This week is Global Goals Week, an annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2020, there is a sense of urgency. We have 10 years to achieve the ambitious targets set by the SDGs and that is short amount of time. At the end of 2019, the UN announced that the world was not on track to meet this target. Furthermore, they issued an urgent call for action to accelerate the partnerships, collaborations and projects that are needed to achieve the goals.

It is fitting that during this week, here at the IPA, that we too highlight the actions that are being undertaken by publishers and publishing associations across the world related to the SDGs. Each day, we will be highlighting and announcing new initiatives to help inspire our industry and encourage all publishers to embrace the SDGs.

For our first post, we are excited to announce that the IPA have commissioned a dedicated report on the SDGs for the publishing industry. Set to launch during Frankfurt’s virtual Book Fair, the report is the first time that our industry’s activities have been collected and organized using the framework of the SDGs. The report is focused on case studies and interviews, providing best practices and inspiration on how to embrace and take action on the SDGs.

Michiel Kolman was interviewed on the SDG report: Watch the full video here and read more below.


How can publishers contribute to the SDGs? 

I think publishers can contribute towards the SDGs in two ways; the first, is that they can control their own environmental footprint. For instance, they can become greener, they become more diverse, they can champion ethics within their supply chain. This is really about a publisher’s own internal processes and policies, that they can control and influence.

Equally important is that publishers can be agents of change. They can impact society, simply by the types of content they publish.  One example of this is the SDG Book club, designed for children aged between 6-12. The book club highlights children’s books that champion the principles behind the SDGs, such as equality, sustainability and caring for the environment. Available in multiple languages, this initiative showcases how publishers are creating quality and inspiring content related to the SDGs, that will resonate with the next generation of readers.

COVID-19 has forever changed our lives and impacted our businesses and the wider publishing industry. In your perspective has the pandemic brought us closer or further away to achieving the SDG Goals.

Well, you might think, because we’re in the midst of a crisis, both a health crisis and also an economic crisis, things would be far more difficult. But to me, it also screams opportunity, because I strongly believe we do not want to go back to exactly the way it was. We now have the opportunity to truly shape a new type of world, a new type of society and it is an opportunity to really build around the SDGs. Together, we can shape a more sustainable future and so this an opportunity, it is not an easy one, it is difficult, but certainly one we really have to embrace.

What advice do you have for publishers wanting to contribute towards the SDG goals.

First of all, the IPA’s SDG Report is a great example of how publishers can contribute towards the goals. It has lots of inspiration and best practices from across our industry. The report shows that all publishers can contribute, whether they’re small and can contribute a small amount, or if they are large and can contribute more significantly.

From the report, I see there are three broad areas of contribution. The first one is around content and what we publish. Secondly, it is about equal opportunity for everybody and the power of diversity and inclusion. Thirdly, it is about collectively building a smarter generation with a focus on quality education and the role of educational publishing.

To find out more about how publishers have been contributing towards to the SDGs, get ready to read the new IPA SDG Report that will launch during the virtual Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday 15 October at 11am. See IPA’s full programme here.