The Guardian announced Wednesday that it will no longer accept advertising from fossil fuel companies, citing the industry’s “decades-long effort” to prevent climate action.
The policy, effective immediately, will apply across Guardian Media Group, including the newspaper’s British edition as well as digital versions in the U.S. and Australia, print editions of the Observer and Guardian Weekly, and the company’s digital apps.
In its statement, the company notes that it has received feedback asking it to go further and ban advertising from industries that are major contributors to carbon emissions, such as the automobile or vacation industries.
However, the statement notes that taking that step would likely be financially untenable and, “more importantly, fossil fuel extractors are qualitatively different. The intent — and extent — of their lobbying efforts has explicitly harmed the environmental cause over the course of many years — as our own reporting has shown and environmental campaigners have powerfully argued."
“Many environmental experts have called out the difference between fossil fuel extractors and their foundational role in the carbon economy, and other sectors with high emissions,” the statement adds.
The company notes that advertising comprised about 40 percent of its revenues in 2019 and that its publications’ financial model is likely to “remain precarious over the next few years.”
“It’s true that rejecting some adverts might make our lives a tiny bit tougher in the very short term,” the company said. “Nonetheless, we believe building a more purposeful organization and remaining financially sustainable have to go hand in hand.”
Earlier in January, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called on newspapers to end their acceptance of fossil fuel advertising, rhetorically asking what would be “the first major international newspaper to lead on this.”