2022 - All Press Releases

Springer Nature Group sets out short-term targets to build on carbon-neutral achievement

London | New York | Berlin, 6 April 2022

  • Springer Nature Group launches its latest annual Sustainable Business Report, Unlocking Potential, with a special focus on climate action. 
  • The report features new short-term carbon targets, building on last year’s announcement that Springer Nature Group had become carbon neutral for emissions associated with its offices, fleets and flights. 
  • A special foreword from Laura Helmuth, Editor in Chief of Scientific American, introduces the report and outlines the crucial role of publishers in addressing the climate crisis. 

Today Springer Nature Group launches its latest annual Sustainable Business Report, Unlocking Potential. The report, which includes environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance data, looks at how Springer Nature Group takes responsibility for the impact of its operations on the people it works with and the planet, and shows how the biggest positive impact it can make is through its publishing activity. 

Springer Nature Group, the global publisher of research, education and professional content is responsible for producing brands such as Nature and Scientific American, and is an industry leader in SDG related research, publishing almost 390,000 articles or book chapters on this topic since 2015. A leader in Open Access publishing, in 2021 it celebrated the notable milestone of having published one million OA articles.

Like last year’s report, which focused on Springer Nature Group’s response to COVID-19, Unlocking Potential also looks to external events for its theme. 2021 saw the global climate conference COP26, unequivocal statements from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the need for action, and unprecedented climate disasters, so the report looks closely at the organisation’s commitment to reduce the climate impacts of the business and to amplify the research needed to address the environmental issues we face. It builds on Climate Research in Action, a campaign Springer Nature launched in October 2021, which highlights solutions-focused research published across its content portfolio.

Since becoming carbon neutral for emissions associated with its offices, fleets and flights in 2020, Springer Nature Group has continued to look for ways to reduce the environmental impact of the organisation and is in the process of developing detailed plans to decarbonise its operations, supply chain and products. The report outlines new short-term interim targets to keep momentum. These include:

  • Net zero – Set science-based targets covering at least 95% of our scope 1 and 2 emissions and two-thirds of our scope 3 emissions in 2022.
  • People – Roll out introductory sustainable business training to all employees via a three-year programme starting in 2022.
  • Suppliers – Actively engage 50% of print and 50% of pre-press suppliers (by spend) to align on our sustainability targets by 2022.
  • Products – Inform end-of-life recycling by labelling new titles in our printed books and journals portfolio by 2025.

Progress on these targets has already begun, with Springer Nature Group launching brand new compulsory introductory sustainable business training for all employees. The aim being to make sure all staff understand our sustainability commitments, and how they can support us in making progress from engaging suppliers to considering sustainability when developing new products and services.  

The report also looks at progress made throughout the year in championing open science, using technology to advance research solutions and across diversity, equity and inclusion both within the organisation and in the communities Springer Nature Group works with. Key achievements include:

  • Attracting over 2.5 million visits per day to our platforms
  • A 62% response rate to Springer Nature Group’s first global Inclusion and Diversity Survey 
  • Joining with new partners to make a difference in the communities we serve including Valuable500
  • Supporting the communities Springer Nature works with in many ways, including through donations and sponsorships. In recent weeks, this has included a donation of €250,000 to enable the creation of the Philipp Schwartz Emergency Fund to support researchers and their families, forced to flee from Ukraine.

CEO Frank Vrancken Peeters commented: 

“This year’s report includes a special focus on climate, in recognition of the vital importance of research to the discussions and decision-making at COP26 in November 2021. As a publisher we have a crucial role to play in connecting researchers and policymakers to accelerate solutions to global challenges. We also have a responsibility to reduce the impact of our business operations on the environment around us, which I’m proud to say we have continued to do this year: introducing new short-term carbon targets and appointing a Climate Action Officer. Taking responsibility extends to our role in the communities we are a part of, the colleagues we work with and the high-quality trustworthy research we produce for the benefit of all and I’m delighted we’ve been able to achieve so much whilst still working flexibly and adjusting to the new normal.”

In a special foreword for the report, Editor in Chief of Scientific American, Laura Helmuth said: 

“This report, Unlocking Potential, highlights the role that Springer Nature - as a publisher of research in many different formats and fields, reaching many different audiences - can have on climate action through the content it publishes. Publishers have a crucial role in the climate crisis. Editors are dedicated to finding, curating and amplifying high-quality, trustworthy research and helping to make sure it reaches the right audiences, including citizens, researchers across many fields, policymakers and governments.”


Notes to Editors

  1. Read selected highlights and sustainability stories from across Springer Nature on the Sustainable Business report microsite.
  2. Download the full 2021 report, as well as other relevant documents and reports from previous years from the Springer Nature Group website.


Thea Sherer | Director of Sustainability and Climate Action Officer | Springer Nature | thea.sherer@springernature.com