Chelsea Green

Long before publishing companies began researching sustainability in an effort to become greener, Chelsea Green was already leading the way. Since 1985, the Vermont-based publishing company has not only been printing books and catalogs on chlorine-free recycled paper with soy-based inks, but it has also been printing about the practice of green living. Popular topics include renewable energy, green building, organic agriculture, eco-cuisine and ethical business. Chelsea Green was founded in 1984 by Ian and Margo Baldwin with the publication of one of its most popular titles, The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giano, an ecological fable that has sold more than 250,000 copies. Since then, the company has grown to include over 400 titles with an array of content. In an industry that is very much known for its conglomerates, Chelsea Green’s mission is to remain independent. The company focuses on the triple bottom line, benefiting people, planet and profit, which has become a well-known model for sustainable businesses in recent years. Chelsea Green is also proud to be one of the first to sign on to the Green Press Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the use of recycled paper in the book industry. Publishers who join the Green Press Initiative make a pledge that at least 10% of their book titles will meet or exceed the initiative’s recycled content and bleaching process standards. While Chelsea Green had strong environmental initiatives already in place, in 2003 the company took a closer look at its mission and redefined it. An excerpt includes:
“With the destruction of the natural world ramped up to epidemic proportions, one wonders what ‘sustainable’ really means. Is it enough to focus on the how-to of ‘green living’ in the face of such overwhelming force, the ‘shock and awe’ of forest and ecosystem destruction, the rampant plundering of the world’s oceans, the terror of GMO-contaminated food, and the unintended consequences of biotechnology? We wish to move the company forward boldly and with a new sense of urgency. While continuing our commitment to remain at the forefront of information about green building, organic growing, and renewable energy — the practical aspects of sustainability — we will also publish for a new politics of sustainability, for the cultural resistance that living demands of us now.”
Other popular titles published by Chelsea Green include The Straw Bale House (more than 120,000 copies sold); the national bestseller Don’t Think of an Elephant! by George Lakoff (more than 250,000 copies printed in six months); and the New York Times bestseller, The End of America by Naomi Wolf. When you purchase from Chelsea Green, make sure to check out the “WorthIt” logo that is included on each book. It reads, “This book may cost more because we use post-consumer recycled paper, which is significantly more expensive than ‘virgin’ paper. We hope you’ll agree that it’s worth it.”