How we manage CR risk and opportunity

Issue How it is managed Aims
The social and environmental impact of our work for clients. Opportunities to advise clients on marketing with a social or environmental dimension are identified by our companies. Be a centre of excellence for environmental and social communication.
Marketing ethics, compliance with marketing standards, and protection of personal, consumer and corporate data and increasing transparency about our marketing practices. Currently managed by our operating companies with referral to Group directors as necessary. In 2009 we are introducing quarterly review meetings for senior Group managers to discuss potential ethical issues in our client work and identify risk areas (see below). Comply with all laws and industry codes governing marketing material. Improve standards and measurement in marketing practices.
Employment, including diversity and equal opportunities, business ethics, employee development, remuneration, communication and health and safety. Human resources policies are set and implemented at operating company level. WPP’s chief talent officer has overall responsibility for attracting, developing and retaining our talent. Improve standards and measurement in employment.
Social investment, including pro bono work, donations to charity and employee volunteering. Pro bono projects are agreed between WPP companies and the charities concerned. Many of our companies have long-standing relationships with their pro bono partners. WPP the parent company helps to coordinate pro bono projects involving multiple WPP companies or cross-Group collaboration. To make a significant contribution to good causes through pro bono application of our marketing skills and direct donations to charity.
Climate change, including the emissions from energy used in our offices and during business travel. We have appointed cross-functional groupwide Energy Action Teams and a network of agency climate champions to help implement our climate change strategy. Measure and reduce our CO2 emissions and continue to purchase high quality carbon offset. Our goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010.

CR issues in our supply chain and our environmental impacts beyond climate change, are also important for WPP.

Paul Richardson is the Board director responsible for assessing corporate responsibility risks. He chairs WPP’s Corporate Responsibility Committee, established in 2003. The committee is made up of senior representatives from our agencies. Its role is to advise on policy. The committee met once formally in 2008 and its members communicated frequently to discuss a range of issues including:

  • our climate change strategy;
  • privacy and data protection issues;
  • managing ethical issues in our companies’ work for clients;
  • improving data collection; and
  • employment and diversity.

Paul Richardson provides an annual assessment of corporate responsibility risks and performance to the Audit Committee. This is in addition to the business and financial reporting risks process described in Internal control.

WPP’s Code of Business Conduct and CR Policy set out the standards we expect our people to meet in their work. They provide guidance in dealing with a wide range of ethical, social and environmental subjects. Both documents are publicly available on our website,

We have established a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) relating to employment, social investment, environment and climate change. We report performance against these in our annual Corporate Responsibility Report.

CR data is collected quarterly through our Group financial reporting system. WPP’s internal audit function assesses CR risks relating to employment, marketing ethics and business ethics during reviews of Group companies.