In a move that has surprised many people, Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, has announced that he is becoming a green campaigner. He is making the whole of his worldwide operations carbon neutral and setting out to "educate and engage" his readers and viewers about global warming. The announcement was made on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" (see video clip above). Murdoch, a former skeptic who confesses to having been "somewhat wary of the warming debate", he laid on his first global webcast for all his employees on Wednesday to tell them that he was "changing the DNA of our business". News Corporation has a carbon footprint of at 641,150 tons a year and will now aim to be carbon neutral by 2010. Murdoch cited as his motivation evidence of dangerous climate changes, employee input and the positive experience at News Corp.-controlled U.K. satellite TV provider BSkyB, which already is carbon neutral.
"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," the CEO said.
By reducing energy usage, using such renewable energy sources as wind and solar power and putting in place other measures, News Corp. plans to nearly eliminate its emissions from a 2006 footprint of 641,150 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents across its operations in 52 countries. But it also wants to engage its 47,000 employees and its global audiences.
"We must avoid preaching," Murdoch emphasized, saying his company will instead try to make the issue "exciting (and) tell the story in a new way."
He moved on to highlight that News Corp.'s worldwide audiences have a carbon footprint that is about 10,000 times bigger than the company's. If that was reduced by just 1%, "that would be like turning the state of California off for almost two months," Murdoch said.
To raise awareness, News Corp.'s TV stations are planning a campaign to give viewers ideas about what they can do to fight climate change; Fox plans to use Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in the summer to educate viewers; and the National Geographic Channel is launching Preserve Our Planet, an initiative to offer programming related to the issue, he said.
Among other company initiatives, the Fox lot in Los Angeles has started experimenting with solar-powered golf carts and found that by changing the bulbs in exit signs, the firm can cut emissions by 200 tons of carbon -- equivalent to 200 flights from New York to Los Angeles, he said.
The new Fox studios building, on which the company has broken ground, will be News Corp.'s first U.S. building certified as achieving excellence in environmental design, Murdoch added.
Also, the Fox hit "24" is committing to using biodiesel generators and employing renewable energy sources, according to the CEO. Plus, the Fox network is providing financial incentives to employees who buy hybrid cars and will allow advertisers to partner with it on efforts to engage audiences on climate change, Murdoch added.
:: Via The Independent