During the enforced closure of Masonic meetings in the last year, the Chorley and Leyland Group Yearbook Secretary, Andy Sumner, was meeting with the group executive to discuss the way forward for the production of the 2021–2022 Yearbook for the group. Whilst the discussions aired many ideas, the main outcome was still to produce a print version of the yearbook as they had always done but, not necessarily in the same format or with the same content and certainly not the same number of copies as in previous years. Group costs and ultimately carbon footprint reduction were the main drivers for change.
Andy started by stripping out all of the business and professional advertisements which had been a staple source of income in funding production of the yearbook for many years. Given the short time-frame of a return to meetings and being able to produce the yearbook, advertiser funding was no longer feasible. The difficulty was in contacting advertisers for inclusion and to then review and amend each of the adverts – whilst the main body of the advert remains constant, contact details do change. This though was a double-edged sword as it meant that there would be a significant reduction in income from advertisement sponsorship.
In an effort to address this offset in income, discussion was had and permission sought from Provincial Office requesting that the group be able to publish their yearbook on the Provincial website making it available on line and within the Chorley and Leyland Group’s webpage. This was confirmed and the production of the yearbook was put in motion with the aim to make a digital copy available within the members only area of the website.
There are a number of benefits, over and above cost containment, to placing the yearbook online and which factored into the Chorley and Leyland Group’s decision.
• To reduce the group’s carbon footprint.
• Allow the group membership to download their personal copy.
• Allow the group membership to read the yearbook online.
• Allows the membership with smart gadgets to always have access to the yearbook.
• Enables the viewing and downloading of the group yearbook by none Chorley and Leyland Group members.
• Cost savings at group level for printing services and hence publication expenses.
There are other influences in deciding how many hard copies would still be needed which played a part in the ‘science’ of allocating a number of books to each Masonic unit which led to the group achieving its goal of saving funds by way of reducing the number of printed hard copies by more than 50%.
The yearbook is available via the Chorley and Leyland Group webpage – to view this and to download your personal copy, you will need to authenticate onto the West Lancashire Provincial website and then navigate to the Chorley and Leyland Group pages where the yearbook is available from the right-hand column menu.
The group is using the technology available to them in making a statement to improve communication amongst its membership. They are also demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility by reducing their carbon footprint through the reduction in print and publication requirements.
A reduction in the use of paper helps to reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. Turning a single tree into 17 reams of paper results in around 110 lbs of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. Additionally, trees are also ‘carbon sinks’ and every tree that is not cut down for paper usage is able to absorb CO2 gasses. The average tree can absorb around a ton, (2,000 lbs), of CO2 in its lifetime. The group estimates that the reduced content and circulation has resulted in the equivalent of 20 reams of paper being saved, or just more than one mature tree, every year, and it is hoped this is just the start!
We asked Andy Sumner what the future holds for the Chorley and Leyland Group Yearbook, he stated: “Over a period of time we should be able to reduce the number of printed copies still further and who knows, they might get to the stage where we no longer need printed publications altogether. Handheld technology has certainly improved the appetite for change with visible benefits for all and the increase in the use of online information makes the presentation of information to the membership a much better proposition with regular updates making the accuracy of details far timelier. Who knows? We may all be using a phone app for this type of information in the not-too-distant future.”