Media group takes hit

Guardian takes green stand with ban on fossil fuel adverts

The Guardian

Green guardian: the news group is taking a stand

The Guardian media group will no longer accept advertising from oil and gas companies in a stand against fossil fuels.

Its decision, which is effective immediately, is the first by a major global news organisation and the company has admitted that it will take a hit to its revenue.

The ban will apply to any business primarily involved in extracting fossil fuels, including many of the world’s largest polluters.

It will no longer accept advertising from fossil fuel extractive companies on any of the Guardian’s websites and apps, nor in the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Weekly in print.

In a joint statement, acting chief executive, Anna Bateson, and chief revenue officer, Hamish Nicklin, said: “Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world.”

It is thought the group has responded to claims that energy companies use expensive advertising campaigns to “greenwash” their activities.

Five years ago GMG shifted the investment portfolio of the Scott Trust Endowment fund — which supports the Guardian — away from fossil fuel investments, which now represent less than one per cent of its total funds.

It’s true that rejecting some adverts might make our lives a tiny bit tougher in the very short term

– Guardian statement

Advertising makes up 40% of Guardian Media Group revenue and Bateson and Nicklin said the ban would affect group income.

“The funding model for the Guardian – like most high-quality media companies – is going to remain precarious over the next few years,” they said. “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.”

They acknowledged that some readers would like the company to turn down advertising for any product with a significant carbon footprint, such as cars or holidays, but said this was not financially sustainable.

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