chaired by Bruno Lesouëf2, presented a tool for measuring the environmental footprint of magazines, with the objective of helping each magazine reduce its own footprint rather than comparing magazines to each other. Initiated in 2010 by SEPM’s Sustainable Development Committee, this project mobilized all players in the magazine production and distribution chain; in fact, publishers, paper-makers, printers, binders and routers were all asked to contribute to the tool’s development. The involvement of Lagardère Active and Prisma Médias, supported by the SEPM team, made it possible to carry this ambitious project through to a successful conclusion. On the basis of a simplified life-cycle assessment conducted by a group of students from Paris-VII University, each stage of the process was examined to identify relevant indicators, ranging from the wood fibre used in the magazine’s paper through to its end-of-life treatment.
Specifically, the ecological index for magazines takes the form of a Web interface, which received funding from the Ademe3. Accessible from the SEPM website, this self-evaluation tool is available for use by all publishers.
It is organized into four main categories (natural resources, global warming, pollution and environmental management approaches), reflected through 10 indicators (raw materials, transport, waste, suppliers’ environmental sensitivity etc.), which, in turn, are calculated according to 66 different criteria! Using the tool is quite simple: since data from service providers (printers, papermakers etc.) have already been entered, the publisher simply supplies4 a dozen or so pieces of information for each magazine.
The tool then compiles all the data and returns a score for each indicator as well as an overall score for the magazine. The results are shown in the form of a radar graph,revealing possible areas for improvement.
To this end, the tool also provides educational datasheets that explain what is at stake and provide information on best practices. In addition to its many other benefits, the project sets an excellent example for collaborative work among stakeholders.