As one of our biggest impacts on the environment, carbon emissions have been carefully tracked and reduced by News Corp Australia since FY2006.
In the year to June 2006, our carbon footprint was 151,480 tonnes of carbon dioxide (or carbon dioxide equivalents). By June 2015, we had exceeded our FY2017 goal by achieving a 36% reduction in our carbon footprint. In 2016 we set a new target of reducing our carbon footprint by 5% every year, which we achieved in FY2016. Our FY2017 figures show a 40% reduction since we started in FY2006, which is the equivalent of charging 22 million iPhones every day.
This was achieved through a combination of big and small changes to the way we operate our business, staff engagement and a focus on energy efficiency.
News Corp Australia has big zero waste goals. We committed to achieving zero waste at all of our print sites by the end of 2016, and at all of our office sites by the end of 2018.
Reaching these goals requires reducing the waste generated by our business in two ways. First we try to reduce what we use, from printing on lighter newsprint stocks that means less paper is needed for each newspaper, through to the promotion of re-usable mugs for that morning coffee.
Then we recycle everything we can. Our print centres reuse and recycle almost everything used on the presses, and at various facilities across the group cardboard, newspapers (press waste and returns), office paper, packaging, plastic bottles and containers, cans, printer cartridges, oil, blanket wash, fluorescent lights and IT equipment are recycled. Paper waste and cores are returned to the manufacturer; aluminium printing plates and punch-outs are recycled for their metal; and ink waste is recycled.
We achieved our 2016 zero waste goal at all of our major print sites of our major owned printing facilities, and will maintain zero waste at those sites in 2018 and beyond. The Zero Waste International Alliance Business define zero waste as diverting more than 90% of solid waste from landfill. Our major print sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide all exceeded this goal, achieving a diversion rate of over 96%. The Sydney Print Centre won the 2016 PANPA environmental award for its work in achieving Zero Waste.
1 Degree committed its activities to a zero waste engagement program, which included an online recycling training module, Waste Audits, educational events, a short film with experts in the field, several national competitions and a large communications campaign.
1Switch is the single largest national carbon reduction project undertaken by News Corp Australia to date. This custom computer software encourages users to reduce energy use by switching their computers to sleep mode using one ‘switch’ when they are not being used, and allows them to see the impact of their actions on their ‘energy efficiency score’. Rolled out across News Corp Australia in early 2012, its first three weeks computer saw energy use fall by 11% as staff chose to “power down”. Since 1Switch started, computer idle time has reduced from 72% to 40% in 2014. An additional update in 2015 further increased its power saving abilities and it became the first software to receive Energy Saving Certificates from the NSW Government. 1Switch continues to save over 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions a year.
Water is a key resource in the printing and production of newspapers, and Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth. That’s why we reduce our water consumption as well as carbon and waste using water capture and recycling. We have flow restrictors on taps, dual flush cisterns and are reducing the use of water in cooling towers. At our head office in Sydney, we’ve had a 25% reduction in water usage over a four year period.
Australians are world champions when it comes to newspaper recycling. Over 76% of the millions of newspapers read in Australia each year are recycled into a multitude of new products including insulation, kitty litter, egg cartons and, of course, new newspapers. About another 6.8% is reused around the home. Together these two figures add up to around 83% of our newspapers finding another use.
That’s a big step from where we started over 27 years ago when almost two-thirds of newspapers ended up in landfill. It’s thanks in part to News Corp’s early investment in a newsprint de-inking factory in Albury NSW 22 years ago, creating new markets for old newspapers and magazines, and to the way Australians have embraced kerbside recycling each week at home.
In the past ten years, we have shaved nearly 70% off our transport fuel emissions and achieved a 19% reduction in air travel emissions. Firstly, we are travelling less and video conferencing more. It’s better for the environment and helpful for productivity as well. We’ve also focused on reducing the emissions of our vehicle fleet, replacing some of our older vehicles with new lower-emission and hybrid electric vehicles. And we’ve re-zoned our newspaper distribution to reduce unnecessary road and air transport.
It’s taken a lot of changes to achieve a 40% cut in electricity emissions and a 23% cut in natural gas emissions since FY2006. Some of the savings have come from big projects such as upgrading the lighting in our Sydney Print Centre, saving 1,366 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2012 alone. Decommissioning of existing servers and migrating to an energy efficient data centre in 2013 is saving a further 600,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, that’s equal to what 101 individuals in Australia. But it’s also come from changing the way we work, turning off lights and computers and being more aware of how our everyday actions have a big impact.
Our print centres are the biggest users of energy in our business so we’ve focused on ways to reduce the emissions they generate by making real changes on both big ticket items and smaller changes, like encouraging our staff to reduce their own personal energy consumption. We’ve installed more efficient chillers and air-conditioning, rapid close doors to reduce air-conditioning wastage, new more efficient printing presses and replaced high-energy lighting. We’re also reducing air leaks from roof vents to minimise heating and cooling costs, evaluating voltage optimisation to reduce electricity consumption, and investigating plans for on-site energy generation.