Two Metropolis covers

Metropolis Kicks Off Its Journey To Carbon Neutrality

We are beginning the process of assessing and reducing our carbon footprint, starting by offsetting the emissions associated with our two most recent publications.

For nearly two decades, Metropolis has argued that one of the urgent priorities for the architecture and design professions is to help fight climate change by reducing the carbon emissions produced by the building industry. Now we are turning our attention to our own carbon footprint, setting out on the path to carbon neutrality by offsetting the emissions associated with the print editions of our November/December 2021 issue and our special publication, Design for Impact.

Our two most recent print editions produced an estimated 68.25 tons of CO2 emissions.

Metropolis’s parent company, SANDOW Design Group, is looking to aggressively reduce its footprint to get to carbon-neutral production for its print publications by 2025. As part of that effort, Metropolis is beginning a process of third-party assessment, experimentation, and creative problem solving so that we can continue to bring important insights and initiatives to architects and designers, while greatly reducing our negative impact on people and planet.

In this, Metropolis is inspired by our community of architects and designers—including the achievements of the 2021 Planet Positive Award winners—as well as partners like Keilhauer, which released the first carbon-neutral office chair in 2020. Metropolis’s year-long partnership with Keilhauer led us to purchase verified carbon offsets to mitigate the emissions produced by printing and distributing print copies of our November/December 2021 issue and Design for Impact, as a way of announcing our intention and kicking off our journey to carbon neutrality.

A spread from a Metropolis issue
The cover story of Metropolis’s November/December 2021 issue takes a look at equity within the supply chain of architecture and interior design.

To understand the carbon emissions associated with print magazines, we turned to two in-depth assessments conducted by Discover magazine in 2008 and National Geographic magazine in 2010. Using their findings as a benchmark, we estimated 68.25 tons of CO2 emissions for our two print editions. These have been offset with carbon assets purchased through Terrapass, a rigorously audited provider whose offsets are third-party verified against the four most broadly accepted standards—the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry and the Climate Action Reserve. These standards require that offsets be real, additional (i.e., they wouldn’t have happened under a “business as usual” scenario), permanent, quantifiable, never double-counted or double-sold, and independently verified.

A spread from Metropolis's Design for Impact book
Design for Impact contains 26 case studies of projects that are driving positive outcomes for ecosystems, climate, occupants, and communities.

As we begin the process of fully assessing and reducing our emissions, this first step indicates the size of the problem we have to solve, and gives us the motivation to keep pushing towards carbon neutrality. More than ever before, we recognize that repairing our relationship with the ecology of the planet will be an ongoing journey. Beyond our current focus on print publications, we will seek to understand the full impact of media production in our digitized world—areas where methods and benchmarks of carbon assessment are only being developed now.

We are excited for the creative challenges that lie ahead, and proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the architecture and design industry in its fight for a healthier, more just, and more sustainable world.

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