By Dave Best
News Corporation achieved a major milestone in its sustainable journey by becoming carbon neutral across its operations globally at the end of 2010. You heard that right- the parent company of Fox News has gone carbon neutral. According to the Hollywood Reporter, News Corp is the first major entertainment company to achieve net zero emissions globally.
Among its major media properties are the Wall Street Journal, Fox Broadcasting, 20th Century Fox as well as Fox News and the New York Post. “We have become carbon-neutral across all of our global operations, and we are the first company of our kind to do so,” Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation Chairman wrote. “We made a bold commitment in 2007 to embed the values of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability into all of our businesses — for the benefit of our communities and our bottom line.”
To fully zero out its global emissions, News Corp. purchased carbon offsets that were either certified under the Voluntary Carbon Standard or under the Gold Standard. According to their Global Energy Initiative, News Corp. only considers offsets from “projects that demonstrate a real reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which would not have occurred on a “business-as-usual” basis, and that have been verified by an independent, accredited third party.” An example of carbon offsets purchased was from the voluntary market from 3Degrees in the amount of 61,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (vintage 2006 and 2007) from a portfolio of wind energy projects in the state of Maharashtra, India.
Some examples of the sustainability initiatives News Corp. launched and integrated into its businesses include the largest single site commercial solar power system at 4.1 MW (Dow Jones at their New Jersey campus which is being built currently). News Corp also partnered with the Earth Day Network to plant one million indigenous trees in 15 countries around the world including Brazil for its award-winning film Avatar (20th Century Fox). They also built the largest and most energy efficient print plant in the world for the News International Division to print newspapers (Broxbourne, England, representing a 30% improvement in efficiency over old plant).
“When all of News Corp. becomes carbon neutral, it will have the same impact as turning off the electricity in the city of London for five full days,” Murdoch said back in 2007.
Along with announcing its carbon neutrality, News Corp. also established its long term sustainability vision as a four-point plan as follows:
1. Grow the business without growing the company’s carbon footprint
2. Power operations with clean electricity
3. Minimize solid waste to landfill from production operations
4. Engage readers, viewers and customers on sustainability issues through partnerships and content of the highest caliber
By 2015, News Corp. set goals to reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 15% and its emissions intensity also by 15%. Additionally it set goals to invest in clean energy equal to 20% of its electricity use. News Corp. also plans to actively engage 100 of its largest suppliers to improve their environmental impacts. News Corp. also plans to measure its waste footprint and develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce it.
News Corp. should be proud of its recent achievement of zero carbon impact for 2010. It would be great to also see the company follow through on the fourth point of its vision for 2015 and engage readers, viewers and customers on sustainability issues through content of the highest caliber. Hopefully this includes accurate climate reporting across its newspaper and television stations and to cease denying climate change which has been a common theme especially on its Fox News channel.