Volunteer industry group, Comms Declare, has released an eye-opening new report highlighting the number of Australian advertising and media agencies working with fossil fuel companies and further hindering climate action.
The Fuelling Fantasies report surveyed 200 agencies to gauge their stance on climate change as well as measures taken to limit emissions and partnerships with fossil fuel companies.
At the least, the results are surprising. At the most, they’re embarrassing.
The report found none of the surveyed agencies knew the carbon exposure levels of their highest polluting clients.
Similarly, 61 per cent were unaware of their own agency’s carbon footprint, while only 43 per cent of businesses had implemented emissions reduction policies.
The survey also explored the relationship between media and advertising agencies and fossil fuel companies, specifically their climate action approach.
One in five (21 per cent) of agencies said they were against working for fossil fuel companies, and 38 per cent considered climate impacts when choosing new clients. Unfortunately, 33 per cent of agencies were found to have worked with fossil fuel companies in the previous 12 months.
Fuelling Fantasies also measured the transparency of Australia’s top media and advertising agencies, and whether or not they’d disclosed their involvements with fossil fuel companies.
Only five agencies scored an ‘A’ transparency rating: DDB, Leo Burnett, R/GA Sydney, TBWA and Whitegrey. Some of the country’s most prominent agencies scored the lowest rating, ‘C’.
However, Comms Declare also used the report to congratulate and announce its 2021 ‘Climate Champion’ winners.
Benedictus Media was the winner for the second year in a row, being heralded as the most climate-friendly agency, with Republic of Everyone taking second place.
Leo Burnett was adjudged the best performing large agency.
Comms Declare president and founder, Belinda Noble, said media and advertising agencies now had the opportunity to “take charge, persuade, and become accountable”, following tepid legislative action at the COP26 summit.
“The divestment movement, which campaigns investors to move funds out of fossil fuel projects, is 10 years old, and has succeeded in removing more than $US 15 trillion from fossil fuel investments”, she said.
“In the creative industries, talent is the main currency. In recognition of this, Comms Declare is asking agencies and creatives to divest their talents from fossil fuels.
“In addition, we want to influence clients to treat their advertising or marketing or media agency like any other company in their supply chain, and demand that their operations and clients engage in activity that will keep the planet within 1.5 degrees warming.”
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