Respect for human rights and compliance with relevant law are fundamental principles for WPP and our companies. In our business activities we aim to prevent, identify and address negative impacts on human rights and we look for opportunities to positively promote and support human rights, including children’s rights.
We are guided in our approach by international standards and principles including the International Bill of Human Rights, the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. We are members of the United Nations’ Global Compact.
This policy statement explains how human rights are relevant to our business and the steps we take to protect human rights. It applies to all WPP subsidiaries and should be read in conjunction with the WPP Code of Business Conduct and Sustainability Policy.
What Human Rights issues means to WPP
The main ways that human rights are relevant to WPP are:
We respect the human rights of all employees, including permanent, temporary and contract workers. We select and promote our people on the basis of their qualifications and merit, encouraging diversity. We expect all employees to be treated without discrimination or concern for factors such as race, religion, national origin, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or disability. We seek to provide safe workplaces. We recognise the rights of our employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We will not tolerate harassment or any form of forced, compulsory or child labour.
We expect our suppliers to respect the human rights of their own employees and suppliers and to meet human rights standards that are consistent with WPP’s. All major suppliers are asked to sign the Supplier Version of our Code of Business Conduct, which includes human rights requirements, and they are expected to apply these requirements to their own supply chain.
WPP companies will not undertake work designed to mislead on human rights issues. Where relevant, we will work with our clients on human rights issues and comply with client policies in relation to human rights and marketing.
Work for human rights organisations
Communications campaigns can be used to raise awareness of human rights issues and to encourage action to protect human rights. Our agencies provide creative services to organisations involved in protecting and promoting human rights, often on a pro bono basis (for little or no fee). WPP the parent company supports and encourages this involvement.
To embed our commitment to protect and promote human rights, WPP and its companies will:
- Comply with all relevant laws and support international human rights standards.
- Reflect our commitment to human rights in our policies and procedures.
- Take steps to identify, prevent or address human rights impacts. This includes integrating human rights into our risk management processes.
- Provide training for our employees on human rights.
- Operate a grievance mechanism to enable employees and suppliers to report human rights concerns.
- Publish our Human Rights Policy Statement and report on our approach to human rights.
- Regularly review and update our approach to human rights.
- Take steps to support and promote human rights, including through our pro bono work.
Our Group finance director has responsibility for overseeing our approach to human rights. Each WPP company is expected to comply with this policy and to implement the procedures needed to meet its requirements.
It is the role of the parent company to communicate this policy to all WPP businesses, to provide support and guidance for WPP business leaders and employees on human rights and to integrate human rights considerations into Group-level policies and procedures where relevant.
Reporting a concern
WPP employees can report any human rights concerns via our Right to Speak facility. This is managed by a third-party and overseen by our Internal Audit function.
Suppliers and other stakeholders can report any human rights concerns in relation to WPP and its companies via an independently-managed phone line. This is overseen by our Legal and Internal Audit functions. Details are provided on our website.