FIPP Global Media Sustainability Tracker – December 2022

Welcome to the latest edition of the FIPP Global Media Sustainability Tracker! From reducing carbon emissions and improving employee well-being, to protecting press freedom and accurately reporting on climate change, today’s media has a key role to play in the prosperity of tomorrow’s people, places, and planet(s).

FIPP invites media owners around the world to share their latest updates with us. As a network, we are greater than the sum of our individual parts and can be an impactful force in helping to influence change on a global level. Got a story to share? Simply get in contact with us today.


December saw environmental reporters head to Montreal, host of the Cop 15 biodiversity summit, while Hearst used a popular podcast to talk about its sustainability efforts and broadcasters in America announced a new green award.

Here are the latest updates.

International news

Dec 7th – Environmental journalists moved en masse to Montreal to cover the Cop 15 biodiversity summit, bringing together governments from around the world to set new goals to halt and reverse nature loss.

Aljazeera summed up why the UN summit was so important, quoting Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-US: “Climate change is not the only horseman of the environmental apocalypse. Nature loss looms just as large. And the two are intertwined. You can’t solve one without addressing the other.”

Fortune, meanwhile has dubbed the summit ‘The Cop No One Wants You to Know About’.

“Global biodiversity levels have fallen to 75% compared to preindustrial levels–well below the 90% limit needed to maintain important ecological processes that are crucial to human survival, such as pollination,” Jason Knights writes.

“You may not have been aware that this important conference was happening. That’s not very surprising when getting the bigger topic of climate change on the political agenda is so difficult.”

UK

Dec 16th – As the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the latest edition of its quarterly public attitudes trackers, Edie reported that almost half (47%) of adults in Britain are overwhelmed by climate-related information, which they often find to be conflicting.

The surveys were sent to more than 20,000 adults – a representative sample of socioeconomic demographics. More than 4,100 people responded, providing an interesting snapshot of public sentiment on climate and energy issues.

BEIS found 45% of people say they are “very concerned” about climate change, with a further 38% being fairly concerned”. Only 3% of people are “not at all concerned”.

Dec 12th – Insider Media Limited ran an interview with Sarah Bateman, CEO of Unify Energy, to discuss the longevity of sustainability across businesses.

“For years, slower adoption of renewable technologies has been fuelled by the Green Premium associated with cleaner tech, however, the recent Energy crisis has taught us that the cost of doing nothing can often be much greater than the original premium,” she says. 

“If we had more access to renewable Energy supply, this year’s increase in the cost of Energy, which is largely fossil fuel-based, would not have been as impactful for consumers and businesses across the UK and Europe. Hindsight is 20/20!

“We know that the future environmental cost of doing nothing will be devastating on so many levels.  So as senior execs and boards make difficult decisions about how to fund essential progress in more sustainable procurement and operations it feels like we need to find innovative solutions to achieve a balance between profit and purpose.”

France

Dec 4th – Euronews continued its top green coverage by looking at how a renewable energy transition would save everyone money. It quotes Oxford University researchers who say that ending fossil fuel use by 2050 will save the world at least $12 trillion (€11.3 trillion).

“The study disproves the fallacy that going green is economically difficult, says Professor Doyne Farmer, who led the study.

“There is a pervasive misconception that switching to clean, green energy will be painful, costly, and mean sacrifices for us all – but that’s just wrong,” he said.

Euronews has also listed the most positive environmental stories of 2022, including how your electronics could soon be powered by an ultra-cheap sea salt battery and how the French Post Office is using pedal power to try and reduce its carbon emissions.

US

Dec 15th – NAB Show – the annual trade show produced by the National Association of Broadcasters in America – has announced it is launching a new awards programme to recognise individuals, companies and products for outstanding innovations in media technology that promote conservation and reusability of natural resources and foster economic and social development.

The NAB Show Excellence in Sustainability Awards will be presented during a special ceremony on the Main Stage at NAB Show on April 16, 2023, in Las Vegas.

“Sustainability efforts not only benefit the planet and society but also make good business sense,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president of Global Connections and Events at the National Association of Broadcasters. “In addition to providing global recognition for sustainability leaders within our industry, NAB Show is committed to working with our vendors and partners on progressive approaches that inspire the NAB Show community to take collective action in this area.”

Dec 15th – As the Football World Cup reached its climax, Scientific American stressed the importance of prioritising sustainability at global sports events.

“Events like the World Cup can emit millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” writes Seth Wynes.

“As this month-long international soccer tournament comes to an end, it will be responsible for releasing more climate pollution into the atmosphere than the entire population of Iceland produces in a year.

“Just over half of those emissions are expected to come from air travel, largely from international attendees. Fans have crossed oceans to arrive at the tournament, sometimes flying back and forth to their hotel between games, and then they will return home again. Other emissions (about one sixth) are coming from the construction of permanent infrastructures, such as stadiums, some of which may well sit unused after the tournament is over. Since every metric ton of carbon adds heat to our planet, it’s hard to justify such frivolous emissions.”

Dec 9th –  Forbes explores the power of Gen-Z with a new article entitled Greenfluencers: How Social Media Creators are Becoming Sustainability Superheroes.

Contributor Solitaire Townsend was invited by YouTube to work with some of their most popular creators to find their unique climate voice and how to work with sustainability brands. The 50, mainly young, creators have a combined reach of a billion.

“In this article, I’ll mainly call them influencers, because that’s still the common term,” writes Townsend. “But they prefer to be called ‘creators’ because that’s what they are. They create influence. The most popular can generate millions of dollars worth of value for the brands they work with. How? By inspiring people to make a specific choice: to buy a certain product.”

Dec 7th – David Carey, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications at Hearst was the guest on a recent episode of the Impact podcast and gave an update on the company’s efforts to positively impact the environment across its diverse businesses.

As a member of Hearst’s ESG leadership team, Carey recently spearheaded the development of the company’s 2022 Sustainability Overview. 

“It was an honour to have David on our show to tell his amazing story and share the impactful work he and his team at the legendary and iconic publishing brand Hearst are accomplishing, which is sure to inspire our audience,” said host John Shegerian.

“Hearst’s sustainability and ESG efforts are something all businesses can learn something from. They are truly going the extra mile. It’s exciting to hear David’s unique career story and how he is able to bring his experience to lead these critical innovations at Hearst.”

Tanzania

Dec 13th – The Guardian has revealed how Tanzania’s booming charcoal trade is driving unchecked deforestation.

“Large swathes of Ruhoi forest reserve in eastern Tanzania now lay bare, the ground in some sections dry and scorched, covered with stumps and brittle and fallen trees,” writes Caroline Kimeu. “The forest is being cut down at an alarming rate to meet the growing demand for charcoal in the nearby city of Dar es Salaam.

“As a result of high gas prices, about 90% of Tanzanian households now use charcoal or firewood to cook, which is fuelling rapid deforestation across the country.

“Between 2015 and 2020, the country lost almost 470,000 hectares (1.16m acres) of forest a year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The situation mirrors what is happening across much of Africa, where wood collection and charcoal production account for nearly half of the continent’s forest degradation.”

Ecuador

Dec 7th – Raquel Zapien Osuna, Director of ‘Son Playas’, a digital platform specialising in local environmental journalism, was one of the speakers at the recent First Forum on Human Rights Defenders in Latin America and the Caribbean in Quito, Ecuador, on the vital role of environmental journalists.

The Forum was held in the context of the Escazú Agreement, which requires governments to enable the work of environmental defenders and to prevent and investigate attacks against them.

“I believe that journalism can help ensure that the Escazú Agreement assists environmental defenders,” said Osuna. “Why journalism?  Because journalists help people exercise their right to information and that information can encourage citizen participation and collective action. Without collective action, change is not possible. Many issues and many problems are made invisible, but journalism helps make them visible.”

Sweden

Dec 15th – Swedish streaming service Viaplay has been included in the S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the second consecutive year.

The company has qualified for both DJSI World and DJSI Europe, maintaining its position in the top 10% of media and entertainment companies in terms of sustainability performance. 

The DJSI measures companies’ performance in human rights, climate and environment, gender balance, corporate governance, supply chain management, data protection and other key sustainability areas.

Nov 16th – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has brought out a new report exploring the status of press freedom and environmental journalism in the northernmost areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.

In the report titled Blank Spots in the Barents Region, RSF Sweden examines the challenges faced by environmental journalists in this region. This investigation is based on interviews with 12 journalists covering environmental and climate issues – three from each country in the Barents region.

“The threats towards climate and environmental journalists in the Barents region are real,” says Erik Halkjaer, President of RSF Sweden. “Large business conglomerates, industries and policy makers in neither Norway, Sweden, Finland or Russia clearly won’t stop at anything to make it harder for journalists to investigate the effects of the so-called green transition and extraction of minerals and natural resources.”

India

Dec 15th – The Hindu is tackling the scourge of air pollution in India. The daily newspaper reports on a World Bank Report stating air pollution in the country needs efforts across South Asia.

Using a modelling approach over South Asia as a whole, the report lays out multiple scenarios and the costs involved in reducing the average South Asian’s exposure to particulate matter.

“If Delhi National Capital Territory were to fully implement all air pollution control measures by 2030 while other parts of South Asia continued to follow current policies, it wouldn’t keep pollution exposure below 35 µg/m3,” writers Jacob Koshy and Suhasini Haidar point out.

“However, if other parts of South Asia also adopted all feasible measures it would bring pollution below that number. This is also the case with many other cities in South Asia, especially those in the IGP. Accounting for the interdependence in air quality within airsheds in South Asia is necessary when weighing alternative pathways for pollution control.”

Slovenia

Dec 14th – The Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Journalism Award took place via Zoom this month. Slovenia’s School of Advanced Social Studies (FUDŠ) launched the awards to identify the best journalistic pieces on sustainable energy in the Western Balkans region.

According to FUDŠ The Western Balkans – Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo – are still experiencing major health and environmental problems due to the widespread use of fossil fuels. This is largely due to the lack of awareness on this topic in the region.

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