The Guardian bans advertisements from fossil fuel firms
In a historic move meant to reduce carbon footprint and accelerate reportage of global climate crisis, global media house The Guardian has announced that it will no longer accept advertisements across its traditional and digital platforms from firms involved in fossil fuel among them oil and gas companies and world’s leading polluters.
The organization becomes the first major global news outlet to take such a bold step despite thinning revenue streams occasioned by a dip in sale of print newspapers and a proliferation of digital news platforms that has hitherto split the prospective revenue for new and traditional media. Advertising accounts for 40 per cent of all Guardian’s revenue.
The organization says the ban will take immediate effect as it seeks to amplify its call for global action on the climate emergency.
“Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world,” the company’s acting chief executive, Anna Bateson, and the chief revenue officer, Hamish Nicklin, said in a joint statement.
The news organization further argues that lobbying by global energy behemoths had contributed in harming the environment as they invested heavily in advertisements to portray their commitment to clean energy despite paying lip service to the cause. Guardian made a clarion call to other news outlets to follow its footsteps.
“We’ve continued to take steps wherever we can. Although we are small compared to the world’s largest companies, in October 2019, we pledged to reduce the Guardian’s emissions to net zero by 2030 - and many other businesses (such as Microsoft) are making similarly ambitious commitments. We have also been certified as a B Corporation, and later this year we will publish our plans to reduce our carbon footprint towards our net zero goal,” the statement further read.
The organization said the ban would affect its bottom line but insisted that it needed to create an organization driven by sustainability and responding to global emergencies while being bold in and vocal in championing for what is right. “The funding model for the Guardian – like most high-quality media companies – is going to remain precarious over the next few years. It’s true that rejecting some adverts might make our lives a tiny bit tougher in the very short term. Nonetheless, we believe building a more purposeful organisation and remaining financially sustainable have to go hand in hand,” added the statement.
Swedish newspaper Dagens ETC in September last year also banned all advertisements coming from fossil fuel companies saying that the move was pivotal for its credibility.