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People and values

None of our achievements in the past year would have been possible without the commitment, expertise and passion of our people, and during 2016–17 we placed strong emphasis on investment in their skills.

Coming on the heels of 2015–16’s restructuring programme, this was a year in which we worked to reinforce our positive work environment while equipping colleagues with the know-how and resilience to flourish in a rapidly changing world.

The key ingredients for success in today’s publishing industry include digital expertise; a willingness to take risks and adapt quickly to change; sensitivity to the need of customers; close collaboration with colleagues; and an ability to think globally.

The key to success in publishing today is digital expertise; a willingness to take risks and adapt quickly to change; sensitivity to the need of customers; and an ability to think globally.”

The Press is a global operation, with over 50 offices in more than 150 countries. As we expand around the world it is vital we retain our common culture and values, emphasising the highest academic standards and dedication to the spread of knowledge.

Our investment in people last year included a large management development programme, designed around our values and the qualities of good management. It will give our people enhanced skills in people management, more motivational team leadership, and a greater ability to marry commercial thinking with the Press’s purpose to advance learning. The overall aim is to move away from rigid hierarchies and encourage individual initiative across the organisation.

More than 250 of our managers all over the world are going through the programme. It involves 15 months of part-time study, mostly online, but starting and ending with classes in Cambridge.

We are also excited to have established an apprenticeship programme, aimed at making a career in academic and educational publishing appeal beyond the traditional university recruiting grounds. Apprenticeships have been trialled over the past two years, with nine apprentices joining us to date, working in customer services, human resources and information technology. This will be expanded to a wide range of roles across the organisation.

We have also invested in more coaching of staff, launched a global mentoring scheme, and further embedded our graduate trainee and intern programmes. We have encouraged colleagues across the organisation to expand their digital skills, for example through Press-supported self-development programmes. To encourage internal collaboration, we have been using social media tools to break down silos and encourage lateral thinking between teams.

Community engagement and educational charity work are an important part of our culture. Nearly 250 colleagues were involved during the year in a wide range of projects, with more than £51,000 in cash donated to good causes.

Some 44,000 books were given to diverse charities, including Book Aid International, which supports literacy and access to information across Africa, and Borderline Books, which helps groups across the UK working with refugees, women’s refuges, ex-offenders, prisoners and homeless people. Other recipients included Build on Books, boosting literacy through school outreach programmes in Sierra Leone; Happiness Again, supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan; and Pro Mundo – Projeto Cidadão do Mundo e Capao Redondo, which promotes equal opportunities and social integration in Brazil through volunteer English teaching.

For the second successive year our UK charity of the year was Centre 33, which helps young people across Cambridgeshire who face a variety of challenges. Our assistance has been focussed on their support for young carers – people under the age of 18 who have caring responsibilities for family members who are disabled, physically or mentally ill, or who have a substance misuse problem.

We raised nearly £29,000 for Centre 33 over our two years of partnership. Our staff also gave volunteering time and know-how. Our support enabled more than 200 young carers to enjoy respite days from their responsibilities, providing them with the opportunity to recharge, connect with other young carers and to enjoy being a child.

The Press donated books to families whose homes were devastated by fire in Cape Town.
The Press donated books to families whose homes were devastated by fire in Cape Town.

Beth Green, Executive Director of Centre 33, commented: ‘The commitment and passion from the Press team has been incredible. We feel having the opportunity to partner for two years has given time for both organisations to get to know each other, find the best ways to work and support each other, and to have a lasting impact.’

Colleagues in the UK continued to support local school students in a variety of ways, partnering with Form the Future, a social enterprise which connects students with business. Activities included one-to-one mentoring, holding enterprise days and conducting mock interviews to increase students’ confidence in preparing for life after school.

The Cambridge office celebrated World Book Day by opening its doors to 15-year-old students from local secondary schools so they could learn about publishing as a career. Colleagues conducted a ‘speed-networking’ style careers carousel, speaking about communications, design, editorial, legal, marketing, procurement, sales and technology.

Colleagues in the US launched a new community engagement programme, while in India we began a new partnership with Navjyoti India Foundation, established by Delhi police officers nearly 30 years ago to prevent crime through welfare work among street children and drug peddlers. It has grown into an organisation that helps whole communities through education and training. Our focus is on their young leadership programme.

The Delhi office also partnered with Nepal Remote Villages Trust by donating books to far-flung areas of Nepal where roads have been damaged by landslides.

In Indonesia, colleagues visited an orphanage near Jakarta and spoke about the need to protect the environment, spreading the message ‘Let’s Go Green: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’ In South Africa, we donated stationery and books to help school children whose shack houses were burnt to the ground in devastating wildfires in Hout Bay, near Cape Town.


Since 2007, the Press has held certification to the Environmental Management System (EMS) Standard ISO14001. The aim has been to continuously reduce our impact on the environment through careful management of significant factors, including energy consumption, resource use, travel, waste, and sustainable procurement.

In 2016–17 we successfully transitioned our Cambridge operations to the revised ISO14001:2015, which requires closer involvement by senior management in environmental issues and detailed examination of supplier chains. With this in mind, our Global Procurement Manager now steers the EMS, and introduced a tighter procedure for supplier assessment, which has enabled further greening of our supply chain. We also implemented a new sustainable sourcing process for timber products. Other initiatives included the provision of electrical vehicle charging points at our Cambridge headquarters and providing additional webinar meeting facilities to reduce travel.

Our three year plan is to engage with offices throughout the Press and key suppliers to define environmental objectives that will reduce further our environmental impact.

Our UK environmental statistics* for the year showed that our total energy consumption, as measured by tonnes of CO2 emitted, was maintained at 1,402 tonnes CO2. Water consumption at the Cambridge office rose 22 per cent to 1,089 litres, while total waste at all UK sites decreased by 5 per cent. The impact of business travel, as measured by tonnes of CO2 emitted, rose 40 per cent to 2,426 tonnes CO2 due to growing underlying levels of business and the opening of new offices overseas, requiring increased travel. Despite our ongoing growth, we are looking at how we can ensure air travel does not increase beyond its current level by continuing our focus on alternatives such as video conferencing.

*The most recent Defra conversion factors (issued 5 October 2016) have been used for periods May15–Apr16 and May16–Apr17. Previous Annual Report data may differ from the data now documented.

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