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Home » FIPP World Media Congress 2024: Sustainability

FIPP World Media Congress 2024: Sustainability

At the 46th FIPP World Media Congress held last month in Cascais, Portugal, sustainability was a key theme. In this roundup, which will form part of our Congress report released tomorrow, we hear why sustainability isn’t just about doing good, it’s also about thriving.

There’s no question that the media industry has made a concerted effort to get behind numerous sustainability initiatives, both industry specific and government led.

Much of this momentum has come from an ethical stance, but also for commercial reasons – advertising brand partners are increasingly demanding transparency about the sustainability initiatives of their publishing partners as part of their own supply chain audits.

FIPP CEO, Alastair Lewis, noted this in his opening remarks, saying to the assembled audience, “You must ensure ESG is central to your business.”

That’s not to say it’s an easy or smooth transition. One of the UK’s foremost magazine publishers told us they had reverted to using plastic shrink wrap because the compostable shrink wrap they had been using was causing havoc with local authorities’ refuse collection machines.

However, necessity is the mother of invention, and new tech is increasingly focusing on helping publishers make this transition, with Ukraine’s ReLeaf (who manufacture paper out of fallen leaves) a standout example.

Digital developments are also coming thick and fast with TMB, as just one example, announcing a partnership with Theta Labs, a blockchain company with 30,000 nodes that will improve TMB’s video streaming quality as well as offering significant efficiency.

Waiting is not an option

The theme was taken up by Niina Niemelä, Senior Manager of Sustainability at one the world’s leading paper producers, UPM Communication Papers, who said, “The role of sustainability is changing, before it was seen as a choice but it is now an imperative. We must act now to save the planet, wildlife populations have fallen two thirds over the past fifty years.”

“Businesses must disclose their impact and commit to meaningful action, compliance alone won’t suffice.”

She added, “We are an early adopter of the Climate Pledge and we have 100% traceability for our wood. For each tree we cut, we plant at least one tree (or more) to replace it.”

However, rather than sustainability being seen as an additional cost burden she added a positive note, “Sustainability isn’t just about doing good, it’s also about thriving – companies who embrace sustainable practices typically outperform their peers, as well as improve stakeholder engagement.”

Purpose over profit

Staying on the topic of sustainability and social impact, Archie Carrasco, CEO of AGC Power Holdings Corp. in the Philippines, emphasized the importance of balancing humanity with digital advancement.

By prioritizing social impact over financial gain, Carrasco highlighted how businesses can reshape their values and promote sustainable growth, “In a world driven by consumerism, we as leaders have the responsibility to emphasize the importance of doing things for greater purpose.”

Focusing on purpose has made our own media brands much more resilient and attractive.

Archie Carrasco, CEO of AGC Power Holdings Corp.

He added a word of advice for the assembled delegates, “People tend to be unhappy when their work no longer matches their personal values, especially when work becomes robotic.

“Purpose and enjoyment is essential for GenZ and aligned values will support your long term success. This values include concerns over climate change, social inequality and the mental health crisis.”

Carrasco concluded, “Ensure your company’s mission reflects your purpose, and apply this purpose to every part of your organization”

Note the word, “Every”.

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