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As a business based on ideas, our direct environmental impact is limited, but we are committed to understanding the effect we have on the world around us and to setting targets to manage and reduce that impact. Environmental responsibility is not new to Pearson. We introduced an Environment Policy back in 1992. This was reviewed and updated in 2000, 2004 and again in 2007. The full policy can be viewed at site. We are also guided by the UN Global Compact's principles on the environment.

For us, our impact falls into two distinct areas – aspects under our direct control, and areas where we can exert influence over the practices of our suppliers. Areas of greatest direct impact for Pearson are energy use, unsold product, waste and business travel. The most significant environmental issues in the supply chain relate to the purchase and use of paper, use of third-party printers and distribution.

In 2007, we made good progress in furthering environmental management within the company. Here are some highlights:

  • We started on our action plan to become a climate neutral global business by the end of 2009.
  • We continued to improve the quality and quantity of the data collected and reported within our environmental report.
  • We use our database of the sources of wood, certification methods to set improvement targets.
  • For a third year we were ranked top of our sector by Business in The Community in the Environment Index.
  • We reported on our progress to the UN as part of our commitment to the Global Compact.
  • Our businesses in North America have established their own ‘roadmap’ towards climate neutrality.
  • Our businesses introduced initiatives to report, explain and engage our stakeholders to lessen the impact of climate change.
  • We have already met our target to reduce electricity and gas use levels across the company by 10% by the end of 2008.

The environmental considerations relating to the purchase of paper continue to be a priority for us. Following our introduction of a paper purchasing policy in November 2003, Pearson has further developed its responsible paper sourcing practice. As part of an action plan on responsible paper sourcing agreed with the WWF UK Forest & Trade Network, we established a database on the environmental characteristics of the paper we purchase. We have also met a number of our key suppliers and manufacturers of paper and some NGOs to discuss and review environmental issues including certification and increasing the recycled content in the paper we use in our books. We report annually on the volume of paper that we used that was independently certified in our 2007 paper report which will be published in May 2008.

We have been working with our operating companies to expand our use of recycled content and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper for our book and newspapers. Penguin Books plan to introduce global paper certification targets during 2008.

Our full environment report includes detailed performance data relating to our energy and water use, waste reduction and recycling, business travel and emissions to air relating to our operations. The report can be found at site.

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