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Murdoch sets emissions goal

By Saffron Howden (Herald Sun) - May 9, 2007

The world’s top media company, News Corporation, will slash its global carbon footprint to zero under a bold plan revealed by its chairman, Rupert Murdoch.

Saying the global media empire produced 641,150 tonnes of greenhouse gas last year, the News chairman and CEO last night pledged to go green.

“We could make a difference just by holding our emissions steady as our businesses continue to grow, but that doesn’t seem to be enough,” Mr Murdoch said.

“We want to go all the way to zero,” he told News Corp’s worldwide employees.

“This is about changing the DNA of our business to re-imagine how we look at energy.”

Under the plan, all News Corp businesses, including News Limited, publisher of the Herald Sun, will be carbon neutral by 2010.

Mr Murdoch said this goal would be met by slashing energy use, switching to renewable power sources and, as a last resort, offsetting unavoidable emissions.

News Corp will today join other multinational businesses in the Climate Group, a non-profit organisation that works to reduce greenhouse emissions globally.

“Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats,” Mr Murdoch said. “We may not agree on the extent, but we certainly can’t afford the risk of inaction.”

Mr Murdoch, who grew up in Melbourne, saw on recent visits the effects of the devastating Australian drought.

He said Melbourne’s 10th consecutive year of below-average rain had made clear the risks of climate change.

Mr Murdoch will encourage business partners to follow News Corp’s lead and reduce their carbon footprint.

But he said individuals acting collectively were the key to big change.

“We can set an example and we can reach our audiences,” he said.

“Our audience’s carbon footprint is 10,000 times bigger than ours — that’s the carbon footprint we want to conquer.”

Mr Murdoch said News Corp’s newspapers, television stations, magazines, books, internet media and films could inspire readers and viewers across the world to change their ways.

But there would be limits. “Not every hero on television can drive a hybrid car. Often times it just won’t fit,” Mr Murdoch said.

“We must avoid preaching — and there has to be substance behind the glitz.”

Mr Murdoch asked News’ 50,000 employees to think about what they could do to reduce their environmental impact on the planet, and pointed to financial incentives offered to Fox workers to buy hybrid cars.

“I’ve started myself — I bought a hybrid car a few months ago,” he said.

The move to go carbon neutral was a risk, he said, but that was part of the company’s history too.

“The unique potential — and duty — of a media company is to help its audiences connect to the issues that define our time,” Mr Murdoch said.