News Corp. in Carbon Neutral Home Stretch: Newspapers, Computers Biggest Challenge to Tamping Down Greenhouse Gases

By Fitzgerald, Mark | Editor & Publisher, March 2010 | Go to article overview

News Corp. in Carbon Neutral Home Stretch: Newspapers, Computers Biggest Challenge to Tamping Down Greenhouse Gases


Fitzgerald, Mark, Editor & Publisher


NEWS CORPORATION HAS NINE months to fulfill Chairman Rupert Murdoch's dramatic vow in 2007 to make the sprawling global media giant--home to assets as varied as Avatar and the New York Post, American Idol and The Wall Street Journal--carbon neutral by the end of 2010.

From the start of News Corp.'s initiative, newspapers loomed as the biggest obstacle to becoming carbon neutral.

"Newspapers do make up the vast majority of our footprint, and that's primarily from printing presses," says Liba Rubenstein, director of News Corp.'s Global Energy Initiative. "When people think about newspapers and the environment they think about paper and waste, which is absolutely valid and something we work on."

But recycling, using soy ink and other common tactics don't have a direct impact on going carbon neutral, which is about eliminating greenhouse gases, usually by some combination of reducing emissions and buying carbon credits or offsets.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The encouraging news is that News Corp. newspapers in Britain have already achieved carbon neutrality.

Newspapers in the company's News International U.K. unit are powered by 100% "green tariff" energy, that is, energy in the grid that comes from renewable sources such as hydropower. "We contract for energy from that portion of the grid, and pay a premium," Rubenstein says.

News International papers also left their central London production location to build the world's largest printing plant in state-of-the-art Broxbourne. The new plant is 30% more efficient than its old Wapping location because of computer-to-plate technology, "smart" lighting, cooling and ventilation, and what Rubenstein says is a new workplace culture that emphasizes energy conservation. …

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