Newspaper and magazine companies seek to lessen environmental impact

A handful of large publishers are beginning to think about the eco-impact of the paper they publish on. The paper industry is the fourth-largest source of carbon dioxide emissions among U.S. manufacturers. Paper production uses gobs of energy, and then there’s the impact of chopping down trees at the front end and of recycling or burning old newspapers and magazines at the back. Time Inc. participated in a study published this year that determined that an average copy of Time magazine resulted in about 0.29 pound of greenhouse gas-emissions; in May, the company asked its paper suppliers to reduce their emissions 20 percent by 2012. Rupert Murdoch recently announced a plan to make News Corporation carbon neutral. There is, of course, more to the trend than altruism: “We’ve recognized that these are issues that are important to our readers and, increasingly, important to our advertisers,” says David J. Refkin of Time Inc. Declining circulation of many newspapers is also helping to decrease emissions, as readers flock to accessible, intelligent, pun-filled online media. Ahem.