British newspaper and media service The Guardian announced that it will no longer accept advertising from companies that extract fossil fuels, effective immediately. The ban on oil and gas advertising follows efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and increase reporting on the climate emergency.
In a joint statement, acting CEO Anna Bateson, and Chief Revenue Officer, Hamish Nicklin, explained, “Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world,” adding that responding to global heating is “most important challenge of our times.”
The Guardian’s response to the environmental challenge facing the Earth has impacted the company’s reporting. Guardian Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner, announced last year that the Guardian would adjust its style guide to represent the scale of the environmental challenge facing the Earth, using terms such as “climate emergency” and “global heating” rather than “climate change” and “global warming”. Additionally, the company has announced its commitment to be carbon-neutral by 2030, and has almost entirely divested from fossil fuel investments in its Scott Trust endowment fund.
The Guardian acknowledges that the financial impact of the fossil fuel advertising ban will be difficult, given the headwinds already facing the newspaper industry. According to Bateson and Nicklin:
“The funding model for the Guardian – like most high-quality media companies – is going to remain precarious over the next few years. 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.”