Waiting in my company email inbox this morning was an email from News Ltd Chairman and CEO John Hartigan, addressed to all employees, and putting a personal and local spin on an announcement overnight from Rupert Murdoch that News Corp and all its subsidiaries (including News Ltd and my own lil Carsguide.com.au would be carbon-neutral by 2010.
It boggles the mind to consider the commitment required to turn around a business as vast as News Corp in such a dramatic fashion in such a short period of time. Sure, in Australia, News Ltd started recycling newspapers, ink and even the aluminium printing plates it uses about a decade ago. But to take the entire operations of such a diverse international media empire and commit to making them carbon-neutral within the next 2 1/2 years is going to either require significant operational changes, a massive investment in carbon credits, or more likely, both.
As part of the announcement, Hartigan's email invited employees to complete an online survey into our current concerns about climate change, whether we were already taking steps in our lifestyle to minimize our carbon impact, and whether we'd be interested in adopting various possible initiatives the company might introduce for employees, including organising rebates for alternative energy in the home, car pooling networks, and incentives for making savings in the workplace. There was even a chance to win a Solio portable solar charger to encourage us to do the survey.
The rest of the announcement was full of strongly-worded commitments to change, and a range of practical steps that employees and business units could take right now to start making a difference.
It's very exciting to see sort of leadership from a company that got its start chopping down bazillions of trees and turning them into newspapers. Looks like Rupert and I agree on something after all!