News Corporation’s Liba Rubenstein: On the Sustainability Journey, Business Can Lead the Way

Posted on 20. Sep, 2010 by in Business & Policy, Interviews

Liba Rubenstein, director of News Corporation’s Global Energy Initiative, discusses the role business can play in the global movement toward sustainability.

OG: News Corporation has set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by the end of this year, through a combination of energy reduction, switching to renewable energy resources and   purchasing carbon offsets. Can you give us an update on your progress?

LR: It’s interesting, because as a media company, our own environmental footprint isn’t that huge. But this is a defining issue of our time, and our core business is informing and entertaining our audience, and connecting with them about things they really care about. We recognized that this was an issue we’d have to wrestle with and be informed about, and the first step is getting our own house in order. Our climate/energy initiative launched in May 2007, and at the end of this year we will become carbon neutral, fulfilling the pledge our chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch made at the launch.

OG: Much of your sustainability program is focused on your internal operations. Since you do have such a global presence, are you making efforts to reach beyond that as well?

LR: We recognize that our impacts, both positive and negative, extend beyond the boundaries of our operations. As a corporate leader with a strong voice, we have an enormous amount of convening power among other corporations, and we also have a supply chain that extends across the globe, which is a really important part of our extended impact and focus. Our audience’s carbon footprint is 10,000 times bigger than our own, so the GEI team also works to identify opportunities to highlight sustainability messages through our content and connect our businesses with external partners who can help inform, amplify or act on those messages. For example, we launched the DVD of the movie Avatar this Earth Day in a partnership with the Earth Day Network that included planting a million trees by the end of the year.

OG: At OG, you’ll be talking about the business case for sustainability. Beyond the immediate benefits such as the cost savings that come from increased efficiency, why do you think this is an important area for businesses to address?

LR: What’s so compelling about the sustainability challenges we face in the world is that they affect so much of human society. A lot of hopes had been pinned on global frameworks and strong legislation in leading parts of the world like the U.S.—and those efforts have stalled. That creates an enormous opportunity for businesses to lead. I don’t think it’s a choice between doing what’s good for business and doing what’s in the interest of human civilization and the planet. It’s about recognizing the ways in which those two are aligned.

Written by AHA! for Opportunity Green.

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