Secretly Group

The Secretly Affiliates
Sustainability Plan

Prepared by Jen Cregar for Terra Lumina

Dear Friends,

Over the last year, we’ve been working on our plan for the Secretly affiliates (Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Saddest Factory Records, Ghostly International, The Numero Group, 37d03d, Secretly Publishing and Secretly Distribution) to become more environmentally sustainable. While sustainability has always been a core value of ours, a coherent approach remained elusive. We’ve had some wins (a large solar array on our distribution hub) and some misguided efforts (we once started a micro label, St. Ives, just as a means to use excess LP jackets from other projects…it’s a long story).

Regardless, it has become obvious to us that the path is anything but clear. We know that vinyl is problematic. So is streaming. And touring. Do we need another debate about NFTs? It is easy to become paralyzed. But at the top of 2021, we made a concerted effort to take those first steps towards a more holistic approach. Along the way, we quickly learned two early lessons that we continue to hold in our mind: we should not let perfect be the enemy of good, and we should respect that it’s an iterative process.

Our goals are ambitious, and we’re also learning every day. We aspire to be a change leader, and to use our shop as our laboratory in an effort to be better than we were the day before. Our first of many steps is our Sustainability Plan. It is not complete, but we have to start somewhere, and hopefully our consistent improvement in this area will lead to lasting achievements in the long run. It is how we built our companies, one step at a time, and it is how we intend to move towards our future. We welcome all questions, concerns and, above all, dialogue as we continue our journey.


Ben Swanson

Dec 15, 2021

In celebration of the Secretly 25th anniversary in 2021 and in alignment with the Music Climate Pact and the UN’s Race to Zero Campaign, we made a pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2026 across all affiliates (Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Saddest Factory Records, Ghostly International, The Numero Group, 37d03d, Secretly Publishing and Secretly Distribution). We have measured our current and historical GHG emissions, implemented lower carbon improvements across our office sites, production and supply chains, and invested in projects to offset emissions. We have come to believe that focusing primarily on offset programs is not the solution to the climate crisis. We will maintain our carbon-neutral status for our office-based Scope 1 and 2 emissions while we continue to pursue and invest in direct emission reductions for our offices and Scope 3 supply chain emissions via coalition building and collective action across our industry and providing grants equivalent to $25/metric ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent (MTCO2e) to contribute to foundational change. We will continue to draw on our constantly evolving learnings to commit to reduce our emissions and meet the highest possible ambition by 2050, in line with the Music Climate Pact.

Secretly affiliates have measured and reviewed our GHG emissions annually since 2019.

Over the last year we updated our accounting system to measure the GHG emissions created from our supply chain and business travel to build a comprehensive overview of our global carbon footprint. We also became a founding investor in the IMPALA Carbon Calculator, which launched for public use in April last year.

In 2022, the Secretly Group and Secretly Distribution affiliates created 4,096 MTCO2e across scopes 1, 2 and 3 of our business. As shown below, our GHG emissions have increased. This increase in emissions is primarily attributable to increased sales and therefore production and distribution. However, we are working hard to reduce the carbon intensity of our supply chain and office operations to rapidly lower our emissions going forward.

Secretly Affiliates' 2019-2022 by Scope

Work is ongoing to reduce our Scopes 1 & 2 emissions across all our global sites, with projects investing in 100% renewable energy across all our buildings and replacing gas use with electric options where possible. A project to install rooftop solar panels at our Bloomington office and warehouses cut our main office’s grid electricity (scope 1) by 25%, and we are now looking to expand this across more office sites in the US.

For our Scope 3 emissions, an increase in the total releases and sales across all Secretly Group affiliates resulted in a rise in our shipping & manufacturing emissions of 138% and 76% respectively, as compared to our 2019 baseline. This is directly related to a renewed capacity at global manufacturing plants allowing for catalogue reissues and quicker pressings accommodating for new releases, with our overall LP pressing up 140% year on year. Working with IRP - who is Climate Neutral as of 2022 - reduced what would've been our manufacturing emissions by 29% (970 MTCO2e).

We are also experimenting with carbon negative releases and investing in eco- & bio-vinyl compound mixes to reduce the plastic consumption in our manufacturing chain. In a recent project to explore carbon offsetting solutions, Jagjaguwar, in partnership with Terra Lumina Consulting and Native, we invested in offsets at Medford Spring Grasslands for Angel Olsen’s 2022 album, “Big Time”. All CD and LP copies purchased directly from either the Secretly Store or individual label stores included an additional charge to offset the calculated “cradle-to-grave” carbon emissions: from the mining of materials, to pressing and shipping, to the electricity consumed by your stereo at home, to end of life disposal. Although the campaign was successful, we faced challenges with identifying the best project and location in which to invest these offsets, and ultimately drew the conclusion that our investment is better focused on insets that decarbonise our supply chain rather than unrelated carbon offset projects.

After updating our accounting system we began to track our global business travel and accommodation (scope 3) for 2022. Overall this contributed to 67 MTCO2e, and discussions are ongoing for how to offset and minimise the total impact for these emissions through a new sustainable travel policy.

Moving forward, we commit to further reducing our carbon emissions and footprint by:

  1. Investing in our offices and local operations via facility upgrades (HVAC, water heaters, windows, etc) to drive down our Scope 1 emissions while acquiring high quality offsets to balance out our Scope 1 emissions
  2. Investing in renewable energy at our offices by installing more onsite solar, and acquiring RECs to balance Scope 2 emissions from remaining electricity use that cannot be generated from a renewable source
  3. Taking collective action via joining forces with like-minded cultural institutions and lobbying as a collective to make fundamental change in the industry
  4. Implementing an insetting grant fund at $25/MTCO2e of our Scope 3 emissions to invest in our supply chain partners with an aim to lower their GHG emissions, which in turn lowers our own - and hopefully others’ - footprint
  5. Recycling unsold formats, packaging, and damaged unsaleable products
  6. Working with our shipping and courier partners to optimise transport routes and modes

2021 Sustainability Plan