Between the Pages of Eco-Libris and How they Green the Publishing Industry


Eco-Libris is no stranger to TreeHugger. The company now more than a year old, has been featured here in a number of shapes and forms. Planting trees for the books you buy, puts Eco-Libris in our good book. Here's our latest interview with Raz Godelnik, the CEO of the green company with strong Israeli roots. The latest news? Eco-Libris has partnered with Simon & Schuster.

1. Tell us a little bit about Eco-Libris, and the milestones you've passed since founding?

Eco-Libris is a green business that helps facilitate the greening of the book industry. We work with book readers, publishers, authors, bookstores and others in the book industry to balance out the paper used for books by planting trees. More than 30 million trees are cut down annually for virgin paper used for the production of books sold in the U.S. alone.

Eco-Libris aims to raise awareness to the environmental impacts of using paper for the production of books and provide people and businesses with an affordable and easy way to do something about it: plant one tree for every book they read, write, sell or publish.

Customers also receive a sticker made of recycled paper for every book they balance out saying: "One tree planted for this book" and can later display these stickers on their books' sleeves. Publishers can use our logo in their cover designs to indicate one tree is planted for that book.

Eco-Libris partnered with three highly respected US and UK registered non-profit organizations that work in collaboration with local communities in developing countries to plant these trees. These trees are planted in high ecological and sustainable standards in Latin America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Belize, Honduras) and Africa (Malawi), where deforestation is a crucial problem.

Planting trees in these places not only helps to fight climate change and conserve soil and water, but also benefits many local people, for whom these trees offer many benefits, such as improvement of crops and additional food and income, and an opportunity for a better future.

We celebrated our first anniversary last July and were very happy with the achievements we had in the first year. Not only that we balanced out 50,005 books in our first year of operation, but we managed to establish presence in the book industry, working with publishers, authors, bookstores, organizations and so on.

We are looking to become and agent of change that will help moving the book industry towards sustainable reading, and I believe that we sowed the seeds in our first year through the collaborations we established, as well as through the massive work we did (and keep doing) online to spread the word on the need in change and to promote green books (link to our blog: http://ecolibris.blogspot.com).

There's still a lot of work to be done. When we started Eco-Libris we announced that we are looking to balance out 500,000 books by December 2008, and it looks like we won't meet this goal, and hence we postponed this milestone to December 2009, which we believe that with our growing number of collaborations is definitely achievable.

Tags: Books | Israel | United States