GMG last year launched an integrated sustainability vision and strategy to address issues ranging from climate change to ethical procurement.
The “Power of 10” vision is based on the belief that the Group can have a multiplier effect by educating and influencing its millions of readers, web users and listeners as well as working with its thousands of staff, suppliers and advertisers to build a more sustainable future.
GNM is already considered a leader in sustainability in the media sector while the other wholly owned businesses and joint ventures within the GMG portfolio also display areas of excellence.
GMG committed to investigate ten areas of change, ranging from environmental management and ethical procurement to employee and community engagement.
The programme was developed in partnership with Forum for the Future, the sustainable development organisation.
The Power of 10 vision states: “We commit to play our part as a leading media organisation in creating a fair society that lives within the means of our planet. Driven by our unique ownership structure and values, we will enable our audiences, customers, employees, advertisers and suppliers to build a more sustainable future.
“Sustainability has many interlinked strands but the dangers of climate change are so great and immediate that we will pay particular attention to highlighting its hazards and exploring ways of combating it.”
Given the diverse nature of the Group, the vision makes clear that “while all our businesses share this common goal, we recognise that each has its own specific contribution to make.”
This means that while there are some common targets, each of the businesses has been asked to take responsibility for deciding which of the ten action areas most suit their business and then for developing their own implementation plans.
GMG is playing a supporting and co-ordinating role. Each business has been tasked with providing the Group Board with a quarterly sustainability dashboard, showing progress against the five key performance indicators most relevant to their Power of 10 goals.
Beyond this, GMG chair Amelia Fawcett has taken on the role of Board sustainability champion to ensure that progress is made across the portfolio.
Sustainability governance has been strengthened in each of the wholly owned businesses and joint ventures to ensure that directors are embedding issues such as responsible procurement and carbon management into their operations and products.
At TMG, for instance, a CSR steering committee has been created and is chaired by the chief executive officer. Its remit includes environmental, health and safety and community issues.
GMG recognises that as a media company its biggest impact comes from its ability to inspire audiences and customers to live in a way that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
For example, the Guardian has developed one of the world’s most in-depth and popular environment websites. It also helped launch the successful 10:10 campaign, which has led to thousands of businesses, councils and individuals pledging to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% within 12 months.
With regard to the broader issue of social justice, the Guardian in September 2010 launched the global development website, making it the only mainstream media organisation in the world to devote such significant editorial resources to monitor the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and other key related issues.
GMG Radio has also enthusiastically endorsed the Power of 10, with the editorial teams developing more content on environmental issues such as energy efficiency, clothing recycling and encouraging the use of cycling and public transport.
Emap has a number of products that directly promote sustainability, such as the Recycle Waste Management exhibition and Materials Recycling Week magazine. During 2010, it purchased the Water Energy & Environment magazine, The Energy Event exhibition and Futuresource, the flagship event for The Chartered Institution of Waste Management.
Sustainability offers many commercial opportunities as businesses recognise the need to adapt to a resource-constrained world. GNM has been leading the way in this field with the creation of the Guardian Sustainable Business website and associated seminars and conferences, which seek to provide sustainability professionals with information and intelligence on a wide range of issues.
The Power of 10 vision states: “The passion we have for inspiring our audiences and customers will be matched by our commitment to operating our offices, print sites and digital platforms to high environmental standards, including minimising waste and maximising both efficiency and recycling.”
GMG recognises that if it encourages readers to change their behaviour, and seeks to influence suppliers and advertisers, then it must also lead the way in its own operations. For example, the Guardian only went ahead with the 10:10 campaign once it had committed to reducing its own carbon footprint by 10%.
GNM secured Carbon Trust certification for its two print sites and main office in King’s Cross, while GMG Radio has created green champions and employee environmental committees across its sites to help monitor and reduce carbon footprints. Real Radio has also achieved Green Dragon accreditation in Wales.
Seven Publishing has developed an online carbon reporting tool which will help it achieve a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas direct emissions and measure agreed sustainability KPIs including the carbon cost of print, paper and production.
TMG has a system in place to provide monthly fuel data for review by the executive team and has worked with the Carbon Trust to identify energy efficiency measures that can be implemented at all offices.
As a Group we have been making big inroads in our paper purchasing, setting tough targets on both recycled content and on the certification of virgin paper, to ensure it is coming from sustainable forests.
GMG took a leadership position in 2010 by investigating the carbon intensity of our paper supplies, which led to us switching some supplies to a Norwegian company that uses hydro electricity to power its mills.
On the question of the impacts of digital, GNM has begun a groundbreaking research study in partnership with the universities of Surrey and Bristol to understand the footprint of its digital operations and plan for reducing this in future years. This information will be openly shared to help other businesses to act in this increasingly important but little understood area.
Our community activities continue to be an important element of the Power of 10.
GNM has developed a number of long-term community partnerships and in March 2011 organised a Company-wide volunteering week, during which 240 staff, a fifth of the total, took part in 20 local initiatives.
Emap launched a corporate charity strategy as well as a volunteer scheme last year, which allowed employees to use one working day per year to support charitable activities, while TMG and Seven Publishing selected designated charities and encouraged fundraising and sponsorship events to support them. The charities are supported through a corporate donation, staff fundraising and volunteer efforts.
TMG also endorsed a community involvement policy which supports its employees who wish to work with communities across the UK both as private individuals and as employees.
“A sense of duty” is one of the Scott Trust’s core values, and corporate responsibility – with a particular focus on environmental sustainability and community engagement – will continue to be at the heart of the way we do business in the year ahead.