Business impact

The significance of corporate responsibility (CR) to WPP’s business continues to increase, notwithstanding the economic downturn. Climate change continues to be a major concern for citizens, governments and businesses and is driving an increased focus on social and environmental issues. Our leading multinational and national clients are responding to this agenda in their operations, products, supply chains and marketing. Serving the CR communications needs of our clients is a growing business opportunity for WPP companies. In addition there are a number of CR issues – both risks and opportunities – that we manage across our own business.

Our CR activity supports our business strategy in a number of areas. These include:

  • Generating new business opportunities
    Increasingly, leading companies require a communications services partner to help them communicate their social and environmental achievements. Our CR program enhances our understanding of these issues and supports our businesses in competitive pitches.
  • Attracting and retaining the best people
    There is strong competition for talent in our industry and questions relating to CR are frequently raised by our people and new candidates during job interviews. Creating a diverse company culture, adopting leading talent practices and demonstrating our commitment to social and environmental issues can help us to attract and retain the best people. A diverse workforce also enhances our understanding of consumers in all markets.
  • Enhancing our reputation
    We reduce the risk of adverse publicity by ensuring that our work complies fully with regulations and marketing standards and carefully evaluating the risk associated with new commissions. Our pro bono work and support for charities and community organizations reinforces our reputation for making a positive contribution in society.
  • Meeting investor expectations
    WPP share owners continue to show interest in our CR practices and we aim to respond constructively to their requests for information. In 2008 this included requests for information from the following organizations:
    • –  Carbon Disclosure Project
    • –  Cooperative Insurance Services (CIS)
    • –  Dow Jones Sustainability Index
    • –  Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS)
    • –  Governance Metrics International
    • –  IWFinancial
    • –  Pensions Investment Research Consultants (PIRC)
    • –  SiRi
    Investors raised questions on a number of subjects including our climate change strategy, supply chain management, our approach to managing ethical issues in client work and our procedures for protecting human rights. WPP is included in the FTSE4Good Index.
  • Improving efficiency
    Our climate change strategy is reducing costs associated with business travel and energy use.