On Wednesday January 29th, 2020, The Guardian announced they would no longer accept advertising or funding from oil and gas companies. Effective immediately this environmentally conscious decision made a strong statement for the company, making it the first major global news organization to institute an outright ban on taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels.
Conservationist groups have repeatedly encouraged companies to avoid accepting support from fossil fuel companies and other corporations that relentlessly pollute the planet. Arguing that many corporations mislead the public by investing in expensive advertising campaigns that highlight the company’s “green” efforts, when in reality they’re a fraction of the truth. In an effort to avoid falling under the “green washed” category The Guardian banned these advertisements.
The global news organization has also emphasized its commitment to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030. Furthermore, to enforce the importance of greener policies and environmental outlooks the editor in chief, Katharine Viner, announced the Guardian would adjust how they address the true scale of the environmental challenges the Earth faces. By employing terms like “climate emergency” and “global heating” the news company has raised magnitude to the issue, inspiring others to follow suit.
Unfortunately, rejecting advertising money from fossil fuel firms also poses potential obstacles for the Guardian, as they are already a “free to view” website (readers do not need to pay for a subscription). According to the company’s admin advertising makes up 40% of revenue, refusing financial support can pose a threat to the foundation of the journalism.
The Guardian also recognizes that advertising from other companies promote cars, holidays, or other products that have environmental consequences. However, since the company does not charge readers for a subscription if they were to additionally turn away these forms of advertising the company would take a massive hit they are not prepared for yet.
Nevertheless, their move to ban money from fossil fuel extracting companies they hope will inspire others to follow. Leading by example and joining the path towards sustainability the company hopes others will be more willing to collaborate and join the environmentalist effort together.
The campaign group Greenpeace welcomed the move. “This is a watershed moment, and the Guardian must be applauded for this bold move to end the legitimacy of fossil fuels,” said Mel Evans, senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK.
“Oil and gas firms now find themselves alongside tobacco companies as businesses that threaten the health and wellbeing of everyone on this planet.
“Other media outlets, arts and sports organizations must now follow suit and end fossil fuel company advertising and sponsorship.”