Corporate responsibility

Guardian Media Group took a major step forward in the past year as it seeks to become a more sustainable company.

The Group formed a partnership with the Carbon Trust to review and improve its carbon management across all the divisions.

We also joined forces with the charity Forum for the Future, which works with leading companies to embed sustainability into their core operations.

GMG’s senior non-executive director John Bartle became the Group’s sustainability champion and an action group was created, comprising sustainability advocates recruited from each of the divisions.

Beyond this, the various divisions continued to implement their own carbon reduction plans and to develop their community activities. Guardian News & Media in particular created a new community strategy as part of its move into new, environmentally friendly offices in King’s Cross, London.

With the support of the Carbon Trust, GMG engaged environmental consultants Faber Maunsell to develop a carbon management strategy for the Group.

Faber carried out nearly 20 site visits across all the divisions to assess how to reduce our carbon emissions. They also worked with us to develop a tool to measure our carbon footprint and help plan meaningful reductions.

The most effective way to be more sustainable is to reduce the need for energy and materials in the first place.

GMG’s Manchester-based print site, for example, reduced press waste by half in one year as well as halving its overall waste disposal costs. It now aims to achieve zero waste to landfill over the next few years. It also laid strong foundations for reducing energy consumption, including a switchoff campaign to help staff identify which lighting and machinery can be switched off when not in use.

At Emap, the marketing teams last year reduced direct mail by a fifth by transferring a greater proportion of marketing activity to online.

Even in the multimedia age, paper continues to be one of the largest components in GMG’s carbon footprint. The Group is taking active steps to measure the footprint associated with paper usage and look for ways of reducing it. This is a difficult exercise as there is no single agreed measurement tool being used by the industry and the paper supply chain is complex.

Alongside practical steps to reduce our emissions in each division, it is also important that we develop a vision and strategy so that the Group can take a more systematic approach to becoming more sustainable.

With this in mind, GMG has formed a partnership with Forum for the Future. The seven-month project, which includes workshops with directors from each of the divisions in our portfolio, will report to the Board with its recommendations.

This follows a similar exercise Forum for the Future carried out with GNM in 2007. This led to a vision for the company to be environmentally regenerative in its activities – which has spurred all departments to look into ways of reaching this goal.

GNM now has an integrated sustainability strategy that covers editorial, commercial, operations, staff and community activities.

From 2009 all directors have incorporated sustainability targets into their personal objectives. GNM continues to publish its award-winning annual Living Our Values sustainability audit.

While it is important that the Group seeks to be more sustainable within its operations, the biggest impact GMG can have on the environment and issues such as social justice is through influencing its various audiences.

The Guardian, in particular, has stepped up its coverage, creating an “eco-pod” of 13 editorial staff.

The Observer has also been taking a leading role, in the last year looking at issues from sustainable agriculture and the environmental costs of bottled water to the ethics of fashion and the scandal of Egypt’s child cotton-pickers.

Trader Media Group has created a green section on its hugely popular Auto Trader website, while GMG Regional Media hosted a series of debates about climate change.

Emap Networks, Emap’s conferences business, ran a series of events on sustainability issues, including the Recycling and Waste Management Exhibition (RWM) – the undisputed leader for the recycling and waste management sector. GNM continues to run its high profile annual climate change summit.

With the constant barrage of information about climate change and environmental degradation, the human element of sustainable development is easily lost.

Raising awareness and stimulating debate around social issues through our editorial coverage is vital, but GMG recognises that it can also provide significant practical support to the many communities in which its operations are based.

On an international scale, this ranges from leveraging nearly £3 million for the Guardian’s editorially-led Katine development project in rural Uganda, to the Scott Trust’s continuing work in supporting the development of a free press, particularly in Eastern Europe and Africa.

The Scott Trust Foundation is the umbrella organisation for charitable activities taking place under the direction of our owner, the Scott Trust. The Foundation’s role includes the preservation of archive material relating to the histories of the Guardian and Observer, and a continuous programme of education activities and exhibitions at Kings Place designed to promote Scott Trust values in the broadest sense. The Foundation also supports the activities of the Guardian Foundation and distributes bursaries and grants via the Scott Trust Charitable Fund. More information about the Scott Trust Foundation can be found at

Each of the divisions takes an active interest in its local communities, ranging from volunteering to raising much needed funds for charities.

TMG has over the past three years developed its community policy by supporting three charities: Samaritans, Brake – the Road Safety Charity, and The Outward Bound Patron’s Trust. They are supported through corporate donations, fundraising at all centres, the matching of staff donations and staff volunteering efforts.

The company has also endorsed a Community Involvement Policy which supports those of its employees who wish to work with communities across the UK either as private individuals or as employees of TMG. Beyond these initiatives, TMG supports other national and local charities through its corporate match-funding bursary for individual employee charitable commitments. It also supports Fix-It UK, a Wigan-based charity which helps disadvantaged young people gain qualifications and return to mainstream education.

GMG Radio supports local communities and charities with on-air publicity and financial and practical help.

Real Radio supports many charities including CHAS, Alder Hey, Childline Cymru, Sheffield Children’s Hospice and Zoe’s Place through its Bring A Pound To Work Day, which raised over £250,000 in March 2009. Other smaller charities and community organisations are supported by the on-air Real Action project. The station also broadcasts a social action platform called Real People.

Smooth Radio has created a webpage featuring charity and community events taking place in its broadcast areas. Smooth Radio in the North West helped raise £100,000 for nominated charity Macmillan Cancer Support, while Smooth Radio in Scotland continued to work closely with Marie Curie Cancer Care.

GMG Property Services chose homeless charity Shelter as its new charity partner, while Emap sponsored two interns from the Catch 22 Academy, including work placements and ongoing mentoring and coaching support. The Catch 22 scheme is targeted primarily at disadvantaged young adults.

GNM’s move to King’s Cross has led to the creation of a new community strategy.

While King’s Cross is set to become the largest regeneration area in Europe, the wider borough of Islington remains the seventh most deprived local authority in the UK.

Caledonian ward, directly north of GNM’s new offices, ranks fourth.

To engage all board directors, GNM managing director Tim Brooks led a Seeing Is Believing visit to see first-hand some of the challenges that local people face and the impact the business can have. The visit, facilitated by Business in the Community, included EGA, a secondary school that GNM has been working with for seven years, and two new projects: New Horizons, a homeless youth centre; and Pentonville Prison.

At Pentonville, GNM is supporting prisoners and teaching staff to develop a media centre as part of their education programme.

The division is continuing its successful partnership with Live, a magazine written and produced by young people for their peers. GNM also formed a partnership with Age Concern Camden to support local older people and reduce isolation through befriending and group activity.

GNM also runs award-winning payroll giving and match-funding schemes. Nearly 40% of staff donate to over 200 charities, which compares with a national average of just 4% according to a recent YouGov/Oxfam poll. As a result, charities have received more than half a million pounds in the past five years.