‘Ignore Sustainability at Your Peril’; for Publishers, Action Has to Replace Words

“Reduce, reuse, recycle is no longer enough,” said Pum Lefebure, co-founder of Design Army and jury president at Cannes LIONS—an event focusing on key advertising trends and innovations that publishers need to know about. “We have to rethink, repurpose, reinvent and reimagine. We have to constantly set new standards for creative solutions.”

When it comes to playbooks—especially this time of year—football comes to mind. But last year, Bauer Media published its Sustainability Playbook. Included in the 15-page document are ways they will be “Influencing Sustainability” in their Lifestyle publications, Outdoors, B2B Automotive (pictured here), Fashion & Beauty, and Audio Brands.

“Sustainability has become a key strategic focus for us because we recognize the leadership role media plays in driving sustainable behaviors,” Kaushala Ratnayake, head of strategy, Bauer Media, told What’s New In Publishing. “Shifting towards a sustainable publishing industry is not something any company can do alone so we really invite this movement towards working with publishers that have clear sustainability goals and targets.”

Number two on WNIP’s post-Cannes list of five takeaways was this: Ignore sustainability at your peril. “The largest media buying groups are beginning to select publisher ad inventory using a checklist of ‘sustainability criteria,’” they wrote.

“[Young people] want to align with brands that share a vision and a mission with them and they’re willing to pay more for that—and that’s where sustainability comes into play,” growth strategist Robyn Duda said last year. “If we don’t start doing it now, there’ll be a disrupter that comes in and turns things upside down.”

Here are more sustainability initiatives among publishers:

The American Chemical Society’s Scientific Advancement division is leading the ACS Campaign for a Sustainable Future Initiative. The multifaceted initiative will include a campaign promoting sustainability, increased advocacy for sustainability research funding, and expanded efforts to modernize the chemistry curriculum for 2- and 4-year colleges to include a focus on sustainability. There will also be a prize for international collaborations.

“The impact that we’ll have is creating a future chemistry enterprise workforce that’s trained in sustainability concepts,” ACS COO LaTrease Garrison said. Such a workforce “will help to revolutionize chemistry as a discipline and to increase the amount and pace of chemistry-related sustainability innovation research.” Adelina Voutchkova is their new director of sustainable development.

Recurrent—their publications include Popular Science, Field & Stream, Saveur, etc.—has three pillars on their website: Editorial First, Audience Obsessed and Sustainability Focused. “Coverage across Recurrent brands emphasizes products, technologies, and policies that could shape a more sustainable future, for the longevity of the planet and its ecosystems.” In June they established two new sustainability-focused roles to solidify the company’s commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives. Sam Dagirmanjian has joined as the new VP of sustainability, and Amber Nolan moved in as sustainability commerce editor, after contributing to Treehugger for five years.

Conde Nast announced new advertising guidelines as part of its sustainability commitments. It will now only accept ads from energy companies that promote renewable energy products. The company also aims to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030 and use only renewable energy in its offices globally by 2025.

Bloomberg Media has made the commitment to bring its Net Zero plans forward to 2025. Half of the firm’s existing energy already comes from renewable sources. Only 12.5% of its emissions come from publishing operations, but it is seeking a further 10% reduction in energy use across its offices and 5% in its data centers.

The Oxford Climate Journalism Network (OCJN) is a new program at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Its mission is to help journalists and editors develop their coverage of climate change, and support leaders in identifying the issues involved in reporting on the climate crisis. The network is free to join and is open to working journalists, employed or freelance, covering any beat, not just environment and climate.

“We know that the journalism and information space as a whole is looking for spaces for sustainability, so if we don’t have unique and diverse voices in these rooms, how do we know what to solve for?” asked Sherrell Dorsey, founder and CEO of The Plug, an AM&P Network member. “How do we think creatively about the solutions on the table? We decided to go subscription and create these revenue-generating platforms in order to ensure our survival.”


Comments are closed.