May 2022: From the Editor

When we founded BPI 20 years ago, already there were murmurs about the “death of print” in the publishing industry. And it’s true that in the ensuing decades, many publications (especially newspapers) have gone fully digital to save money and stay in business. But in every survey we’ve run over the years, the majority of our readers always have preferred the print version of BPI. Our digital edition has increased in popularity steadily — probably as older generations slowly give way to new ones in the biopharmaceutical industry — but only recently has it drawn roughly even with the print option among our readership and advertisers.

Meanwhile, our parent company has joined many others in seeking ways to incorporate both social and environmental sustainability concepts into how it does business. And as an outdoorsy, animal-loving, tree-hugging Oregonian, I’m much pleased to see this evolution. The subject of sustainability has been dear to my heart since I first learned about it. Over a decade ago, I pushed to get space to write about it in the pages of BPI, and you can see the results online at https://bioprocessintl.com/manufacturing/monoclonal-antibodies/sustainability-inbioprocessing-323438. I was one of those folks whose first gut
response to the single-use technology trend was, “Oh great, more plastic waste!” And I’ve followed closely as the industry has examined the environmental-impact nuances of disposability, writing on the subject with editorial advisor Bill Whitford first in 2014. As a number of studies have demonstrated how the associated trade-offs do balance out in
favor of single use, I’ve learned that no answer is perfect or obvious or easy when it comes to sustainability in business.

That brings me back to the question of print. How do we continue to give our readers what they want without betraying our responsibility to the environment? Our company wants all its divisions to find ways to integrate sustainability into their business, and we are eager to do so. But the answer isn’t as easy as just using recycled paper. Our advertisers expect a certain “look” and “feel” to their ads that’s not achievable with recycled-paper options. And advertising pays for a print publication that goes out free to most readers. So we faced a bit of a dilemma.

Our printing company, LSC Communications of Chicago, has offered a solution that we are happy to announce this month. Going forward, BPI will be printed on PEFC-certified paper. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification is a leading global alliance of national forest certification systems. The international nonprofit, nongovernmental organization is dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practices and ensure that products are made with respect for the highest ecological, social, and ethical standards. We are honored to join its mission through our printer’s certification and grateful to our new publisher Chris Johnson for coordinating this effort.

Note that “sustainably managed” is not only about the environment. PEFC also helps us address the social aspects of our supply chain. For example, timber from Russia and Belarus recently has been designated “conflict timber” that cannot be used in PEFC-certified products. That helps us to ensure compliance with international sanction rules. We encourage you to find out more about PEFC at the website in the image above.