Sustainability, a natural part of everything we do

We want to run Once Upon in a way that is sustainable in the long run, both for the planet and for the people who live here. What we do today affects our tomorrow and the rest of our future. We need to take responsibility for our children and ensure that they can live on a healthy planet for generations to come. In other words: If we have started a company, we need to take full responsibility for it.

What we are doing to reach our goal

We have developed a clear plan on how to move forward with our sustainability work. And we may just getting started, but instead of looking back feeling that we should have started sooner (isn't that always the way?) we're looking forward and are super dedicated to get to where we want to be, fast!

What the plan looks like:

Understanding our own impact and constantly challenging ourselves and our suppliers is essential when it comes to moving forward quickly. We are aware that we do not have all the answers but are learning more all the time. To be a little more specific, these are three of our focus areas at the moment:

Know and knowhow

We are now, in this very moment, challenging our suppliers regarding the environment, ethics and work environment and insisting that they meet our requirements pronto. We are mapping our emissions and as soon as we have calculated our carbon footprint, we will tell you exactly what it looks like and how we plan to reduce it.

Managing our resources in the best way

When we have full knowledge and control over our supply chain and emissions, we can take steps in the right direction to manage our resources in the smartest way possible. Our business requires resources; forest, paper raw material, energy and fuel, just to name a few. We are currently investigating ways in which we can reduce these resources impact on the environment. For instance, we want to understand how we can contribute to a more sustainable forestry and what changes we can make to reduce our carbon footprint as quickly as possible. An other important resource for us is of course our employees - to safeguard a sustainable culture for everyone who works at Once Upon is also one of our top priority sustainability issues.

3. Chemical knowledge

In 2022 and 2023, we’re working to learn even more about the chemicals and glue used in our products. This is to gain knowledge about what our impact looks like, and what we can do to minimize it

What the plan looks like:

Our business requires lots of different resources; paper raw material, energy and fuel, to name a few. We aim to use only the resources we really need and always give back more than we take. Here we work with three focus areas:

1. Resource efficiency

Wasting resources is never a good idea, from any perspective. So we work with continuous improvements to identify any waste of resources. This includes everything from waste in production and fewer reprints, to smarter transport solutions. One example is that we have just removed the plastic packaging around our books. Another is that we now send our books in a smaller box that saves 20% of the material and also weighs less during transport. In 2022, we are also exploring the possibility of using more recycled raw materials in our books.

2. Sustainable forestry

Our primary raw material is paper from the forest. Using FSC-labeled paper in all our products is a first step in ensuring that we are as resource-wise as possible. Before the end of 2023, we expect all our printers to use only FSC-labeled paper.

3. Our energy footprint

The energy from our printing shops stands for our single largest emission (read more in our emission report). Here we have a constant dialogue with the printers to identify where they can save energy and how they can switch to renewable sources - work that has already had an effect. Our largest printing company has just installed solar panels on the roof and several of the others are actively choosing renewable electricity for their production as of this year.

What the plan looks like:

Creating a sustainable culture for everyone who works at Once Upon is a priority for us. It is also important for us to contribute to the well-being of our customers by carefully thinking through what signals we send and what we encourage. We believe that change begins with one's self. That being allowed to be one's whole self - the good, the not so good, and everything in between - is a prerequisite for finding the power for change that is required to create a sustainable future, not only for the planet but for all of us who live here too.

1. The good workplace

What is a good workplace? We believe it’s a safe and secure environment, where all employees have space to be their best selves. We insist that our suppliers also work according to the same guidelines and have the same goals when it comes to creating a good workplace. We do this through our Code of Conduct but also by sharing our Culture Book and by showing how we think and work.

2. The well-being of our customers

We believe that we have a responsibility for our customers' mental health, which is affected by the communication and the signals we send out. By carefully thinking through the content we create, which contact surfaces we use, and the partners we choose, we can contribute to a more filter-free, inclusive, and relatable everyday life. In this way, we aim to help our customers celebrate all parts of life.

What the plan looks like:

We want our product development to align with our vision of sustainability, but in the long run, we don't want to settle for "good enough" when it comes to these issues. That's why we want to contribute, help and inspire more companies to do their bit, both within and outside our own business sector. The mere thought of it all makes our hearts skip a beat. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we know where we want to be and are beginning to figure out how we're going to get there.

1. Inspiration & transparency

First and foremost, we want to show that sustainable growth is possible and through our working methods and innovation inspire other companies. We also want to help our customers make more sustainable choices, with us, and in life in general. Both in the small things as well as the big picture. An example of how we do this is through a small sticker on our packaging that reminds everyone to recycle the packaging. In 2022, we are working hard to become B-corp certified, which we also hope can inspire others!

2. Partnership

Creating change takes time and resources. It goes faster, and the effect will be greater if we find partners to work with. In 2022, we have, among other things, created a specific network for printing companies to share best practices and create and implement joint, global improvement projects.

One step at a time

FSC-certified by the end of the year

We’re in the process of getting FSC®-certified and as of May 2022 we use FSC-certified (FSC- MIX) papper in all our books that are ordered to The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Luxemburg. Our FSC-license number is FSC-N003984. Our aim is to only use FSC-certified marked paper in all our print-shops and products by the end of the year.

What is FSC?

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council and is an independent, international member organization that works for environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically viable use of the world’s forests, through its FSC certification system. Certified companies follow FSC’s rules (standards) for forestry and traceability. Those who follow the rules may label their products with the FSC brand. The FSC label allows consumers and companies to choose wood products that come from responsible forestry, which means forestry that takes people and the environment into account.

Our printers

We have printers all over the world, from Australia to America and a few places in between. We believe that collaboration is key to creating a more sustainable printing industry and that's why we continuously collaborate with all our printing partners, to find better sustainable solutions and new innovations together.