Ashley Norris, editor of new sustainability website Transition Earth, looks at what is becoming a diverse and innovative media niche.
In recent years sustainability has moved from being a peripheral concern to one which is central to the business plans of most media companies.
It is a topic that we have explored extensively in FIPP, looking at how everything from paper recycling processes for magazines through to changing working practices is aiding our members’ quests to become carbon-neutral businesses.
At the same time, many media brands have begun to look more outwardly at the changing attitudes of consumers. In a trend that has been exacerbated by the Covid19 pandemic, readers are becoming highly engaged by content that explains how they can do their bit to help ameliorate climate change and create more equal societies.
Inspired by both the UN and the work of the WEF (World Economic Forum) brands are also renewing their commitment to work individually and with partners to help the world reach the 17 Global Goals which were first outlined in 2015.
The growth of interest among readers in sustainability has helped create a thriving group of both B2C and B2B media startups that take a more in-depth look at the issues. Here is a selection of some of the most innovative and authoritative.
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One of the most established media brands in the sustainability space (it has been in business for 20 years), Edie.net aims to empower business executives to take their enterprises in more environmentally-friendly directions. The website, which delivers updates from a wide spectrum of industries including food, energy, and transport and also offers analysis of new initiatives and protocols is the company’s flagship product. Its portfolio of products also numbers events, including, the UK’s biggest sustainability and energy exhibition, Net-Zero Live; awards and leaders’ forums.
The company has spun off into other media too and features industry reports and business guides, videos, webinars and podcasts. Edie claims to have connections with over 100,000 sustainability, energy and environmental professionals
Based in Amsterdam Vegconomist is the house online magazine of the vegan/plant-based food industry. The site, which has been active for nearly three years now, keeps its B2B readers up to speed on who is launching, who is buying who and where the investment cash is heading. It is the only site that regularly charts the rise of cultured meat, the lab-based meat products that some investors predict will become the world’s major food source within the next 20 years.
For a more global perspective on sustainability there is Green Queen, a site based in Hong Kong which covers the Asian world as much as it does the west. The brainchild of an entrepreneur called Sonalie Figueiras it has been in existence for several years now cataloguing the latest sustainability news for consumers. Topics include plant-based food, climate change and wellness. The business is mostly funded through sponsored posts and advertising.
The Global GoalsCast podcast is the brainchild of Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman who in their gripping episodes highlight some fascinating stories of how individuals and organisations are working towards achieving the UN Global Goals. Recent issues have focused on the Covid pandemic and the way that entrepreneurs and organisations have been inspired to accelerate their plans to construct a fairer, more equal world. The business model is sponsorship based with the current backers being Mastercard.
Sales of plant-based food are rocketing, fuelled by consumers’ concern about their personal health as well as the impact that their food consumption has on the environment. Plant Based News, which is UK-based and owned by Robert Lockie, KBW Ventures, KOMS Media & Investments, seeks to chart the rise of the genre by offering a mixture of news, opinions and recipes aimed at both vegan consumers and those within the plant-based industry. The site claims a reach of over 70 million people per month with a social following of 2.5 million followers.
Much of the innovation in the battle to reduce carbon emission has been through the evolution of smart cities, where transport systems, buildings and even street architecture are re-imagined to create more sustainable living and working environments. Smart Cities World has been chronicling the rise of the space for almost five years now. Based in London it operates a broad business model leveraging reports, conferences and commercial partnerships.
A poster-child of the blog boom of the early 00s Treehugger has been around for 15 years now constantly focused on its goal to make it easy for consumers to research and purchase environmental products and services. It has been quite a journey for the site too and it is now on its fourth owner, US B2B specialist dotdash. The site claims three million US readers each month which skews significantly female.
The latest addition to what has become a fast-moving and innovative sector, Transition Earth’s aim is to chronicle how entrepreneurs, tech, and organisations are innovating in the battle against climate exchange. This includes covering the latest electric transport vehicles, charting the rise of cultured meat products and examining the growth of smart cities and more. Like several of the titles in the space it largely addresses a B2B audience but in a B2C way.