Today we publish Springer Nature’s 2021 Sustainable Business report - the latest annual report on the company’s environmental and social impacts.
Science continued to lead the news agenda in 2021. As concerns about misinformation grew, people increasingly looked for information they could trust in order to make sense of the latest insights. Providing access to verified, evidence-based knowledge sits right at the heart of our mission to open doors to discovery. In 2021, we invested in new technologies to further protect research integrity and to improve workflows, enabling researchers to work more efficiently. We continued to communicate research through our existing platforms, such as the daily source of science news Nature Briefing, which has an annual reach of 1.4 million, and in new ways, such as our recently launched In Conversation series of video interviews with world-leading researchers.
Another way to improve the reach and impact of research is the transition to open access (OA) publishing. For 20 years now, we have been strong advocates of OA and a memorable moment for us this year was the publication of our one millionth immediately available OA article. We are proud of this major OA milestone and industry first, and grateful for the hard work of so many colleagues across Springer Nature who made it a reality.
We continue to build on this momentum and aim to move faster to an open science future. We believe that, whether developing vaccines to tackle an evolving pandemic or creating policy responses to an escalating climate emergency, solutions can be developed most rapidly when all the outputs of research – data, code, protocols, initial outputs via preprints and the final published version of record – are open to all.
This year we put a special focus on climate action, in recognition of the vital importance of research to the discussions and decision-making at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, in Glasgow in November. We appointed the sector’s first Climate Action Officer and joined several cross-sector initiatives committing to bring value chain emissions to net zero. We’re developing science-based targets to enable us to do this in line with the actions needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Global challenges – neatly summarised in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – won’t be solved in a single research lab, institution or think tank. They require teamwork, cross-disciplinary thinking and an openness to alternative views. As this report shares, we work to further build an open culture at Springer Nature where all our colleagues can thrive and where we champion diversity, equity and inclusion not just within the company itself but also among the wider communities with which we work. This includes important work in our education division in the development of curriculum content that supports critical thinking and a broader understanding of citizenship.
Our teams around the world have worked more flexibly in 2021. Although we have not yet fully settled into a ‘new normal,’ we continue to be inspired by the purposeful way Springer Nature colleagues tackle the uncertainties of the pandemic while meeting the needs of the educators, researchers and professionals that we serve.
You can read the report's highlights and download it in full, by visiting our Sustainable Business website .