In what is a first for a British newspaper, The Guardian on February 1 announced that it would no longer be accepting advertisements from oil and gas companies.
According to the newspaper, this makes it the first global news organisation to ban advertisements from companies that extract fossil fuels.
“Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world,” the company’s acting chief executive, Anna Bateson, and the chief revenue officer, Hamish Nicklin, said in a joint statement.
Stating that the response to global heating was the “most important challenge of our times”, it highlighted the newspaper’s reporting on how lobbying by energy companies has damaged the environmental cause.
“The funding model for the Guardian – like most high-quality media companies – is going to remain precarious over the next few years,” the two said, highlighting that the ban would mean a financial hit for the company.
“It’s true that rejecting some adverts might make our lives a tiny bit tougher in the very short term. Nonetheless, we believe building a more purposeful organisation and remaining financially sustainable have to go hand in hand,” the joint statement said, adding that while some of the readers would like the newspaper to also turn down ads for other products with significant carbon footprint, it is not financially feasible.
“Stopping those ads would be a severe financial blow, and might force us to make significant cuts to Guardian and Observer journalism around the world,” they said.
Welcoming the move, Greenpeace called it a “watershed” moment.
“This is a watershed moment, and the Guardian must be applauded for this bold move to end the legitimacy of fossil fuels,” said Mel Evans, senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK.Get access to India’s fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code “GETPRO”. Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.