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The media and climate change

How is the media sector addressing the climate challenge?

Climate change is the defining challenge of our age. As the impact of human activity on global warming and its consequences become increasingly evident, the need to transition to carbon net zero has never been greater.

At CMS we are fortunate to have the expertise of a Tier 1 Environment Law practice to draw on. This has enabled us to be leaders in the legal sector on climate action (see more about our action in this area on page 23) but also to work closely with clients on theirs.

In tackling the climate crisis, each sector and every individual has an important role to play, not least the media sector. We have been speaking to people across the sector about how they are facing this challenge head on and the unique power of the media industry to help drive the fundamental changes we need to bring about to save our planet. 

Although the number of people employed in media organisations is relatively small, their combined influence makes the sector’s role disproportionate to its size. Primarily, this is because the media enjoys a unique position: beyond a committed focus to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards net zero, media outlets have enormous power to inform and shape public opinion and, potentially, to change the behaviour of their viewers, listeners and readers. To deliver the latter with credibility, they must first be seen to achieve the former. 

There is a growing body of regulation and legislation in this area that all companies need to keep on top of. The timeline on pages 26–27 shows just how much this has ramped up in 2021. 

But in being seen, heard or read, every media organisation has a special responsibility; as one of the greatest influencers of public opinion in our society, the media plays a pivotal role. 

In this report we take a closer look at what is happening in practice.

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The media and climate change
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Key contacts

Victoria Gaskell
Partner
UK Media Team Leader
London
T +44 20 7067 3230
Olivia Jamison
Partner
London
T +44 20 7367 2055
John Enser
Partner
TMIC Practice Group Leader
London
T +44 207 067 3183
Paul Guite
Partner
Co-Head of Media
London
T +44 207 067 3465
Rebekah Hayes
Partner
London
T +44 20 7067 3277
Selina Potter
Partner
Head of Broadcasting
London
T +44 20 7067 3193
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