The Media and CSR: Actions and Words
After years of sitting on the fence, the UK’s Daily Mail has lurched towards the views of the climate denialists, particularly when it comes to green taxation. According to Nicholas Schoon of the ENDS Report this followed a lunch between the editor Paul Dacre and Nigel ‘just saying’ Lawson.
But, as Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute pointed out in a tweet this week, the website of DMGT, owner of the Daily Mail, gives a quite different impression:
At DMGT, we know that to be successful in today’s world, we need to respond appropriately to global challenges such as climate change, environmental damage and social and ethical issues. To us corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability require that we manage our businesses and brands responsibly for the long-term success of our Group and the communities we serve.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation owns the spiritual home of climate change denial, Fox News, and the almost-as-hardline The Australian, but the old tycoon is on record as saying:
Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats. We may not agree on the extent, but we certainly can’t afford the risk of inaction.
We can set an example, and we can reach our audiences. Our audience’s carbon footprint is 10,000 times bigger than ours. That’s the carbon footprint we want to conquer.
Becoming carbon neutral is only the beginning. The climate problem will not be solved by one company reducing its emissions to zero, and it won’t be solved by one government acting alone. The climate problem will not be solved without mass participation by the general public in countries around the globe.
Uh? If cognitive dissonance could kill, I would drop stone dead.
I uncovered a similar dichotomy when I challenged an executive from our local press. She had been boasting about the group’s admirable “Go Green” campaign so I asked her how she squared that with their papers’ anti-wind turbine and anti-airline tax stances. She didn’t seem to understand that CSR could extend to the choice of words of reporters, sub-editors and columnists to the issues concerned, and just flannelled.
It’s a big question – can media organisations claim to be responsible if they are taking an “irresponsible” editorial line?
To twist the old maxim, is it a case of “do as I do, not as I say”?