Welcome, everyone and good afternoon! Thank you all so much for joining us today.
It is really tremendous to see such an enthusiastic group come together here in London.
I would also like to welcome all our colleagues from News International who are graciously hosting us today, as well as those from sister News Corporation companies. And hello and welcome to all who are joining us via OurNews around the globe.
I especially want to thank our partners from outside the company who have come to take part and show support.
And I’m honored to welcome the Rt. Hon. Chris Huhne, UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund. They will both be joining me here on stage in just a few minutes.
Call to Action
Almost four years ago, our Chairman, my father, asked us to ‘imagine the future’ for News Corp. A future that would embrace the new, digital age of discovery and harness its full potential to excel in the business of ideas and contribute to tackling global challenges head-on.
During what was incidentally the very first global webcast in our company’s history, he also charged us with a very specific task: to become carbon neutral across all of our global operations by the end of 2010.
It’s easy to forget that, at the time, we really had no idea how to do that! But he challenged us anyway.
He challenged us to establish a path for News that would help us become the most efficient, most competitive global media company.
He challenged us to continue our long tradition of leadership by transforming the way we use energy and other natural resources.
The goal was not superficial change, but to embed the principles of efficiency and sustainability in the core of our business.
I am very proud to stand in front of you today and be able to officially declare that News Corporation has risen to the challenge — and fulfilled its pledge to become carbon neutral.
I am also proud to say that we are the first global media company to achieve this goal of net zero carbon emissions.
For the past four years, getting to “zero” served as our rallying cry, uniting a wide variety of efforts.
Since launching the initiative in 2007, we have improved the efficiency of our operations, made unprecedented investments in renewable energy technologies, produced hugely successful film, television and print content around environmental issues, and set new standards on environmental disclosure and action within our industry.
It is no coincidence that we’re hosting this event in the former print rooms at Wapping. This is the site of one of the most important revolutions in the company’s history. It was here, in 1986, that we implemented innovations in technology and work practices that led to incredible increases in efficiency and benefitted the entire industry.
Today, after 25 years, those presses no longer occupy this room because we have invested nearly a billion dollars to build some of the world’s most efficient new printing capabilities just outside of London. The Broxbourne plant is also one of the most energy efficient.
And while this was a huge investment in commercial and environmental best practice, it was also an investment in the future of our business. It is by aligning business and environmental priorities that we have become more successful in both.
Great for the Bottom Line
Back in 2006, who would have imagined that an epic battle for a planet called Pandora would inspire passion for taking on the real challenges that face our Earth – and that it would make for the most successful film of all time?
No one but Jim Cameron, of course.
In the early days after Avatar opened, Jim would sneak up to the front of movie theaters and look out at the audience to gauge their reaction. Without fail, the scene of the home tree falling brought tears to nearly everyone’s eyes, regardless of age or gender.
At News, we know that great storytelling connects with audiences profoundly. This is especially true when it explores those few themes that transcend our differences and reflect universal values, like the human connection to nature.
And when stories connect with audiences, that’s good for business. From the National Geographic Channel’s Great Migrations to the billion-dollar Ice Age franchise, to Eureka–The Times’ science and environment magazine–we’ve proven that the environment doesn’t have to be a dry, worthy subject. Indeed, environmental themes are at the core of many of our most profitable, and successful productions.
The bottom line for all of us is that our business is business. So let’s talk in a bit more detail about how these investments are playing out…
First of all, our investments in energy efficiency projects are paying back, on average, in less than two years.
And, while we’re used to thinking about the cost of emitting carbon, we’ve discovered that for every ton of carbon emissions we avoid, we save, on average, $180.
That’s $180 multiplied by thousands and thousands of tons, real money that can go back into producing award-winning films or making the greatest journalism in the world.
Today, we are in the midst of constructing one of the largest solar power systems of its kind at our Dow Jones campus in New Jersey. This system will provide up to 50% of the power needs for our operations there. And it will help protect the company from rising energy costs. But the most stunning fact is that this landmark project will pay back our investment in just two and a half years.
In a great example of the power of collaboration, our IT leaders from around the world have come together to consolidate our global data centers into 10 efficient hubs. When completed, this project will save about $20 million dollars each year and slash 15% of our data center emissions. Instead of wasting money on inefficient, outdated, energy-intensive systems, we can reinvest those funds back into our core business: our content for our customers.
News Limited alone has already reduced its carbon footprint by almost 10% through projects as diverse and simple as chiller upgrades and heat-reflective roof coating – and they’ve recently identified 120 new projects which will save the company an additional $1.5 million per year.
Our achievement is a testament to the power of small victories. There are really too many examples to mention. So, I’ll just say that I am very proud of the breadth and depth of success we have seen from this initiative.
Really, the results speak for themselves. Our company continues to grow – yet, for the first time, our absolute carbon footprint is shrinking.
Imagine a future in which every company is on this same path.
Success Through Collaboration
Let’s be honest, it wasn’t easy getting to this point, particularly in a company as large and diverse as ours. But in classic News fashion, once a challenge was put forth, you responded.
We worked together and leveraged the strengths of our disparate businesses, in some ways for the first time in the history of our company. In the end, we were able to show that the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Colleagues from around the world, working at different News Corporation companies, who may never have had an opportunity to connect before, are now coming together every day.
You are sharing your successes and failures, and lending your skills and talents. This collaboration enables us all to succeed in building a stronger, healthier, more durable business for the future.
Of course, even with the great pool of talent right here in our organization, we have always relied on the partnership of experts in this field to guide us and challenge us to do more.
I want to thank three organizations in particular: the Environmental Defense Fund, The Climate Group, and the World Resources Institute. They have all played an integral role in our successes to date. They understand the unique power of private enterprise to address the most critical challenges that face our society.
We are pleased to have a collaborative relationship with governments worldwide also. Fox is partnering with the US Department of Energy to make our studios more energy efficient. News Limited has long worked with the Australian government to help craft smart environmental regulations. And recently, we helped launch the UK-India Business Leaders Climate Group at events in London and New Delhi.
Together with our colleagues and partners, we took the challenge presented to us and found a way to respond. We saved the company money, created new streams of revenue, attracted new talent, and propelled our company towards turning our imagined future into reality.
Where We’ve Been – and What’s Next
We started this journey with a set of aggressive goals – even if we weren’t entirely sure how we would meet them. We’ve learned a lot since then. We’ve learned that the challenges are even greater than we foresaw, but the opportunities are riper than we had hoped.
I’d like to take a moment to show you a video documenting some of our work over the past few years.
So you’ve now seen a bit more of the scale and breadth of what we’ve been up to and where we want to go.
Now, for the first time, I’d like to share with you the four concrete goals to which we can hold ourselves accountable for the next phase.
First, we will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute 15% and reduce our emissions intensity per dollar of revenue by at least 15%.
Second, we will invest in clean energy equal to 20% of our total electricity use.
Third, we will expand our global environmental accounting to include waste by measuring our waste footprint and developing a strategy to reduce it.
And finally, we will actively engage 100 of our largest suppliers in improving their own environmental impacts.
Today we are the world’s first carbon neutral global media company.
We’ve made a big step in getting our own house in order.
We’ve set new, ambitious targets to guide us in the next step on our journey.
Now, let’s continue the great News Corp. tradition of challenging the status quo:
Just as we launched a fourth TV network in the US in the ’80s which no one thought would succeed, and just as we are leading the charge to ensure a fair price for online journalism today, it has been no different for us to look within the bounds of our own operations and question our own status quo. We’ve asked ourselves:
Could we stop using hundreds of thousands of water bottles on every movie set?
Could we use inks in our newspapers that make them easier to recycle?
Could we make set-top boxes that know when to power down?
Could we help make an iconic event like the Super Bowl carbon neutral?
In all of these cases the answer was ‘yes,’ and our products and content are all the better for having asked such questions.
I’m reminded of remarks made by Joel Klein at a gathering of News Corp. executives five years ago when he was Chancellor of the New York City public schools. When asked how he approached the daunting task of changing a complex institution like the New York City school system, he said his aim was to create a positive culture.
To create a culture of accountability, not one of excuse. A culture of performance, not one of compliance.
That’s how we all aspire to be at News Corporation.
Yes this initiative is about improving the world we live in and leaving a better one for our families.
And, yes, it’s about bolstering the bottom line.
But really it’s about being a place that believes that things can be better and a place that gives our people the freedom and the tools to take action themselves. A place where, together, we can do the best work of our lives.
Thank you very much for contributing to this important milestone for the company, and for supporting the next leg of this initiative.