Russian Eco-Publishing House Finds Its Stride
To reduce its own ecological production, the Green Book team work remotely and paperless.
Published: May 22, 2014 (Issue # 1811)
In Russia, a country where environmental pollution is a major problem, various projects aimed at protecting nature have started to emerge in recent years. Yekaterina Voronina, an ardent advocate of this new movement, decided to set up a publishing house based on green technologies and issue books on environmental issues.
When Voronina decided to start the project two years ago, she had a Ph.D. in environmental studies, a shelf of books about running a company and no real business experience whatsoever. However, this did not frighten her and even made her more enthusiastic.
“Studying at the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology for a second degree, I realized there are no books in Russia about practical ecology. How do you make your office eco-friendly? How do you find out which products harm the environment, and which do not? All these questions were left unanswered for the Russian reader,” Voronina said.
So she started thinking how to fill the gap. As she did not have any experience in book publishing she decided to apply for a position of a sales manager in a big Russian publishing house to gain some practical skills. However, she was not offered the position. This disturbed her slightly, but gave her the drive to carry on and accomplish her goal — create her own publishing house.
Voronina and four other partners made a joint effort to set up a company. They raised 100,000 rubles ($2,800) as starting capital. This is how Zelyonaya Kniga, or Green Book, was born.
“When I started the whole thing, no one really believed I could succeed. Everybody was looking at me like I was crazy,” Voronina said. However, to for her the whole idea seemed so ingenious, that she just had to carry on.
As the company celebrated its second birthday in March this year, the results were remarkable. Green Book has published three books with significant circulations for such niche literature, with about 3,000 copies printed per book. In 2012 all debts were repaid and turnover for 2013 reached 5 million rubles ($140,000), which for so small an eco-startup is a significant achievement.
Green Book tries to keep its ecological footprint to a minimum. The paper for books is either recycled or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council of Russia, a body that checks whether the paper is made from sustainably grown and harvested woods. The ink for the paper is water-based, which is considered to be the most ecologically friendly.
In addition, the company calculates the carbon footprint of production. The footprint actually shows the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air during the production process. To compensate for the harm done to nature, which is inevitable, Voronina and her colleagues plant trees. So in the end, the books become 100 percent eco-friendly.
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