From a new mission statement to a new subscriber package, BusinessGreen is evolving alongside the fast-changing green economy
It started with a realisation last autumn that we were celebrating BusinessGreen's 10th anniversary, but were still not 100 per cent sure precisely what we were celebrating. A brand? A website? A publication? A community? The entire green economy? Something even broader still? All of the above?
From that realisation a number of conversations with some of our key stakeholders, subscribers, and readers followed and a theme soon emerged. There was huge respect and affection for BusinessGreen and its daily mix of breaking green business news, in-depth analysis, and thought-provoking opinion. But there was also a nagging sense of confusion over who the brand was for, coupled with a growing sense of frustration over the wider media landscape's failure to give due prominence to the era-defining green economic transition that has steadily gathered pace since the Paris Agreement was gavelled through on that historic, frosty night on the outskirts of the French capital.
And so at the start of this year we took the decision to clarify our position once and for all: to develop a new mission statement and brand identity that would better reflect the green economy's status as a mainstream concern of strategic and existential importance.
Our contention has always been the green economy is the most exciting, most innovative, and most important sector in the UK today. Over the past decade this hypothesis has been vindicated. Thanks to the efforts of many of our readers, the UK has cut carbon emissions faster than any other major industrialised nation, while also growing its economy.
According to official figures, the UK low carbon and renewable energy (LCRE) sector now employs 208,000 people, is worth over £42bn a year, and is growing three times faster than the underlying economy.
However, we have come to understand green economic indicators, while encouraging, are also a little meaningless. They are a bit like those attempts to put a financial value on pollinators or soils. Yes, it may be helpful to price these assets, but when their removal means the collapse of the food systems that nourish civilisation then they are ultimately priceless.
Similarly, the UK green economy may be worth over £42bn a year, but every business is governed by environmental regulations. Every business is exposed to environmental risks. Every business is shaped by environmental technologies.
You may not have a sustainability strategy, but your customers and suppliers do, and your investors want you to have one. You may not be interested in green energy, but it is the dominant part of your power supplies. You may not think climate change is happening, but your insurers do and, more importantly, the rising tides don't care what you think.
At the same time we are painfully, some days traumatically aware, that the green economy's collective progress is yet to make a significant dent in global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact they are rising again, and the risks we all face are rising with them.
All of this leads to a critical realisation. The green economy is not only priceless, the whole economy is to some degree part of the green economy. It may be a badly polluting and dysfunctional part - but it is still affected by the same environmental trends and faces the same environmental risks as everyone else. It will also, like it or not, be pulled more fully into the orbit of ever more sustainable business models.
In short, we are all green business now, and as Europe's leading green business media brand BusinessGreen has a responsibility to reflect that change.
As such today BusinessGreen is launching a new logo, mission statement, content offering, events programme, and subscriber package.
We hope you like the changes and would welcome any constructive comments or feedback you may have.
The most obvious and immediate change is there for all too see at the top of the page in the form of our new logo. We loved our old logo with its incorporation of the recycling logo, and we loved the blue skies and clouds that adorned the website - we stuck with them for over a decade. But now our concerns extend far beyond recycling. The issues we report on each day are too serious for a backdrop of little fluffy clouds.
The new font, we hope you agree, is simple, elegant, and, most of all, authoritative. However, you will see there is also a green dot - a deliberate nod to the environmental issues that define our mission, to a circular and sustainable economy, to Earth itself. Yes, we get all that from a dot. I await my place in Pseud's Corner
However, the logo is just one small part of our new mission and the accompanying value proposition we want to offer you, our readers.
BusinessGreen has always had a mission, but it has never been clearly spelt out. Today we make plain what we'd lazily assumed was obvious. BusinessGreen is for the green economy. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of green business. Its vision is that every business can, and eventually must, become a genuinely sustainable business. Its goal is to inform, connect, and inspire businesses and organisations as they work to build a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous economy.
To deliver on this mission we are revamping our content offering. The changes won't compromise what we already offer. Our news service will remain free to air and we will continue to provide our subscribers with in-depth analysis and thought-provoking opinion. But we are also strengthening and formalising what we offer each month. We'll have new columns from Madeleine Cuff, Michael Holder, and the award-winning Louise Gray and Tom Chivers. There will be a new monthly interview with some of the world's top sustainability executives and regular interviews with leading CEOs. And we'll soon be delivering new broadcast-quality video content, providing an invaluable insight into some of the most exciting green business trends.
In addition, a new Overnight Briefing newsletter and Global Briefing weekly round-up will help ensure our subscribers remain fully abreast of the latest green business developments.
At the same time we are also working on our first editorial campaign. Called Net Zero Now it both passes the 'Ronseal test' and will hopefully provide a valuable resource for businesses and policymakers as they wrestle with the true scale of the decarbonisation challenge.
I have now said it so often I am boring myself, but delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement and averting the worst of the climate crisis is now a single career span undertaking. If you are 50 or under you have a very good chance of seeing how the greatest and most urgent collective project in human history pans out.
Net Zero Now will make the case for full decarbonisation of industrialised economy and explore the immense challenge and opportunities such an ambitious yet essential goal throws up.
Our expanded and yet simultaneously more focused online content offer will be accompanied by a new events programme featuring not just our BusinessGreen Leaders' Awards and the second annual BusinessGreen Leaders' Summit on October 16, but also a new quarterly Morning Briefing half day conference that will provide a deep dive on some of the most pressing green business issues. The inaugural conference will take place this September and will address the crucial topic of TCFD climate reporting and the carbon bubble risks it seeks to address.
The hope is the refreshed website and expanded events programme will help BusinessGreen deliver on its new mission. But it is also an endeavour that like any green business undertaking cannot be completed alone.
BusinessGreen's mission means it is vital to reach as wide an audience as possible, especially as the green economy becomes an ever more mainstream concern. That is why we will continue to keep our news free to air. But the reality is BusinessGreen does not only report on a green economy that is in constant flux, we are also part of a media industry that is facing similar disruption.
Good, mission-oriented journalism, does not come free. Without a viable business model there is no long term future for journalism in the public interest - and I'd argue there are few public interests more critical than the green economy.
Consequently, as part of the rebrand we are also refreshing our subscriber offer and strengthening the marketing solutions we can offer our sponsors. From today subscribers will be able to access an even more compelling service featuring all our new content types. But we are also launching a new BusinessGreen Leaders' package that provides access to our Summit, Morning Briefings, and new annual report, as well as all our online content. If you are not a subscriber already I would urge you to check it out. And if you are a subscriber, thank you for your continued support.
Our goal is to provide a crystal clear answer to the question 'what is BusinessGreen for?' We are for the green economy. With the support of you, our readers and subscribers, we think we can play a role in the development of a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous economy.
A few years ago I interviewed Lord Stern, who famously described climate change as the world's biggest market failure. However, his landmark report was, in part, misunderstood, because while everyone focused on the market failure of not putting a price on carbon it also identifed five other market failures that fuel the climate crisis: a failure of R&D investment; a failure of capital infrastructure investment; a failure to build networks where benefits are shared; a failure to account for co-benefits; and a failure of information distribution
BusinessGreen's mission to inform, connect, and inspire can help tackle these inter-locking failures.
Good environmental business journalism can help create networks, connect parties with shared interests, and most of all can ensure critical information is disseminated. The hope is we can provide the information and help catalyse the partnerships and relationships that help you can get on with the really serious work of building the green markets that will shape the 21st century.
A decade on from the launch of BusinessGreen it remains the case that the scale, pace and urgency of the biggest and fastest economic and industrial revolution in history remains tragically under-reported.
The Mission of the new-look BusinessGreen is to shine a light on this era-defining sector, to embrace our journalistic responsibilities, and provide you with the information and tools you need to make a difference.
It is not hyperbole to suggest the future of the 21st century rests on the ability of green businesses to change the world. And in telling the story of the planetary scale mission you are embarked on, we at BusinessGreen are here to help.
PS. We've got a short, moodily lit new video to explain the new mission. I can only apologise for the absolute state of the unironed shirt.
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