Minimizing the environmental impact of Wolters Kluwer’s products and operations

Offering choices for responsible product consumption, such as electronic or paperless products, is a crucial concern for the company. Wolters Kluwer has included a global environmental policy as part of its business principles. It strives to convert its portfolio from print-centric products into more environmentally-friendly product formats.

The company works on this in two ways.

1. Developing new electronic products and the migration of customers to non-paper solutions have helped shift Wolters Kluwer’s portfolio to a higher proportion of online and software products and services.

These products have a different climate footprint caused by reduction in traditional raw materials such as paper, water, and energy involved in storing and transporting paper products for the company and its suppliers. The move towards more electronic products will positively influence climate change, and where electronic products lead to a decrease of paper use, deforestation. It will also add more value to the daily work of customers.

2. Continuing to evolve processes related to ensuring that the remaining paper-based part of the portfolio is as clean as possible. Improving clean paper performance will positively impact deforestation, climate change, water use and pollution challenges for society.

Wolters Kluwer also promoted increased opportunities for environmentally-friendly work within its own facilities. The company continued its operational innovations to deliver better energy efficiencies through the @WorkAnywhere program. This program’s accomplishments over the year included the development of a Remote Work policy, including productivity measurement frameworks for North America, outlining a 5-year real estate plan, and adding active green strategy and management to the real estate site selection and new lease contracts.

Wolters Kluwer measures the environmental performance of its business units in terms of paper use, waste, energy use, and water use annually. It also measures the environmental impact of lease cars and business-related air travel. Most of the company’s business units offer alternatives to business travel, such as teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and working from home. Furthermore, Wolters Kluwer is looking into opportunities to invest in renewable energy in its offices and is working with local suppliers, mainly in the United States, to generate environmental information on its buildings. Existing landlords are under no legal obligations in the U.S. to provide this information; everything was given on a voluntary basis. Wolters Kluwer finds this too weak a basis for specific environmental target setting.

In 2009, Wolters Kluwer updated its new rental contract templates in North America to ensure sustainability as a factor for decisions regarding new, greener buildings. Also, this will enable the company to obligate new landlords to provide environmental information. This decision factor was also brought into practice with part of a Health unit moving into a greener building when their current lease agreement expired.

At the moment, seven business units have confirmed that they have an environmental management system for their operations.

2010 Achievements and statistics

Transforming portfolio to electronic solutions and services

Wolters Kluwer’s electronic solutions help contribute to sustainable use of natural resources. (photo)

Wolters Kluwer’s electronic solutions help contribute to sustainable use
of natural resources.

In 2009, the company already reached a milestone with more than half of its revenue originated from non-paper products. The portfolio shifted further in 2010 with 54% of revenue generated by electronic solutions.

Revenue from electronic products
in %

Revenue from electronic products (line chart)

CT Corporation continues to develop and urge adoption of its Paperless Service of Process product, whereby customers receive electronic copies of jurisdictional communications via electronic formats. This service greatly reduces the need for multiple paper copies of those documents to be made, and reduces carbon emissions by eliminating the need for shipping those documents via land and air.

CCH has been helping its clients drive paperless practices for many years. In 2001, CCH acquired ProSystem fx Engagement, allowing approximately 3,000 firms to implement Engagement and make their offices paperless. This impacted thousands of users and clients across the globe. This has also helped to reduce paper and impact high-level climate change with the ability to work anytime, from anywhere. The entire ProSystem fx Suite has also been driving this paperless workflow, impacting the entire firm's processes. ProSystem fx Tax, Scan, Document and Practice all contribute to enable a paperless firm workflow. The evolution of online access to tax and accounting research is also contributing to a more sustainable environment, by allowing firms to subscribe to their required content in additional online formats, including Smart PDFs and eBooks. CCH has eliminated many print user guides and has enabled users to access that information electronically.

Wolters Kluwer Italy was the first publisher in Italy to launch an e-book.

These products illustrate that balancing business and environmental considerations can be a win-win situation; customers receive higher-value solutions while reducing both their own and Wolters Kluwer’s environmental footprint.

Move towards cleaner paper for remaining paper-based portfolio

The company has begun to chart volumes of recycled as well as externally-certified chain of custody paper across the business. In 2010, Wolters Kluwer produced 98% of all its books and 100% of all its journals units for the Tax & Accounting division and the Law & Business unit in the United States under Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certifications.

Tax and Accounting in the United States also reviewed its office paper use: the marketing sector's primary print suppliers are now certified by the FSC and the SFI for their environmentally-friendly processes. All direct mail, sales sheets, and marketing sales collateral are produced at these facilities. These products are produced without the use of toxic chemicals, with aqueous-based coatings and with low VOC soy or vegetable inks on efficient equipment that reduce energy, waste, and spoilage. When applicable, papers containing post-consumer waste are used.









Total paper use (in metric tons)




Paper consumption (in kg per FTE)




In 2010, Wolters Kluwer introduced more stringent paper measures resulting from stakeholder requests, as well as external data verification which included paper as a key indicator. The company added a distinction for production paper and office paper to ensure capturing the full scope. This distinction is the main reason for the reported increase in paper use compared to last year. Wolters Kluwer also detailed the definition for chain of custody certified paper and recycled paper based on best practices within the industry. It also started measuring volumes of environmentally-friendly paper used across all its business units. In prior years, this was only done for the United States.

Certified or recycled paper




Chain of custody certified paper (FSC, PEFC or SFI) or 100% recycled


at least 10% post-consumer recycled material


% clean paper


Environmental performance

Globally, Wolters Kluwer emitted approximately 92,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010.

Environmental data






Energy consumption



Total (GWh)



Energy use (KWh per FTE)



CO2 emission (tons per FTE)



Water consumption



Total (cubic meters)



Water use (liters per day per FTE)



Business travel



Total flights (million kilometers)



Flight use (km per FTE)



Total lease cars (million km)



Lease car use (km per FTE)



CO2 emissions (tons per FTE)



Total CO2 emissions (tons)









Energy consumption was reduced significantly to 153 GWh: 80% from electricity and 20% from natural gas. There were two reasons for the reduction. First, within the United States actual environmental data were measured for all owned buildings (opposed to converting costs made). This covers approximately a quarter of the U.S.-based employees. The results were aggregated across the United States and give a more accurate overview. This led to a reduction in electricity and water usage for the United States, although the amount of gas used went up. Second, performance was improved within business units in the United States, the Netherlands, and Poland through energy consumption management and programs such as @WorkAnywhere. One business unit, Spain, has reported that it uses energy from renewable energy sources. This is comparable to last year.

Water also decreased significantly. Again this was driven by measurement improvement in the United States (based upon actual gallons consumed) as well as improved performance most notably in Asia Pacific, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

The sizable increase in business travel also explains why Wolters Kluwer’s total CO2 emissions have gone up. In 2010 both Corporate travel and the Asia Pacific businesses were included, which drove up the total. Also, while changing to a global organization offers customer, people and development opportunities, it did lead to more travelling. Wolters Kluwer will continue to balance flight and car travel with online, telephone, and other alternatives as stated in its travel policy.

2011 Objectives

  • Grow online, software, and service revenues to represent at least 75% or more of the total revenues in the medium term; and
  • Develop clean paper targets for individual business units and increase percentage of clean paper.


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