The impact of our work

The social and environmental impact of the work we undertake for clients is one of our most important CR issues. Our goal is for WPP to be a centre of excellence for environmental and social communication. Three areas of our work are significant:

Corporate responsibility in out client work

Successful brands have always needed creative and compelling marketing. Today, this is more important than ever. Concerns about climate change and poverty have fuelled interest in green and fair trade products. In many regions, businesses are subject to a growing volume of regulation and increased scrutiny from pressure groups, the media and the public on a wide range of social and environmental issues.

Leading companies are responding positively, by embedding ethical values in their brands and developing products with a reduced social or environmental footprint. They need effective marketing to communicate the social and environmental benefits and make these new products desirable to the mass market.

In our Corporate Responsibility Report we profile campaigns for clients which contain work with an environmental or social impact. This work is indicative of a trend emerging in many markets around the world.

Social marketing

These are campaigns with social or environmental objectives, usually undertaken for government or NGO clients. Campaigns often tackle issues related to public health, safety or the environment. They are designed to raise awareness or encourage people to change their behaviour. Several WPP companies specialise in social marketing, including Ogilvy Outreach, Ogilvy PR’s social marketing practice and Thompson Social.

Examples of social marketing campaigns by WPP companies in 2008 are included in our Corporate Responsibility Report, available online at from June 2009.

Tackling climate change will require a huge shift in mindset and a willingness among the public to make lifestyle changes. Effective communication will be essential. WPP is participating in Shaping the Message on Climate Change, an initiative of the UN and International Advertising Association, to improve communication on climate change and ensure a successful outcome at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009. As part of this, WPP’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell led the discussion session during the World Economic Forum in January 2009.

Cause-related marketing

Cause-related marketing links brands to charities, usually through a donation for every product purchased. Executed sensitively, these campaigns benefit both the brand and the charity. Many WPP companies work on cause-related marketing. Examples from 2008 are included in our Corporate Responsibility Report, available online at from June 2009.