Venerable left-leaning British newspaper The Guardian, which has most recently earned accolades for breaking news leaked by Edward Snowden about the scale and scope of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, this month officially launched a U.S. arm of its Guardian Sustainable Business (GSB) platform.
The new U.S. site is expected to become an integral part of the Guardian US, offering commentary, blogs, and analysis on how U.S. companies are “rising to meet today's unprecendented [sic] sustainability challenges.” The site is also designed to act as a resource for professionals working to embed sustainability into their organizations.
A large part of GSB’s revenue model revolves around its “Sustainability hubs,” which are content series developed by exclusive sponsors but independently produced by The Guardian. Launch sponsors of the GSB’s U.S. platform include Nike (NYSE: NKE), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and the United Nations Global Compact.
The Guardian is a member of the Guardian Media Group of newspapers, radio stations and print media, including The Observer Sunday newspaper, The Guardian Weekly international newspaper and Auto Trader. All have been owned by The Scott Trust, a charitable foundation that existed between 1936 and 2008 to ensure the The Guardian maintains editorial independence, even as it has consistently posted sizeable financial losses. In 2008, the Scott Trust's assets were transferred to a new company, The Scott Trust Limited.
The Guardian launched its U.S. office and web site in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in 2011. It now has nearly 60 employees, roughly half of which are editorial staff. Nearly one-quarter quarter of GSB's online readers already come from the United States, according to the newspaper.
Editorial team members recruited for the new site include managing editor Jennifer Kho, who was formerly digital strategy editor at GreenBiz.com, and editor-at-large Marc Gunther, a sustainability writer and speaker who has also worked closely with GreenBiz.com and Fortune. “I’m now dividing my time between Fortune and The Guardian, which, I suppose, goes to show that the sustainability agenda can cross political, cultural and national boundaries,” Gunther wrote in a recent GSB blog.
He added: “Working with the Brits is a treat – they are a lively and irreverent bunch, none more so than Jo Confino, who is an executive editor of The Guardian and founder of the sustainable business site.”
Confino, a former financial reporter who helped develop The Guardian’s internal sustainability initiatives, is providing overall direction for the GSB platform, which The Guardian intends to launch in other regions of the world in the years ahead.
"Sustainable business practices are beginning to move from the periphery to the mainstream in the U.S….” Confino said in a statement. "The Guardian's global, open and collaborative approach to journalism allows us to broaden and deepen our coverage in the U.S. and help play a role in helping to foster this change.”
Upcoming U.S. contributors announced by GSB include sustainability authors Andrew Winston and Amy Larkin, World Wildlife Fund's Jason Clay, Ceres' Mindy Lubber, BSR's Aron Cramer and the Rainforest Alliance's Tensie Whelan. Also planned for publication are interviews with entertainer will.i.am as well as "chief sustainability officers of some of America's largest companies."
Slideshow photo by Phil Gyford.