Setting Targets for Working Sustainably and Inclusively

Looking up at a canopy of trees with green leaves (photo credit: Firos via Unsplash)

31 May 2021 | Carmel McNamara, IOS Press, Amsterdam, NL
IOS Press joined the UN’s SDG Publishers Compact at the end of 2020 and, in doing so, committed to develop sustainable practices and act as champions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), publishing books and journals that will help inform, develop, and inspire action in that direction. As a company, we contribute to this primarily by the sharing of ideas and in relation to the content that is published, and we established a working group to begin looking at the SDGs with an aim to set specific targets. Read on to discover the priorities and plans in terms of gender and diversity, as well as assessing partnerships in terms of responsible production.

SDG Publishers Compact: IOS Press commits to promoting sustainable practices

by Carmel McNamara, IOS Press, Amsterdam, NL

IOS Press joined the UN’s SDG Publishers Compact at the end of 2020 and, in doing so, committed to develop sustainable practices and act as champions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), publishing books and journals that will help inform, develop, and inspire action in that direction. As a company, we contribute to this primarily by the sharing of ideas and in relation to the content that is published, and we established a working group to begin ​​​​​​looking at the SDGs with an aim to set specific targets. Read on to discover the priorities and plans in terms of gender and diversity, as well as assessing partnerships in terms of responsible production.

The UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have seen numerous sustainability transformations emerging. From now up to 2030, we must take urgent action. As outlined on the UN website: "We must be the generation to end extreme poverty, win the race against climate change and conquer injustice and gender inequality. We will shine a light on solutions that expand access and demonstrate the possibilities of ideas. We will drive sustainable innovation."

SDGs Publishers Compact colourful logo with a background of books

The formation of the UN’s SDG Publisher’s Compact was announced in October 2020 during the first virtual Frankfurt Book Fair in collaboration with the International Publishers Association (see more here). The compact features 10 action points (see Box 1) that publishers and others can commit to undertaking in order to accelerate progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In doing so, they share a common obligation to work towards a sustainable future.

 

SDGs Content

How does IOS Press contribute and advocate for sustainable practices in relation to its membership of the SDG Publishers Compact? Primarily, in the sharing of ideas and in relation to the content that is published. We highlight SDG-related articles that have been published in IOS Press journals (and books) in our quarterly mailing and on our dedicated website section. A selection of related content from three journals that regularly publish on SDG-related topics are included below.

Towards sustainability to realize Agenda 2030
One of the most popular contributed blog posts on the Environmental Policy and Law (EPL) website focuses on sustainability. In particular, it highlights the urgent need for the transformation of sustainability pathways and how vital it is that this is carried out in an integrated manner. Almost 5 years after the adoption of Agenda 2030, the Global Sustainable Development Report was written prior to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in 2019 and it outlined the science behind what was needed to achieve sustainable development. This article highlights the key players and points. 

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Read Article | View EPL’s Sustainability Section | Our Earth Matters

Envisioning the future through e-transparency 
A recent Information Polity article highlights the lack of correlation between long-term goals and available data relating to commitments or international agreements like the SDGs. The study outlines a method that has been developed to allow a civil society organization to seek public budget information using open government data (OGD). Such OGD platforms can be used to monitor government capacity in achieving policy goals and five constraints have been identified for their use: granularity, traceability, correlation, accessibility, and usability. Civil society is interested in using the information to project the future outcomes of public policy rather than monitor the past, which enables envisioning the future public policy accomplishment.

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View Article

Sustainable development goal indicators 
In a recent issue of Statistical Journal of the IAOS, there are articles covering sustainable development. One paper looks at assessing sustainable causal relationships between informal employment indicators and the main components of SDGs. Others suggest providing more up-to-date information for monitoring sustainable development and timely evidence for policy makers have led to an increased interest in “nowcasting.” Technological innovations, new data sources and the emergence of big data have created additional opportunities to follow economic and social developments with reduced time lags. This is covered in this paper and in this special editorial.

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View Issue | Join a Discussion

 

Our Earth Matters

These topics are already on the agenda for a number of our editors and certain journals – discover, for instance, the Our Earth Matters series organized by Environmental Policy and Law, with a free webinar happening on June 5 – World Environment Day – involving experts discussing what urgent regulatory processes, approaches, and instruments are needed for the protection of the global environment. 

 

SDGs Priorities

We are now also working to set specific targets, with initial priority relating to SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) in terms of diversity, and planning for the next phase to assess partnerships in terms of responsible production (SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 17).

Sustainability Development Goals: Prioirities

Currently, we are working with our journal editors to assess board membership in relation to gender and diversity. To incentivize our journals’ development towards equality, we are looking at information relating to authors and editorial boards to evaluate the current situation. We are also utilizing our linked data platform LD Connect to determine a wealth of geographic analytics across all our journals. 

During this initial phase, we will raise awareness and engage in discussions that will then hopefully inspire action in the direction of creating a more sustainable future and working together to achieve the SDGs. In due course, we will be monitoring the situation closely and sharing updates on this topic – and we hope to have positive news stories, like that about the StemJournal senior team (see below).
 

StemJournal Senior Team

It was announced on International Women’s Day, in March 2021, that among the senior team of StemJournal (looking at the Senior Editor and Associate Editor positions), there is a 50:50 split between the number of men and women contributing their time and dedication to help build our journal. Efforts have been ongoing since its launch in 2018 to give due consideration to diversity within the journal team, in terms of gender, geography, and ethnicity. At the time, one of the journal’s Associate Editors, Louise Purton, commented: “Supporting equity, diversity, and inclusivity is a cause that is very important to me, I appreciate that StemJournal is making this a priority.”

Black and white photos of the female Senior Editors and Associate Editors of StemJournal
“Supporting equity, diversity, and inclusivity is a cause that is very important to me, I appreciate that StemJournal is making this a priority” – Louise PurtonAssociate Editor

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Are you an IOS Press editor or board member who is interested to hear about sustainable actions and recommendations? Please get in touch.

We’ll also be sharing updates here on Labs in due course!

Box 1: Action points of the SDG Publishers Compact

  1. Committing to the SDGs: Stating sustainability policies and targets on our website, including adherence to this Compact; incorporating SDGs and their targets as appropriate.
  2. Actively promoting and acquiring content that advocates for themes represented by the SDGs, such as equality, sustainability, justice and safeguarding and strengthening the environment.
  3. Annually reporting on progress towards achieving SDGs, sharing data and contribute to benchmarking activities, helping to share best practices and identify gaps that still need to be addressed.
  4. Nominating a person who will promote SDG progress, acting as a point of contact and coordinating the SDG themes throughout the organization.
  5. Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among staff to increase awareness of SDG-related policies and goals and encouraging projects that will help achieve the SDGs by 2030.
  6. Raising awareness and promoting the SDGs among suppliers, to advocate for SDGs and to collaborate on areas that need innovative actions and solutions.
  7. Becoming an advocate to customers and stakeholders by promoting and actively communicating about the SDG agenda through marketing, websites, promotions and projects.
  8. 8. Collaborating across cities, countries, and continents with other signatories and organizations to develop, localize and scale projects that will advance progress on the SDGs individually or through their Publishing Association.
  9. Dedicating budget and other resources towards accelerating progress for SDG-dedicated projects and promoting SDG principles.
  10. Taking action on at least one SDG goal, either as an individual publisher or through your national publishing association and sharing progress annually.