Google and other Tech Giants are Forming a Global Alliance for Responsible Marketing


Under the stewardship of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), 17 of the world’s leading advertisers, Google, and other tech giants are forming a Global Alliance for Responsible Media. This strategic partnership marks the first time that organisations representing all sides of the industry are combining their efforts toward a common purpose. That purpose will impose responsibilities for ethical, responsible, and sustainable procurement practices, on all organisations subscribing to its terms.

The Purpose of the Global Alliance

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media puts its focus on “digital safety.” That safety extends to brand marketers, who seek assurances of a responsible media environment for their promotional output, and that their ads aren’t running alongside controversial content that might include hateful, misleading, or otherwise offensive material. Organisations within the Alliance are collaborating to drive industry-wide improvements in the safety, trustworthiness, and sustainability of advertising and other media.

A responsible media environment must coincide with socially responsible marketing practices, on the part of all participating businesses. On a local, national, or global scale, organisations must balance their money-making operations with activities that benefit society, and attract consumers who wish to make a positive difference with their purchases.

Such practices go hand in hand with ethical and sustainable procurement and supply chain practices, and corresponding moves to guarantee and enforce environmental stewardship and responsibility from all stakeholders. Optimisation of procurement and supply chain operations targeting decreased damage, with sustainable sourcing, manufacturing, and product distribution must also come into play.

A Mission for Safe Advertising and Responsible Media

To date, the Global Alliance’s push for digital safety has been largely conceptual. The Alliance says its first steps will be to “form and empower an inclusive working group charged with developing a set of initial ideas and prioritising next steps.”

Putting these lofty ideals into practice will require all stakeholders to take a realistic and unbiased look at their own practices, and the factors presenting challenges and opportunities to implementation. Businesses will need to consider the best ways to leverage new media industry initiatives, metrics, and technology in helping to prevent ad fraud, ensure brand safety, and maximise visibility in their marketing endeavours.

Putting Digital Safety and Responsible Marketing Into Practice

Members of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media are collaborating with publishers and platforms to develop strategies and methodology for dealing with harmful and misleading media environments. They are also working to develop and deliver these new measures against a concrete set of actions, processes, and protocols which will be put in place for protecting brands.

Alliance members will collaborate in identifying actions that give better protection to consumers online, while working towards a media environment where hate speech, bullying, and disinformation are challenged, where personal data is protected and used responsibly when given, and where everyone — especially children — is better protected online.

As consumer demand increases and diversifies, global supply chains are becoming more complex. A 2019 McKinsey report on sustainability suggests that over 90% of the damage caused to the environment by consumer packaged goods (CPG) producers — including 80% of greenhouse gas emissions — comes from the supply chain.

For organisations seeking to honour commitments to zero carbon footprint emissions for their in-house and external production activities, implementing sustainability initiatives will require business stakeholders to agree upon and create KPIs that incorporate these initiatives in a long term and effective manner. For example, CPG companies will need to achieve a more than 90% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in order to meet climate change agreements. At present, fewer than 20% of supply chain managers say they have the necessary visibility into sustainable practices in their supply chain to make this happen.

With supply chains spanning countries and continents, and taking in multiple suppliers, each with their own quality and sustainability standards, organisations will need to enable the right technologies to simplify supply chain processes and reduce waste. Efficient supply and demand planning will be required, to minimise overproduction. Route optimisation and the consolidation of shipments will be needed, to reduce fossil fuel consumption and transportation costs. And standards must be put in place to mandate ethical sourcing and transparency, on the part of suppliers.

Uniting All Aspects of the Media and Advertising Industry

All members of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media acknowledge their collective power to significantly improve the health of the media ecosystem.

Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers sums it up this way: “We see this new alliance as an essential next step following the Media Charter we published in Cannes last year, and WFA is committed to supporting this expanded effort. Our shared ambition is to create a sustainable advertising environment that positively impacts people, communities and society at large.”

If your business isn’t operating in an ethical and sustainable manner, investors are less likely to invest, employees are more likely to quit, suppliers will stop supplying, and profits will decrease significantly, because consumers will be unwilling to buy your products or services.

One of the major ways of knowing that you are following ethical standards is by knowing your suppliers. Procurement is ideally placed to help lead these initiatives and understand the supplier universe, enforce contract terms, etc. Practitioners must develop effective methods of sourcing, analysing, and keeping track of market and supplier intelligence in real-time, to make effective and insightful decisions on marketing spend.

Agreeing on and creating key performance indicators for the implementation of these initiatives can transform processes to guarantee that marketing procurement KPIs link to business KPIs – and have critical measurements that foster business synergy.

Strategic partnerships like the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, sustainable procurement, and creating an environment that nurtures industry best practices are all set to be hot topics at ProcureCon Marketing EU 2020, taking place in June at the Twickenham Stadium, London. 

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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