In July 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the Awesome Books website for the company's environmental policy or report. The ‘Our Purpose’ webpage stated that Awesome Books was “committed to preserving the environment for current and future generations, and operate in a way that treats our planet with respect.” It also stated that the company’s emphasis on selling second hand books (alongside new ones) “means hundreds of thousands of items get a second chance instead of ending up in landfills”. On the ‘About Us’ webpage, the company referred to the company’s efforts to reduce waste going to landfill. It stated that it processed over 250,000 books every day, with nothing going to waste. “Books are either re-sold, donated via our literacy programs or pulped and turned into something new.”
The company also stated that “We have set-up collection banks with many councils around the country for books that people no longer want. And we have also launched ‘Sellitback.com’, our website and app, which enables members of the public to send us books directly and get paid for them.” The company reported that it had “recycled over 132 million books – the equivalent to a million trees – to be made into new products, working with specialist recycling partners.”
However, the company did not provide an explicit policy or report around its environmental impacts. An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
Awesome Books did not meet any of these criteria therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.
AwesomeBooks Our Purpose webpage (26 July 2021)