January is a time to think about doing better. We haven’t made any new resolutions this year at Crwth, but it seems like a good time to talk about our sustainability goals. Sustainability means different things to different people, so let’s look at what it means at Crwth.

There are three main categories or types of sustainability:

  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Economic

We strive toward all three.

Environmental sustainability is all about maintaining ecosystem balance. We do the obvious things around here. We walk and cycle when we can for Crwth errands. We re-use and recycle everything. And we are keenly aware that books require natural resources. We take care in how we choose papers and printing processes. Our books are printed on 100% post-consumer-waste (PCW) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper using vegetable-based inks.

Why not 100% PCW all the time? We work with beautiful original art, and we need to reproduce it as accurately as possible. PCW paper is not yet of high enough quality to do that. So we use FSC certified paper. FSC certification is a guarantee that no old growth trees were used to make the paper and that the factory producing the paper uses ecologically responsible practices.

Social sustainability is all about promoting societal health. How do we do that at Crwth? We publish books that we believe will improve society in some way and by actively supporting the arts.

Literacy is a critical component of societal health, which is why we donate money to literacy causes. In 2018, our charity of choice was ABC Life Literacy Canada, and we would love to learn about more literacy projects we can support.

Our goal is for each children’s book we publish to make a positive contribution to society. Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon is a history of the Okanagan that recognizes and honours the role of First Nations. Isobel’s Stanley Cup promotes girls in sport.

We have a book coming out in March, Sophie Trophy by Eileen Holland, that features a girl with attention deficit disorder. We hope it will help children see ADD differences as part of a natural spectrum of abilities. We have a book for teens coming out in May, Faster Than Truth by K.L. Denman, that touches on media awareness, digital literacy and mental illness.

Economic Sustainability is the hardest of these categories to define. In business, economic sustainability is often viewed as long-term profitability. Usually in a sustainability plan, profitability and growth need to also support environmental and social sustainability goals. Some believe that the concept of economic sustainability is included in sustainability models to make sustainability palatable to business leaders.

At Crwth, we believe that economic sustainability is about ensuring that every aspect of economic activity supports social, cultural and environmental wellness. We try to always work with partners with models we feel good about supporting. Our books are printed at an employee-owned printing company, Friesens Press. And we have small print jobs done at local independent shops.

We have a profit-sharing program for creative contributors. And we pay fair compensation for freelance work. It is important to us that our freelancers make a decent living.

One of the things we love about the publishing industry is that a socialist model is built into the system, even at the larger houses. Big name authors draw interest and revenue, and publishers use that interest and revenue to bring in new authors.

Our profit-sharing program takes this system just a little bit further. When we sign an artist or writer, they become part of the Crwth family. If we succeed, they succeed.

Sustainability is top-of-mind for every decision we make. And we’re always looking for ways to improve our practices.

What does sustainability mean to you?