Ten years ago, Hearst Magazines UK, which comprises 19 magazines and 26 websites, made a commitment to build an environmental programme to improve and reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Notably, the drive to build strong green credentials was led by the employees. The advocates for the initiative put together teams of green champions from each department to show management the commitment at different levels within the company. This impressive initiative attracted top level support and by 2008 Hearst took their commitment one step further by making a pledge to become CarbonNeutral® certified within five years.
Hearst Magazines UK’s portfolio includes Red, Men’s Health, Zest, Company, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Elle, Esquire and Bazaar. The company has met its target to achieve CarbonNeutral® company certification and has done this in a unique and engaging way. Their work has been recognised through winning numerous awards including coming second nationally in the Sunday Times Best Green Companies awards.
How did they go about measuring and reducing their footprint?
Hearst has built an imaginative environmental programme, entitled ‘Planet Hearst’, which began by concentrating on their offices and reducing the footprint of their main office buildings in London. They completed a full footprint assessment of their two central London offices including employee commuting and business travel, electricity consumption, natural gas consumption, waste disposal, outbound third party deliveries, and company vehicle usage. They did this by working with The CarbonNeutral Company to use Ecometrica’s Our Impacts greenhouse gas measurement software, which has been voted top GHG solution by The Environmentalist.
After reviewing their greenhouse gas assessment report Hearst proactively worked towards reducing their emissions down to net zero. They were able to:
- Install smart metering and motor speed invertors to measure and identify the peaks and troughs in heat and investigate ways to make energy savings.
- Review and replace inefficient boilers.
- Initiate a recycling scheme and remove all waste paper bins at individual desks to encourage all employees to take part.
- Invest in movement sensitive lighting systems and high tech hand dryers.
- Install a green roof on one of their London office buildings to promote biodiversity and staff engagement. This was designed by the living roof pioneer DustyGedge and included accommodating beehives containing 70,000 bees looked after by a professional beekeeper who trained staff volunteers. In the first season, 120lbs of honey were produced.
- Encourage the green teams to work closely with the Facilities department to ensure the programme was optimised within the organisation.
Hearst Magazines UK’s Facilities Director, Diane Thorpe, says: ‘We have worked hard to reach our goal of becoming carbon neutral and we are proud to be a CarbonNeutral® certified company. The measures we have introduced have saved us money, they are good for business as well as the environment.
Offsetting their emissions
Overall, the company reduced its energy use on utilities by 48%. They chose to offset their remaining emissions by supporting renewable energy projects around the world. This meant they were able to provide essential finance to projects such as the Andipatti Wind Power Project in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, which would not otherwise happen. The wind farm generates 90,000 tonnes of emissions reductions on average per year. Inaddition to the emission reduction benefits, the project indirectly improves the overall air quality and contributes to the local economy and livelihood of residents through the creation of jobs for local people. Vestas, the main contractor of the project in providing turbines, has undertaken various educational initiatives in nearby towns as partof their CSR programme such as providing school furniture and arranging for inter-school sports and culture programmes. The total energy demand in Tamil Naduis increasing exponentially and the state suffers power cuts for more than 11 hours a day. The wind farm consists of 30 Vestas turbines, each of 1.65MW, generating approximately 100,000 MWh of clean renewable electricity annually. This reduces CO2 emissions by displacing electricity which would have otherwise been drawn primarily from fossil fuel power stations. The promotion of renewable energy sources has largely been to solve this energy shortage. The quality of the project is assured through third party validation and verification to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
Kitty Corrigan, Green Consultant, Hearst Magazines UK, commented “We are proud to support renewable energy projects in the developing world. We are determined to reduce our greenhouse gas emission levels even further next year and appreciate the help and support we have received over the years from The CarbonNeutral Company. We are very pleased with the continued work at all levels within our organisation to build and manage our environmental programme and achieve our carbon neutral goal. It is a true testament to everyone’s commitment and enthusiasm that we were able to reduce our footprint so dramatically.
Looking to the future
Hearst Magazines UK is represented on the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Environment Committee and are working with them to reduce CO2 emissions in the production process of magazines. Both Hearst Magazines UK and the PPA are keen to make magazine publishing a greener, more efficient industry.
We have worked hard to reach our goal of becoming carbon neutral and we are proud to be a CarbonNeutral® certified company
Diane Thorpe, Hearst Magazines UK