News Corp. Becomes First Entertainment Giant to Say It Is Carbon Neutral

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

CEO Rupert Murdoch describes the news as the "first major sustainability milestone" for his conglomerate.

NEW YORK - News Corp. has become the first entertainment industry giant to turn carbon neutral across its global operations, meaning it has reached net zero carbon emissions thanks to environmental and energy initiatives, as well as the purchase of carbon offsets.

News Corp. reached its goal as of the end of 2010 in what chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday called the "first major sustainability milestone" for his conglomerate. He had in 2007 established the goal of reducing the carbon footprint of News Corp. to become carbon neutral by 2010.

By reducing energy usage, using such renewable energy sources as wind and solar power, as well as buying offsets News Corp. started to cut down on its emissions from a 2006 footprint of 641,150 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents across its operations. Carbon offsets are controversial financial tools that allow an organization working to become carbon neutral to support projects that prevent carbon from being released into the atmosphere.

"When all of News Corp. becomes carbon neutral, it will have the same impact as turning off the electricity in the city of London for five full days," Murdoch said back in 2007.

"We have become carbon neutral across all of our global operations and we are the first company of our kind to do so," Murdoch said in an internal memo on Tuesday. "We made a bold commitment in 2007 to embed the values of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability into all of our businesses – for the benefit of our communities and our bottom line." 

Indeed, he added that "despite some of the toughest markets our industry has ever seen, we have saved millions of dollars by improving the energy efficiency of our day-to-day operations."

Murdoch also emphasized "our long-term commitment to environmental sustainability."

Looking ahead, he mentioned that Dow Jones is close to completing a solar power system on its campus in New Jersey, which will be the largest solar installation of its kind in the U.S.

Murdoch also gave a shoutout to his empire's Hollywood operations. "Fox Entertainment developed robust carbon footprinting standards and tools for film, television, sports, and event production, as well as a sustainable vendor guide," he mentioned in his memo. "We have collaborated with business partners who were already leading the way, including our DVD supply chain initiative with Wal-mart, which pioneered an eco-case that reduced emissions from raw materials alone by 13 percent and has become the industry standard."

He also emphasized that putting environmental messages into content projects can be good business. "Twentieth Century Fox’s Ice Age franchise and the most successful film of all time, Avatar, prove that passionate environmental messages can be fodder for both blockbusters and real-world action, like the million trees planted in 2010 through the Avatar Home Tree initiative," Murdoch said.