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Green Challenge

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September Green Challenge: Making a world of difference

Mark Hargreaves reports on how green-thinking news printers and publishers help the environment and their local community

ARE you up for the Green Challenge? Last November PJ launched the Green Challenge, an initiative designed to champion newspapers, printers and suppliers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty with projects designed to protect the environment.Our Green Challenge hall of fame has been proud to publicise how newspaper publishers have instigated initiatives that reduce their own carbon footprint.

Many have also reached out into their own communities and encouraged readers to come up with innovative, exciting and, above all, practical environmental projects. They have worked with their communities, to encourage and publicise and applaud.

There would be a deficit in our community responsibility if we, on the one hand, carried headlines proclaiming the threat of global food shortages, the need for sustainable manufacturing, threats to our environment and so on while, on the other hand, did little to combat these environmental headaches ourselves.

Are you cutting your electricity usage, recycling water, plastic or paper? Who has a cycle to work initiative? Whose car fleet has been transferred to Liquid Petroleum Gas? Do you use eco friendly cleaning products?

Major regional newspapers have run exciting environmental awards geared to recognising the environmental efforts of local businesses, schools and individuals and there are some national newspapers heavily involved in environmental projects; together with industry suppliers with some fantastic environmental initiatives.

If you are rising to the Green Challenge, let us know. Through the pages of PJ and accompanying website at www.newsmedia.org.uk, we will spread the word throughout the news publication industry. This not just about ‘blowing your own trumpet’much more importantly, it’s about letting other organisations in the industry know what can be done to help protect our environment and – hopefully – encourage them to pick up the gauntlet with their own projects.

Little can be more important than protecting the world we live in for our children and their children. All you need to do is get in contact with a brief outline of your environmental project and we’ll do the rest – from compiling all the necessary information to writing the article.

Shropshire Star’s war The first paper to rise to PJ’s Green Challenge was the Shropshire Star with its War on Waste campaign (below, right).

The aim was to persuade people to make a concerted effort to reduce the amount of waste they were putting in their bins. Throughout the course of the campaign the Shropshire Star ran regular features, recipes, competitions and expert advice columns. The paper was inundated with responses from readers expressing their support, indicating that they intend to live increasingly sustainable lives and offering their own hints and tips.

Exeter’s Green Team The Green Team initiative run by Exeter’s Express & Echo was a fantastic project which specifically targeted schoolchildren.

Schools were given the opportunity to form their own Green Teams and for every environmental task they carried out they received a leaf, and then for every 10 leaves they got a branch. Once they had a complete branch they were given £50 to spend on environmental projects and once they amassed three branches they received a virtual tree and a further £150.

Since the launch of Green Team two-and-a-half years ago, 26 schools have adopted the project with many of then having a waiting list for Green Team places.

Editor Marc Astley said: “Green Team has been a tremendous success and we have every intention of continuing it for the foreseeable future.

“It’s been a great way of raising environmental awareness among schoolchildren and it’s really brought the Express & Echo right into the heart of the community.

“I’m also hoping that Green Team will also have helped many youngsters get the newspaper reading bug, something they will hopefully carry through into their adult lives.

Archant Championing the Environment Archant demonstrated how an organisation can embrace and support environmental issues across its newspapers and companies.

This multi-faceted approach included the appointment of a dedicated sustainability correspondent who had three main roles: as environmental journalist; a co-ordinator of environmental projects across all Archant companies; and informing staff of what the company was doing to help protect the environment in their local communities.

The result has seen Archant introduce a number of environmental initiatives across the group, with many of the ideas coming from their own staff.

Awarding Environmental Initiative Both the Sheffield Telegraph and Evening Chronicle hit upon the idea of running environmental awards to encourage environmental activity in the community (below, left).

In March 2011, the Evening Chronicle ran its fourth prize giving ceremony which received more than 100 entries. The awards, as part of the newspaper’s overall Go Green campaign, raised awareness of environmental issues and really stimulated the debate as to how small changes could save money as well as make  difference to carbon footprints.

Also in its fourth year, the Sheffield Telegraph’s Environment Awards received more than 200 entries across nine categories. They provide an excellent example of how a regional newspaper can make a huge difference in helping its community to really get involved in local environmental issues.

The awards have produced some outstanding stories about people and organisations who genuinely want to do all they can do to protect the environment we live in.

What all these examples have in common is in demonstrating the influential role the newspaper industry has when it takes the bit between its teeth and how it can interact closely with its community on important local issues.

If you have an environment success story to tell, or if you have carried campaigns or stories that champion green initiatives in your community, contact mark@cullumpublishing.co.uk. to be included in the Green Challenge showcase in PJ.

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