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 and to do steps against climate change.
They announced a whole new set of targets —some to achieve in the next five years, and goals to strive for in the long term to become carbon neutral.
While Fox got a lot of attention for becoming carbon neutral and for stopping the climate change, James Murdoch, son of News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch and the head of the company’s media operations in Europe and Asia, recognized there’s still a lot of work left to do to become carbon neutral. “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.
While Fox has been working towards certain sustainability goals for a few years now, waste reduction seems to be the company’s new territory. 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, so it just makes sense to be carbon neutral.
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 and the way to carbon neutral in the new goals. The News Corp has seen 9% reduction in emissions from the 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 and to get carbon neutral status.
Some wonder how Fox News can go on denying climate change, in some cases ordering reporters to highlight skepticism in any coverage that even mentions climate change. 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 which are involved in climate change struggle.
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. The solar powered 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 are good examples of getting carbon neutral recognition.
“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” Murdoch said.