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World's first “green Bible” is published in the USA

November 20 2007:

This month a “green Bible” was launched in the USA.

It was the first Bible intended for wide-scale distribution to have been printed on recycled and FSC-certified paper, and it follows a long consultation period between Christian publisher Thomas Nelson and paper manufacturer, Domtar, to develop a new environmentally responsible paper grade that is suitably lightweight and appropriate for Bible printing.

The Bible is the most printed and widely distributed book in the world. In 2005, it is estimated that 125 million New Testaments and 72 million full Bibles were printed and sold. Together with environmentalists and some Christian eco-groups, ARC has been campaigning for some years for publishers to consider using more ecologically friendly materials for their Bibles.

“Given the Bible’s message of stewardship and the growth of the creation care movement we hope to see other Bible and religion publishers following Thomas Nelson’s lead,” saidd Tyson Miller, director of Green Press Initiative which has been leading the campaign.

The Bible is the most printed and widely distributed book in the world. In 2005, it is estimated that 125 million New Testaments and 72 million full Bibles were printed and sold.
When the Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible was published on October 9, 2007, it was announced by the publisher as a significant step forward in a larger ‘green’ initiative. “Our team is excited to be taking some important steps forward in protecting the resources God has given us”, said CEO Michael S. Hyatt. “Outside of offering eco-friendly products, we are striving to make efforts to implement ‘green’ practices in our daily activities and have created an internal environmental task force to see this through.” The task force is currently researching other ways to minimize the company’s environmental impact.

Green Press Initiative believes that this first “green Bible” is symbolic of broader industry-wide transformations in the U.S. book sector - with many publishers including Random House, Scholastic, McGraw-Hill and more than 140 others committing to environmental goals and beginning to do things differently.

Several other religion publishers in the US also have environmental commitments in place including Ave Maria Press, Baker Publishing Group and Intervarsity Press.

ARC is working with several religious leaders to introduce a religious standard for the management of religion-owned forests.
Why it Matters

The following statistics are taken from Green Press Initiative in the USA.

1. Over 40% of the world’s industrial wood harvest is used to make paper – “a sobering fact given that forests store half of all carbon in the biosphere, and that deforestation accounts for 25% of human-caused C02 emissions.”

2. Some 50 churches, religious scholars and religious advocacy organizations so far have signed onto a statement on responsible paper in religious publications urging the use of more socially responsible practices.

3. Each ton of recycled paper saves 24 trees and uses 44% less energy & 38% less greenhouse gases to produce.

4. More than 140 book publishers in the USA as well as ten printers, and five paper companies now have environmental commitments in place with goals for protecting endangered forests, increasing recycled fiber usage, and maximizing purchasing of FSC-certified fibre.

The Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper-Use has been developed by the U.S. book industry to reduce its social and environmental impacts in paper procurement. So far it has been signed by more than 220 stakeholders and is hoped to lead to the conservation of five million trees and 500 million pounds of greenhouse gases each year. This is the equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road.

• In 2006, an Opinion Research Corporation poll suggested that 80% of readers were willing to pay more for books printed on recycled and environmentally responsible paper


Link here for a new report on the State of the Paper Industry by the Environmental Paper Network.

Link here to learn about Metafore, a source of tools and information for businesspeople focused on evaluating, selecting and manufacturing environmentally preferable wood and paper products.

Link here to learn about ARC's Forestry Initiative.

Link here for the Initial Agreement on Religious Forestry Standards.

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