Bookspeed and the environment: the greenest UK book supplier?

We know how important environmental concerns are to our customers. Bookspeed was included in John Button’s first edition of Green Pages in 1988, a directory of manufacturers, service providers and retailers of all things green, and we’ve continued to care about the impact our company makes on our planet. 

It’s become easier to be greener since these issues have become global concerns in recent years.  And we’re one of the first companies off the block!  

A huge amount of creativity and care goes into shaping Bookspeed’s unique service of selecting and supplying our customers with the best possible ranges of books, delivered where and when needed. 

We’re proud to sell books, bringing ideas and delight to everyone in the process, and proud too that it’s a product made mainly from a natural material, with an indefinite life for an indefinite number of readers! But we do appreciate there is an environmental impact of not only our company’s practices, but of the whole bookselling supply chain. Our Green Policy details what we are doing to become more sustainable. 

Bookspeed’s place in the book industry

Paper – the main ingredient!

Recent years have seen a rapid acceleration in publishers’ efforts to use only FSC certified paper by their printers.  Below are targets achieved from 2019 and ongoing goals set by some of the largest UK publishing groups; we will review our suppliers’ performance in this area annually.  Meanwhile, as part of our Supplier Engagement Strategy our buyers continue to raise the issue and advocate for continuous improvement.


We have achieved our goal to source 100% of our paper from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified sources. We also aim to be climate neutral across our entire value chain by 2030. Our direct operations are already climate neutral.


We purchase paper through approved suppliers and printers who are certified by FSC® and PEFC (or both). 

Harper Collins

All our paper is 99% FSC certified and 1% PEFC certified. All of News Corp (Harper Collins parent company) operates a Reduce, Reuse and Recycle policy, and by 2025, 100% of all News Corp globally purchased publication paper will be sourced from FSC, PEFC, SFI or CSA certified material.

Find out more information on the FSC scheme 

And for more information about PEFC

The Book Chain Project

Bookspeed is investigating participation in the Book Chain Project, which aims to make sense of complex supply chains for books by collecting and analysing data and connecting stakeholders along the chain. Publishers use this collective knowledge to make informed decisions for their own book production.

Making publishers aware of our concerns

In addition to exploring the Book Chain Project, Bookspeed has a rolling programme of seeking reassurance from suppliers of their commitment to use 100% FSC certified paper and requesting information about their progress in other areas of sustainable practice.

Careful stock control

We endeavour to buy carefully from our suppliers to avoid waste in the chain of supply.

Choice of Carriers

We have appointed DPD, with its impressive Carbon Neutral Commitment, to deliver our parcels. 

Books have many lives! Check out 10 ways to recycle your old books


Action – what has the company done so far? 

Solar Power Generation

We installed two Solar PV arrays in 2016 at our main site with a resulting reduction in annual electricity usage, now equivalent to only three average UK households. This is for premises of 13,500 square feet and over 42 employees. 

Electric/Hybrid cars and EV charging points

We’re in the process of transitioning our fleet of vehicles to hybrid/electric and installing charging points free to all employees and visitors. As a result of the C-19 pandemic we are taking the opportunity to review what role travel plays in modern, ethical business practice and foresee an ongoing permanent reduction in our carbon footprint.

Challenging and changing our waste service providers

This is to ensure that most waste does not even leave the building and minimum waste goes to landfill. Bookspeed recycles all paper-based packaging material it receives, plus cardboard boxes that can’t be reused, into shredded packaging for our parcels out to customers, resulting in minimal amounts of new paper use and reducing our waste collections by a third.  

We use inflatable, recyclable plastic pillows, recycle grade no2, to supplement our supply of in-house recycled cardboard. 

Most of our remaining waste is white plastic shrinkwrap used by publishers’ printers which is recycled by our waste collector, but we are exploring ways to reduce or recycle this ourselves.  Increasingly printers’ packs are made from cardboard rather than plastic and we are pressing suppliers to use biodegradable material where plastic packaging is necessary. 

Staff training

We hold regular refresher training for staff on how to separate and recycle their personal waste at work. 

Water bottles

All Bookspeeders have reusable aluminium water bottles to fill from water coolers and are asked not to bring plastic water bottles into work. We no longer provide water in plastic bottles at trade shows. 

Cleaning materials

Bookspeed changed to using only eco-friendly products in 2018 and no weed-killer is used on our paths and fire escape routes.

The Bookspeed Green Team

Comprising five colleagues from different departments within the company, was created as a result of an exercise held on 20th September 2019 as part of Global Climate Strike Action Day. Its remit is to investigate the feasibility of topics identified as goals and priorities in a company-wide exercise held on the day and progress projects as agreed.  Ideas for research and action already identified include:

How we manage hot water, cooking and heating for 40+ members of staff.

Tree-planting and supporting wilding of current green spaces.

Further digitalisation of paper documents to customers.

How to reduce and manage single-use plastic in the workplace.

Replacing older lighting units with LED fittings.

Manage food waste (even though there’s not much!).

Reduce paper use for sales and marketing purposes across the business both from suppliers and to customers.

Sales team to review travel and communications with customers.

Review the environmental impact of exhibiting at Trade Fairs.

Car-sharing and other low-impact options for travel to, from and for work.

Devise an Environmental Policy to complement the H&S and Employment information given to staff at induction.

Sending a delegate to a conference on Managing Climate Risk in Edinburgh in Autumn 2019.

Listening to you 

We’d love to hear about your interests and actions to make selling books more sustainable for our planet.  Write to us, send pics if you wish and we’ll include them in an update on our website from time to time (with your permission of course). Email

Together we can make a difference!