NETT Magazine | April 2008
LUNA MEDIA is the first Australian publishing house to go carbon neutral. Four-year-old Luna has 15 employees and produces science magazine Cosmos and G: The Green Lifestyle Magazine. After a long globe-spanning journey of research into how to print and distribute its magazines as sustainably as possible, editor-in-chief Wilson da Silva says he now “knows more about paper than anyone should.”
Why address environmental impact now?
“We got serious when we launched G Magazine in late 2006. We predicted an expectation from readers and advertisers that the publisher of an eco-lifestyle title would walk the talk. Carbon Planet audited our operations in 2006. but even before that we knew the bulk of our emissions would come from printing and distribution.”
“Luna Media was generating a huge 922.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year with 70 per cent of this due to the milling, importing and printing of our magazine paper.”
Biggest areas of concern?
“Without doubt, it was the supply chain of our two magazines. Luna Media was generating a huge 922.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year with 70 per cent of this due to the milling, importing and printing of our magazine paper. A further 15 per cent of our overall carbon footprint was due to magazine delivery to subscribers and newsagents.”
What did Luna Media do?
“We went for the jugular: the magazine paper. Only 12.5 per cent [of emissions] was incurred by our internal operations. so the other stuff seemed small in comparison.
“I’d be lying if I said it was easy. The huge presses used to print magazines have very specific paper requirements. Our old paper for Cosmos was sourced from a mill in Maine, USA, which is one of the most environmentally friendly mills in North America. But we discovered if we switched to paper from Europe, we automatically reduced our emissions by more than 17 per cent purely because of North America’s ‘dirtier’ transport and energy industries.
“We went for the jugular: the magazine paper. Only 12.5 per cent [of emissions] was incurred by our internal operations, so the other stuff seemed small in comparison.”
“Eventually we found paper for G Magazine made from 100 per cent post-consumer waste – the stuff we all recycle at home. It is shipped in from Germany. The cover is printed on paper which comes from a mill in Italy and is 55 per cent recycled. The balance comes from virgin paper sourced from sustainably-managed forests.
“Recently, we raised around $250 from a staff auction of products sent to the magazines for review. The proceeds will buy a portion of rainforest land in the Daintree to protect it from development, through a company called Rainforest Rescue.”
“No Australian mills produce 100 per cent recycled paper for web offset presses. We would love this to happen. Australians are good recyclers.”
Benefits of a sustainability strategy?
“We established our bona fides with readers and advertisers – a substantial benefit to our brand and important to us personally. Many of us have science qualifications so we seek evidence and credibility with everything. We applied those standards to our own operations. In addition, our staff are tremendously proud of what we achieved.”
Future sustainability plans?
“Convince the larger publishing houses to barrack for local 100 per cent recycled paper. With their clout, it would have to happen and thereby become affordable for the smaller publishers too. Oh, and we are getting a worm farm!”
Luna Media’s internal measures include:
Switching to 100 per cent Green Power
Switching energy-sucking halogen globes to lower wattage bulbs
Enforcing double-sided, black and white-only printing and using scrap paper to print maps, emails, etc
Providing a safe space for staff bicycles
Offsetting leftover carbon footprint through the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme.