The summer's most highly anticipated book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is now being touted as the greenest book in publishing history. Thanks to Nicole Rycroft (Gold Award, Sustainable Living 2006) and her Vancouver-based Markets Initiative, the final Harry Potter installment has galvanized the international book industry in its commitment to the environment. While securing millions of readers around the world, the much-anticipated title — the fastest to achieve 1 million copies in advance sales — has also played an important part in the birth of an eco-friendly paper supply chain that is helping to protect Canada's boreal forest.
Since persuading Canada's Raincoast Books to print the fifth Harry Potter installment, Order of the Phoenix, on Ancient Forest Friendly paper in 2003, Rycroft has worked with hundreds of publishers and paper mills to help make more books "green." With its July release, Deathly Hallows holds the distinction as the first book printed on eco-friendly paper in more than 16 countries. These English-language editions alone have protected 197,685 trees (equivalent to 2.5 times the size of New York's Central Park) and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 7.9 million kilograms (the same as taking 1,577 cars off the road).
Over the past four years, Markets Initiative has fulfilled its name — achieving a market shift in the demand for planet-friendly papers. Capitalizing on its belief that demand drives change, the group has inspired more than 300 publishers, including those in Germany, Israel and Australia, to increase the number of titles printed on eco-friendly papers. As a result, some 32 new Ancient Forest Friendly and eco-friendly papers have been developed for the book industry across North America and more than 80 printers, including Canadian book-publishing heavyweights Friesens and Transcontinental, are routinely stocking them.
Celebrated as the fastest-selling book in the Harry Potter series — more than 5,750 per minute in the U.S. alone during the first 24 hours — Deathly Hallows will also be remembered for its lasting environmental legacy.