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Ivy Kids: An Eco-Friendly Book Imprint

As every book lover knows, books are powerful things. Not only can they inspire, inform and entertain us, the right book might completely change the way we think about the world. And faced with the climate and biodiversity crisis, changing the way we think about things is an essential first step.


That’s what we aim to do with Ivy Kids, the UK’s first book imprint that is published on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, locally to the UK. Because books carry ideas, but they are also products – real objects that are made from physical materials, that require energy to create and transport.

'My Friend Tree' by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout © Ivy Kids 2024


Most books sold in the UK are made from virgin paper grown in plantations. Happily, much of this is now FSC-certified, so it is at least guaranteed to be from managed forests that don’t contain illegally logged material. But plantations still have an environmental impact – they use large areas of land and don’t support biodiversity in the same way as a natural forest does. It also takes a lot of energy, water and chemicals to turn trees into nice white printing paper. Illustrated children’s books sold in the UK are typically printed in East Asia, and so have to be transported a long way before they reach their final destination.


Although the publishing industry doesn’t generate the same scale of environmental impact of something like the fashion or meat industry, it nonetheless follows the same linear model as the rest of the economy, where materials for products are extracted from the environment, made into an item that is sold and used until it thrown away.

'A Little Dose of Nature' by Dr. Alison Greenwood, illustrated by Anneli Bray © Ivy Kids 2024


Here in the UK, our use of natural resources is 2.6 times what the Earth can sustain. In order to solve this problem, we need to start thinking about things differently. A big part of that is moving to a more circular model of production and consumption. This means designing and making things so that products and the stuff they are made of is kept in circulation, first by being reused and then by recycling the materials, instead of constantly extracting new materials to use then throw away.


At Ivy Kids, we only use paper that is made entirely from post-consumer waste. Every ton of recycled paper, equivalent to a small print run, saves an estimated 17 trees, along with over 1,700 litres of oil, nearly 2.5 cubic metres of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and over 30,000 litres of water. By printing in the UK, we are also avoiding a significant proportion of the carbon emissions associated with printing in Asia and shipping the books over.

'The Bison and the Butterfly' by Alice Hemming, illustrated by Nancy Leschnikoff © Ivy Kids 2024


Ivy Kids sits within the Quarto Group, a global illustrated publisher, which has embraced this experimental new imprint as a way of taking first steps towards a more sustainable industry for us all. Our books connect kids to the natural world and tell joyful stories about our precious planet. But more than that, we hope they are the small, first step in a process that will see a transformation in how books are made and sold in this country and beyond. 


To find out more contact

'Happy Stories for Nature Lovers' by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Domenique Serfontein © Ivy Kids 2024

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