Guardian bans advertising from fossil fuel firms

Josh Peachey's picture

The Guardian is to become the first major news outlet to ban advertising from fossil fuels companies. 

It will stop allowing advertising from oil and gas companies, in a bid to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, and increase reporting on the climate emergency. 

The ban will apply to any business primarily involved in extracting fossil fuels, including many of the world’s largest polluters.

Katharine Viner, Editor in Chief, announced last year that the Guardian would adjust its style guide to represent the scale of the environmental challenge facing the Earth, using phrases “climate emergency” and “global heating” rather than “climate change” and “global warming”. 

Environmental groups called for news outlets to reject advertising from companies that drastically worsen their carbon footprint - only a handful of small outlets have adopted this approach until now.

The decision comes at a tricky time for the wider media industry as the Guardian Media Group board warns the business is facing substantial headwinds this year. 

Advertising makes up 40% of GMG revenue, but hoped that the decision to ban fossil fuel adverts would appeal to other companies who would like to advertise with the Guardian. 

The newspaper's acting chief executive, Anna Bateson, and chief revenue officer, Hamish Nicklin, said: “We believe many brands will agree with our stance, and might be persuaded to choose to work with us more as a result. The future of advertising lies in building trust with consumers, and demonstrating a real commitment to values and purpose.”

The campaign group Greenpeace welcomed the move. “This is a watershed moment, and the Guardian must be applauded for this bold move to end the legitimacy of fossil fuels,” said Mel Evans, senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK.