ARE WE LIVING UP TO OUR PROMISE OF SPEAKING TREE?
from the desk of Josh Oaktree
On November 25, 2020, I wrote a blog post titled, "How We Speak Tree, And You Can, Too!" Back then, Oak Tree Comics was less than six months old — a baby — and we had just begun work on our first graphic novel.
As of this writing, Oak Tree Comics just turned two. I'm writing this new post to check in. Are we living up to our promises? Do we speak Tree? And how can we do better?
Do You Speak Tree? on the shelves of our first international book store.
To me, speaking Tree means using your actions to speak up for the environment. Because actions speak louder than words.
But words matter, too. One goal with this post is to address the challenges of being environmentally-minded when running a small publisher, so you both know how Oak Tree Comics is being eco-conscious and what our aspirations are to improve our impact.
Currently, our most important eco-conscious initiative is to donate a dollar to plant a tree for every book sold. The goal is to offset the books' production while aiding reforestation. So far, we've planted 1500 trees and counting.
Learn more about our non-profit partner One Tree Planted.
Unfortunately, a donation alone cannot offset all environmental costs of book production. In addition to the materials it takes to construct the book, you also have to consider how the books make their journey to readers.
In the future, we hope to be even more eco-friendly in how we print. As an example, we'd love to print all books on FSC-certified paper. We currently can't due to the realities of publishing. FSC-certified paper means that the Forest Stewardship Council has ensured that the paper has been harvested sustainably. But most printing companies require a minimum order of 10,000 books for FSC-certified paper. That's a lot — and, unfortunately, more than we currently sell.
Until we grow our audience and can sustain larger orders, we can be eco-conscious in other ways. For Do You Speak Tree? and all of our future books, we have used and will use soy-based ink instead of petroleum. Soy-based ink is both renewable and biodegradable. Read more about the benefits of soy-based ink.
We have also made a commitment to never sell fast fashion. Read more about the problems with the fast fashion industry.
Whenever printing stickers, posters, or any products, and in choosing what materials we use to ship them, we will always prioritize recyclable or compostable materials in place of plastics and non-biodegradable ones.
As I said to start this post, we recently turned two years old. We're a toddler. We are very curious and eager to learn about the world (of publishing) and how we can improve our impact on it.
If you have ideas, please feel free to contact us. We'd love to hear from you!