Image: News Corporation
News Corporation, parent company of Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and most recently of The Daily for the iPad, was the first global media company to commit to and then achieve the goal of becoming carbon neutral.
Today, it announced a whole new set of targets—some to achieve in the next five years, and other goals to strive for in the long term. While Fox got a lot of attention for becoming carbon neutral, James Murdoch, son of News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch and now the head of the company's media operations in Europe and Asia, recognized there's still a lot of work left to do.
"We're not trying to claim that carbon neutral is in any way an end of the road, but it is a milestone we wanted to mark on the journey," he said. With that in mind, here are the goals the company has laid out.
- Reduce absolute GHG emissions by 15%
- Reduce emissions intensity by at least 15%
- Invest in clean energy equal to 20% of the company's electricity use
- Actively engage 100 of News Corp's largest suppliers in improving their environmental impacts
- Measure waste footprint and develop comprehensive strategy to reduce it
And for the long term, for all News Corp businesses:
- Power its operations with clean electricity
- Expand business but not its carbon footprint
- Minimize solid waste to landfill from its production operations
- Continue to engage readers, viewers and customers on sustainability issues through partnerships and content
Image: News Corporation
While Fox has been working towards certain sustainability goals for a few years now, waste reduction is new territory for the company, so that's something to applaud.
And so far, every dollar the company has invested in energy efficiency has been paid back in less than two years. They're saving a lot of money by eliminating those emissions—and it costs them a lot to produce those emissions, so it just makes sense.
Asked about the company's reliance on offsets to get to carbon neutral, Murdoch said they've had to use them to achieve the goal, but pointed to the emphasis on clean energy in the new goals.
He said News Corp has seen nine percent reduction in emissions from the peak year (2008). "What we want to do is really decouple our growth from our energy consumption and our emissions," he said.
And the company plans to publicly disclose those emissions along the way.
But perhaps the biggest question people will be wondering:
Essentially, the response is that the news side of the business is completely separate from its operations. The director of News Corp's Global Energy Initiative Liba Rubenstein said, "This has never been an editorial mandate, and there is a very strong division between our internal operations and our editorial and creative outlets."
"It's never been about trying to speak with one voice across our company," she added, emphasizing that while Fox is the most well-known News Corp entity in the U.S., it is just one of the company's many businesses across the globe.
Murdoch added that the point of the initiative has never been to get into a discussion around the politics of climate change—it's just been about creating and running an efficient company.
He pointed to the Dow Jones' large-scale solar power system installed in New Jersey last year as an example of projects moving the sustainability goals forward on the ground, as well fuel cells that are now being installed in studios in New York City.
"I think the corporate sector and media companies in general could have their houses in much better order—and we can too, and we continue to strive to improve," said Murdoch.
"In the financial crisis and recession and what not, it's often very convenient to stop doing things, to say that's not important anymore," he said. "And I think it's a time when the private sector has to do even more."