News Corp and Disparity in CSR Communication

News Corp Sets Ambitious Green Targets

CSR often takes strange and sometimes unpredictable turns as demonstrated by the recent release by News Corp. The parent company of Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and most recently of The Daily for the iPad, was the first global media company to achieve the goal of becoming carbon neutral. In spite of this James Murdoch, son of News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch and now the head of the company's media operations in Europe and Asia, recognizes 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. By 2015 it aims to:

  • 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

Going Green with Jack Bauer

In 2009 Fox hit TV show 24 went carbon neutral and it was the first television show to achieve this. The production offices used SFLs and installed motion monitors in the bathrooms and kitchens. Scripts, schedules and memos were digitally distributed.

With the help of Clear Carbon Consulting, they evaluated the show's entire greenhouse gas emissions, including onsite generators, special effects, shipping equipment and air travel. Then they cut 940 metric tons of carbon dioxide by buying renewable energy from California utilities and made changes in transportation.

Finally, the remaining emissions were offset through investments in carbon credits, verified and certified by an independent third party to meet the standards of the World Resource Institute's Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

...Yet Fox News Denies Climate Change

On the flip side, one can wonder how Fox News can go on denying climate change, in some cases even ordering reporters to highlight skepticism in any coverage that even mentions climate change.

Rupert Murdoch has said that the point of this disparity has never been to get into a discussion around the politics of climate change but it's just been about creating and running an efficient company. In the face of inadequate information and informed debate about climate change, it is mind-boggling to think how just one person could change the landscape of how this topic is viewed.

As the owner as one of the most influential news agencies, Murdoch could influence political decisions by creating a paradigm shift in how conservative parties view the topic. At this point, responsibly covering global warming is the biggest CSR move that News Corp can make.

Does anyone else notice that Fox News is not talking the walk?

Photo Credit: All American Patriots