Sustainability - The 15-minute digested read

7/7/2010 Guardian |  Living our values is one of the core objectives agreed by the directors of Guardian News & Media (GNM).The values were laid down by our great former editor CP Scott in a leader rticle celebrating the centenary of the Guardian in 1921: “Honesty, cleanness
[integrity], courage, fairness, a sense of duty to the reader and the
We produce this independently verified annual report because it helps remind us
that our values can lose their vitality over time unless they are keenly
understood, made relevant to current times and are actively measured and
reported on.
It contains a wealth of information about all aspects of our business, but for
those who don’t have the time or inclination to read the report in full, here is
a 15-minute digested read. Please follow the web links for more in-depth
Why do we report on our sustainability performance?
We demand transparency and honesty from those we write about, so it is only
right we show our many stakeholders not only where we have excelled, but also
where we have fallen short.
While this report covers our performance over a fixed period, we also now have
an interactive reporting website, as it would feel hypocritical to encourage an
iterative dialogue in our editorial coverage without also engaging our
stakeholders in the way we operate as a business.
Given our ability to scrutinise the behaviour of others, we believe it is only
fair that we use independent auditors to evaluate our performance. In fact, we
have become the first company in the world to create a system of ongoing
auditing throughout the year.
What is the core of our sustainability vision?
Our vision is to be a leader on sustainability within the media industry.
Through our editorial coverage and business activities, we will demonstrate to
readers, staff, advertisers, suppliers and our communities that GNM is committed
to enhancing society’s ability to build a sustainable future.
Our long-term ambition is to be carbon positive – going beyond carbon neutral
and positively affecting climate change. We aim to do this by influencing
individuals, companies and governments, as well as setting challenging targets
in operations we directly control.
What is the strategy that will help us bring the vision to reality?

To achieve our vision, we have an integrated strategy, updated by the board in
June 2010, that covers not only our editorial coverage but also our commercial
operations, our staff, our offices, print sites and supply chain, as well as our
community relationships.
The strategy is designed so that success in one area of the business spurs
innovation in other departments. For example, the editorial reputation we have
gained from developing one of the world’s leading environment websites has
helped to create Guardian Sustainable Business and the Green Ad Network.
Another example is that the Guardian did not just help launch the 10:10
editorial campaign, but also signed up to it as a company. GNM had already been
gathering reliable carbon data and creating reduction plans and was ready to set
quantitative targets. The campaign also spurred our parent company Guardian
Media Group (GMG) into a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of our
newsprint and magazine paper by a tenth.
GNM has set 10 broad objectives for the current financial year, ranging from
directors having clear, measurable personal sustainability objectives, to
developing a clear set of goals to move towards our long-term vision of becoming
carbon positive.
With the support of GNM, GMG has also developed its own sustainability vision,
branded as the “Power of 10″, which commits the group to 10 areas of change,
ranging from environmental management and ethical procurement to employee and
community engagement.
Do our key stakeholders believe we live up to our values and purpose?
GNM asked staff in spring 2010 whether senior managers and colleagues lived up
to our values. The results were very positive for staff generally, with senior
managers scoring relatively high figures, despite the survey being held after a
major cost-cutting drive:
Colleagues live the Scott Trust values on a day-to-day basis:
Integrity 85%
Sense of duty 85%
Honesty 83%
Courage 79%
Fairness 75%
Senior management live the Scott Trust values on a day-to-day basis:
Sense of duty 72%
Courage 67%
Integrity 64%
Honesty 62%
Fairness 52%
In May 2009, we asked nearly 3,000 readers and web users whether our editorial
content reflects the mission of our owner the Scott Trust, which is to operate
quality newspapers/news sources free from party affiliation and remaining
faithful to the liberal tradition. Around 90% said yes.
Is our editorial supporting a more sustainable future?

Our journalism, the core of what we do, is going through a revolution as a
result of technological change.
While some media companies are limiting access to their editorial by putting up
paywalls on the web, the Guardian is opening itself up even further through a
process called mutualisation.
This is more natural for the Guardian to do than other media organisations
because its roots lie in the reform movement and therefore it feels more at ease
with challenge, dissent and collaboration.
The essential qualities of our journalism stay the same, with our editorial
staff navigating readers and users through the torrent of news, data and comment
and presenting it in a compelling way.
The interactive web, which allows a fluid, constantly-iterative world of linked
reporting and response, gives readers the ability to follow conversations,
compare multiple sources and links, and get involved. This collaborative
approach can help us get to the truth of things, faster.
The Guardian recognises that having clarity about our core values becomes even
more important at a time of extraordinary change. It is easy to lose track of
ones’ purpose in a world that is changing so rapidly and where it’s possible for
ones’ voice to be drowned out in the cacophony of noise on the web.
Key to our liberal journalism is holding power to account, social justice and
giving a voice to the voiceless.
While editorial’s budget has been cut by a fifth over the past year, the
Guardian is determined to ensure we discharge these duties responsibly, the
Guardian continues to invest money and resources in investigative journalism.
Successes in the past 18 months include our probes into Trafigura, British
Aerospace, the death of Ian Tomlinson, Britain’s security and intelligence
agencies involvement in the maltreatment and possible torture, of British
citizens or residents abroad, UK corporate tax avoidance, and phone hacking at
the News of the World.
The Guardian’s desire to educate and inform not only means it has a vital role
in bringing hidden information into the public domain, but also in recent years,
helping readers and users to make sense of the avalanche of data that is now
available, but often impenetrable. Innovations include the launch of Datablog
and Guardian Open Platform.
Awards continue to be won for our unique four-year collaborative development
project in Katine, a rural community in Uganda caught in a vicious cycle of
While the Guardian continues to extend its global reach, it has also responded
to criticism from readers that it is not resourcing coverage of regions in the
UK. It has therefore set up Guardian Local, with beatbloggers initially in place
in Cardiff, Leeds and Edinburgh.
Given the vital need to combat climate change and other key issues such as water
scarcity and the loss of biodiversity, the Guardian has created what we believe
is the largest team of dedicated environmental journalists of any English
language news organisation in the world. was the
world’s most popular green website in September 2009.
The traditional business model for the media industry is broken. How is GNM

The last year has been one of the most testing in GNM’s recent history.
The financial risks to the Guardian have accelerated as a result of the global
recession, piling on top of the continuing structural decline in print revenues.
Losses of £100,000 a day necessitated sharp cuts in staff and a major
reorganisation of the business. Operating costs are expected to be 18% lower,
(£50m lower) in the current financial year than the budget had originally been
for 2009/2010.
Our parent company GMG also suffered with pre-tax losses rising sharply by 77%
to £171m for the year ending March 2010, although this was primarily due to
non-cash impairments of £96.5m in GMG’s investment in Emap and £63.9m in GMG
The new commercial environment is a world away from the traditional newspaper
model; a single bundle of news and opinion, sold universally at a single price,
refreshed once a day or once a week, and subsidised by classified and display
GNM must now deal with complexity in product mix, with multiple sources of
revenues at multiple price points – including free. While GNM will increasingly
rely on a digital future, it remains committed to its newspapers, despite the
fact that sales are expected to continue falling as readers switch to our
digital products.
Can our commercial departments do good and make money?

With traditional revenues shrinking, GNM is seeking to create new green and
ethical revenue streams. Given our editorial reputation in the field of
sustainability, the company is developing new business ventures, such as
Guardian Sustainable Business (GSB), that allow us to make money and do good.
GSB has been developed to support corporate responsibility executives as well as
other business leaders in dealing more effectively with their companies’
environmental, social and economic impacts.
The innovative Green Ad Network, launched in 2008, has grown to include 75 green
websites and 110 partner sites, and a Diversity Ad Network has now been added.
The Guardian Environmental & Sustainability Jobs website was re-launched at the
end of 2009 to capitalise on the growth in “green collar” jobs and our readers’
offers service highlights rail-based travel to Europe and UK holidays, with
plans to co-brand with ethical investment companies for ISAs.
More than 100 commercial staff have so far participated in three-hour
sustainability masterclasses to develop an understanding of key issues, in order
to attract new green and ethical revenues as well as reducing environmental
impacts at work and at home.
As part of its desire to be considered a thought leader, GNM is forming deeper,
more strategic relationships with existing corporate clients. This includes
meeting with senior agency staff to discuss the opportunities and challenges of
moves to a low-carbon economy.
How have staff been impacted by restructuring and job losses?

Cost-cutting and redundancies across the business have shaken the culture of
GNM. While job losses are difficult in any circumstance, they have been felt
more keenly at GNM as its ownership by the Scott Trust has meant the company has
in past economic downturns been able largely to avoid the shedding of employees.
What also makes the contraction difficult is that many staff at GNM have a great
sense of loyalty to the organisation and see their contribution as serving a
purpose rather than simply doing a job.
Despite this upheaval, the latest employee survey showed there was a widespread
acceptance of the need for the company to respond to the extremely difficult
economic climate, with 86% agreeing that restructure and cost-cutting have been
necessary to respond to changes in the media industry.
The survey in the autumn of 2009, showed continuing high scores in key areas
such as pride in working for GNM. Nearly three-quarters of staff would recommend
GNM as an employer, one of the most important measures of the health of a
company. This compares with a standard UK score of 68% in good times. The
proportion who would not recommend GNM as an employer doubled, but even now is
only 10%.
The same concerns that were raised in previous surveys surfaced again; lack of
transparency on pay, lack of clarity about career opportunities, and a desire
for more active performance management.
Particular contentions in the past year have been the decision to consider
outsourcing some of the company’s support services in order to reduce the
fixed-cost base.
Contributions in this Living our Values report from the two main unions at the
Guardian, the National Union of Journalists and Unite, highlight opposition not
only to outsourcing, but also to directors in GMG and GNM receiving bonuses in
the financial year ending March 2010, while other staff were experiencing a pay
If social justice is at the heart of the Guardian’s editorial coverage, how well
do we do on issues of diversity and inclusiveness?

The Guardian and Observer have a somewhat chequered history when it comes to
embedding diversity into the organisation.
While it compares well when benchmarked against the media sector, progress has
been considered by management to be too little and too slow. An inclusiveness
survey in the spring of 2010 showed there is still a lot of work that needs to
be done. Nearly three-quarters of staff believe one has to be “in with the right
people” to get ahead and nearly two-thirds feel one has to conform “to the way
things are done around here” in order to progress.
The lowest score in the survey was that only 11% of staff feel minority groups
are well represented at a senior level in GNM. At the time of publication,
senior management were planning a new approach to ensure these issues are
With little new recruitment into the business, the new head of diversity is
focusing the company’s efforts on extending the breadth and depth of voices we
use in the Guardian and Observer to reflect better our multicultural society.
To achieve this, a number of projects have been launched, including a Diversity
Ambassador Programme, a series of Minority Media Conferences and Minority
Writers Workshops.
Does our call to environmental action in our editorial coverage get mirrored in
our own actions and behaviour?

The Guardian cannot with any great integrity point out the dangers of climate
change, waste, the over-use of resources and shrinking biodiversity unless we
are doing as much as possible to limit our impacts on the environment through
our direct and indirect operations.
GNM has therefore been developing a broad strategy that encompasses not only our
offices, print sites and business travel, but also our indirect footprint,
primarily through our use of paper and technology.
Given the overarching urgency to address climate change, three years ago GNM
became one of the first companies in the world to set the ambitious long-term
aim of becoming carbon positive. In support of this, from an operational
perspective, much of GNM’s focus in the past year has been on energy and carbon
from our offices and print sites and our paper supply-chain.
Enormous efforts also continue to be made with respect to other environmental
impacts. These range from the substantial reduction in highly toxic emissions
from print sites by substituting solvent-based with water-based press cleaning
materials; the print sites achieving ISO14001 certification, maintaining high
recycling and certification rates for our newsprint and magazine paper, as well
as work to embed sustainability in purchasing. Highlights in the past year
• Signing up to the 10:10 campaign and developing a joint environmental strategy
with the other tenants in our new headquarters building.
• GMG establishing a system of tracking how much CO2 is generated per tonne of
• The Guardian Print Centres establishing benchmarking of CO2 per copy and now
setting annual CO2 per copy targets, which they achieved in 2009.
• GPC Manchester achieving Carbon Trust Standard certification.
• Working to identify the gaps across the print life cycle and supply chain
which still need to be addressed, through internal carbon mapping and a number
of internal and external workshops and debates.
• Starting to address the impacts of the technology we use and our digital
offerings, including the launch of a new research project with the University of
Bristol on the climate change impacts of technology.
Despite a challenging economic environment, the Guardian has bucked a national
trend that has seen falls in both charitable giving and the proportion of
employees that are volunteering within their community.
A third of GNM staff still participate in payroll giving, down only 1% from last
year, and way above the national average.
This financial year ending March 2010, the percentage of staff volunteering also
jumped to just over a fifth, compared with 10% the previous year, largely as a
result of our near 300-strong advertising department taking part in a range of
community initiatives over a one-week period.
Volunteering is supported by a company policy that gives staff two work days a
year to get involved in charitable projects, subject to a line manager’s
The recession has led to a cut in the community budget but this has been more
than offset by a significant increase not only in staff volunteering, but also
in the donation of materials and services and using our brand reputation to
attract additional support and funding from other businesses and organisations.
Over the past year, there has been a conscious effort to link our community
programme more directly with our sustainability strategy.
A core aim over the coming year is to build recognition that community projects
are an important tool in staff development by embedding volunteering into staff
appraisals, so that skills gained are officially recognised.
GNM continues to have partnerships with a number of organisations near to its
King’s Cross headquarters:
Schools: Three inner-city schools – Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Winton and
Richard Cloudesley.
Age Concern Camden: Two centres for older people in King’s Cross at Great Croft
and Somers Town.
New Horizon Youth Centre: Homeless young people to enable them to develop their
skills and confidence to improve their life chances.
Camley Street Natural Park: A community-led conservation which is part of the
London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the capital’s wildlife
and wild spaces.
Live Magazine: Publications written, illustrated, produced and distributed by
young people in London. The magazine aims to communicate positive messages and
information by young people to their peers.
Pentonville prison: Development of the prisoners’ newspaper Voice of the
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