Mediabrands’ Media Responsibility Index says Aussie media lags in sustainability + inclusivity

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Mediabrands’ Media Responsibility Index says Aussie media lags in sustainability + inclusivity

Australian media are lagging global counterparts on sustainability commitments and DE&I ambitions are not translating into accountability. These are two key findings of the Australian report of IPG Mediabrands’ latest Media Responsibility Index, launched today.


Compiled by IPG Mediabrands and its intelligence arm MAGNA, the Media Responsibility Index (MRI) aims to raise awareness and standards around harm reduction for brands and consumers in advertising.  It allows marketers to incorporate brand and consumer safety priorities into their investment decision-making against a variety of media types.

Says Lucy Formosa-Morgan (pictured above), managing director, MAGNA Australia: “As brands pursue ESG commitments and consumers become more critical of where brands choose to advertise, advertising environments are increasingly under the microscope.

“The index provides invaluable insight for marketers making decisions re media spend; plus a greater understanding of the Australian media landscape to help our media partners make positive changes within our industry.  Together this helps ensure online content is on par with, or in some cases exceeds, international platform standards,” Formosa-Morgan explained.

MRI 4.0 assesses partners across four ESG aligned priorities — Safety, Inclusivity, Sustainability and Data Ethics — chosen so brands can easily extend how they measure their impact in these spaces to include media.  The comprehensive survey comprises 200+ questions across the 4 priorities to provide Mediabrands with in-depth analysis of each partner’s position in these areas.

A Mediabrands survey found that one-quarter of clients adjusted their media mix based on Global MRI findings, and 90% said they were interested in finding new methods to assess media value beyond price efficiency alone.

Adds Formosa-Morgan: “Local partner coverage now represents 58% of total spend in Australia, and when combined with the Global MRI, represents 81% of the total Australian media market. The intel from this year’s report, suggests the Australian market is making significant inroads into safety considerations, however much still needs to be done in the areas of sustainability and inclusivity.”

Key Australian findings include:

  • – Broadcasters not delivering foundational Sustainability. Very few local partners delivering the foundational Sustainability elements, where their U.S. counterparts are all delivering at a minimum; ESG Frameworks, Net Zero commitments, Emissions measurement, and others.
  • – DE&I ambitions not translating into accountability. Whilst many media organisations in Australia have undertaken efforts in DE&I, this is not yet translating to on-screen targets for most major networks
  • – Enforcement through offline drives consistency in Safety. Many digital platforms are historically broadcasters, contributing to a uniformity in safety standards at relatively high levels
  • – Out Of Home Sector is maturing in its approach to Sustainability.
  • – Digital Platforms have significant opportunity to improve in Data Ethics.

Says Harrison Boys, director, standards and investment product, Mediabrands APAC: “The Australian market has shown that there is significant effort and maturity in Safety considerations. However, there is a considerable opportunity for partners to accelerate their efforts in Inclusivity and Sustainability, which are areas that are lagging when compared to global industry best practice. Furthermore, with increased government prioritisation of data regulation, partners should be mindful of their Data Ethics practices.”

Now in its fourth consecutive year, the MRI has transformed from an analytical study of 10 social platforms into an actionable toolset that assesses 150+ partners from a variety of formats across 15 countries and establishing four new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) priorities for partner accountability.

Says Eileen Kiernan, global CEO, Mediabrands: “Clients across the world are increasingly pursuing ESG criteria within their own businesses and MRI provides an annual resource to support these goals along with advocating for stronger, safer standards in media.  Additionally, MRI is an important underpinning for Mediabrands’ Media for Good positioning, putting responsibility at the heart of every media decision, as concern over the interplay and societal impact of media and misinformation increases.”