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Corporate responsibility

The rise and rise of CR

As Western economies moved out of recession in 2010, the focus of major brand owners has returned to managing their reputation and, in particular, positioning themselves as responsible members of society and stewards of the environment. A movement that began in Europe more than a decade ago is now being rapidly adopted by US corporations.

Awareness of corporate responsibility is not confined to the West. Governments and corporations in faster-growing economies are increasingly recognising the need to raise standards and to meet the changing requirements of customers and investors.

This global development of corporate conscience is creating opportunities for our companies, from research to advice to communications and marketing. Our companies have responded, developing skills and services to meet the needs of clients aiming to establish credentials for environmental, social and ethical excellence.

WPP’s status as the first mover in CR in our sector is now helping our companies enter the new green and ethical markets with confidence and credibility. We have a CR Policy of 10 years’ standing, a track record of eight years of CR reporting and established programs to manage marketing standards, ethics, human resources, environment and community performance.

In addition to enhancing WPP’s business opportunities, our CR program supports the Company’s strategic objectives as follows:

  • 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. The future generations that will eventually become our talent pool view CR issues as central to business. Creating a diverse company culture, adopting leading talent practices and demonstrating our commitment to social and environmental issues is key to our companies’ ability to attract and retain the best people. A diverse workforce also enhances our understanding of consumers in all markets.
  • Reputation risk management We reduce the risk of adverse publicity by ensuring that our work complies fully with regulations and marketing standards. We also carefully evaluate the risk associated with new commissions. Our pro bono work and support for charities and community organisations reinforces our reputation for making a positive contribution to 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 (see below).
  • Improving efficiency Our climate change strategy is reducing costs associated with business travel and energy use in offices. Investment in videoconference facilities enables an increasing number of meetings to be held without the cost and carbon footprint of flights.

Socially responsible investors

During the 10-year history of our CR program we have seen a steady increase in the number of investors assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) information. What was once a niche sector providing screened investments for church groups, trade unions and wealthy philanthropists has broadened its remit into the mainstream and is now estimated to influence the investment strategy of $5 trillion of funds.

We assist investors to understand the issues material to our business and provide information on CR performance whenever this is available. Consequently, WPP is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the FTSE4Good Index and is ranked first out of eight in our sector by Triodos Bank. We were also ranked 22nd out of 350 in the FTSE CDP Carbon Strategy 350 Index.

In 2010 we responded to engagement by the following investment organisations:

  • BNP Paribas
  • Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index
  • Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS)
  • EthiFinance
  • FTSE4Good
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Trucost
  • Sustainanalytics
  • Vigeo

CR management

Our CR activity enables us to take advantage of new opportunities and to manage social and environmental risks connected to our business strategy. Our key corporate responsibility risks are explained on Principal risks and uncertainties, and include the impact of our work for clients, marketing ethics, privacy and data protection, employment practices and climate change. Providing sustainability marketing services to clients is our most significant CR opportunity, see The impact of our work section.

Paul Richardson, WPP’s Group finance director, is the Board director responsible for corporate responsibility. He chairs WPP’s Corporate Responsibility Committee, established in 2003. The committee is made up of senior representatives from Group functions and our companies and met once formally in 2010 when the main topics discussed were:

  • Sustainability marketing services
  • Environment and procurement
  • Marketing ethics and risk management
  • Human resources
  • Privacy and security

Paul Richardson provides an annual assessment of corporate responsibility risks and performance to the Audit Committee. From 2011 the annual assessment will be provided to the Nomination Committee. This is in addition to the business and financial reporting risks process described in How we behave.

At each Board meeting, the Group chief executive presents a Brand Check review of each of the business’ operations, including an assessment of the risk in each business. This includes CR risks such as employment risks and marketing ethics risks.

WPP’s Code of Business Conduct and CR Policy set out the standards we expect our companies and 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, The senior management of each of our businesses complete an annual statement of compliance with the Code of Business Conduct.

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 are collected quarterly through our Group financial reporting system. Reviews of CR risks such as those relating to employment policies, privacy and data security, marketing and business ethics may be included in the scope of internal audits (and some SOX audits). Significant findings are related to the Audit Committee.


We will publish our ninth Corporate Responsibility Report in June 2011. The report provides a detailed account of our CR performance. A summary of our progress is provided on the following pages.

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 sustainability communication, giving our clients the best advice and enhancing consumers’ understanding of sustainability issues. We will not underwrite ‘greenwashing’ and recognise the challenges in distilling complex sustainability issues into simple marketing messages.

Consumer concern about environmental and social issues is causing brand owners to assess the sustainability issues pertinent to their products and to improve their performance and competitive standing. Sustainability is being adopted as a ‘brand value’ and is increasingly part of our marketing briefs.

We also create social marketing campaigns, usually for government or NGO clients, tackling issues related to public health, safety or the environment. They are designed to raise awareness or encourage people to change their behaviour.

Many of our companies have developed bespoke sustainability services for clients. These include JWT Ethos, Hill & Knowlton’s CR & Sustainability Communications offering, Ogilvy Earth, P&G’s S-Team (including Added Value, Bridge, FITCH, G2, The Futures Company, Hill & Knowlton, Landor and Penn Schoen Berland); and PSB Green.

Marketing ethics

As a minimum our companies are expected to comply with all laws, regulations and codes of marketing practice. All advertising produced by WPP companies should present products fairly and accurately, comply with the relevant laws and marketing codes, and reflect changing public attitudes to questions of taste and decency or marketing of sensitive products. This includes not producing work for our clients that ‘greenwashes’ the environmental performance of their company or brands.

Our Code of Business Conduct and CR Policy set out our approach and provide guidance to our companies and our people on the standards we expect.

“We will not knowingly create work which contains statements, suggestions or images offensive to general public decency and will give appropriate consideration to the impact of our work on minority segments of the population, whether that minority be by race, religion, national origin, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or disability.

We will not undertake work which is intended or designed to mislead, including in relation to social, environmental and human rights issues.

We will consider the potential for clients or work to damage the Group’s reputation prior to taking them on. This includes reputational damage due to participating in business activities that abuse human rights. WPP companies will not undertake work designed to mislead in any respect, including social, environmental and human rights issues.

WPP companies will comply with applicable regulations and self-regulatory codes of practice in the countries in which they operate.”

Few campaigns that we produce for clients provoke complaint, but occasionally complaints do occur relating to matters of taste or fact. In most countries these are arbitrated by government or industry organisations. More information is available in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

Ethical issues in client work

Where we operate, who we work for and the type of work we undertake can give rise to ethical issues. Examples include: work undertaken for government clients; operating in countries with a poor human rights record; and marketing for sensitive or controversial products.

In cases where work may present a potential risk to WPP’s reputation, employees are required to elevate the decision to the most senior person in the relevant office and then to the most senior executive of the operating company in the country concerned, who will decide if further referral to a WPP director is required. All employees must take our online ethics training which includes a module on risks associated with client work and a wide range of issues including privacy, diversity, responsibility to stakeholders, and avoiding misleading work.

When required we hold review meetings for senior managers at Group level to discuss cases of concern and identify new risk areas. The internal audit program of work now incorporates a review of the considerations given by management to possible impacts on the Group’s reputation prior to accepting new clients.


Privacy and data protection are key issues for all our companies and we aim to meet best practice standards. Some of our companies collect and use consumer data to study attitudes and purchasing habits and to create targeted digital and direct marketing campaigns.

Privacy is a complex issue to manage. Regulation and standard practices vary significantly between the many different markets we operate in and depending on the type of data collected. Changes in technology can also have implications for how data are collected, processed, used and stored. In many markets there is growing awareness of privacy issues and some consumers and interest groups are concerned about the collection and use of personal data for marketing purposes, including practices such as behavioural targeting.

Our approach to privacy is guided by three priorities: maintaining consumer trust in marketing; reducing legal and financial risks to WPP; and enabling our clients to use consumer data appropriately to enhance their marketing.

Our privacy approach

We expect our companies to comply with all applicable privacy and data protection laws and marketing codes of practice. Many of our companies have policies and procedures covering how data (including protected types personal data) should be handled, and some have developed their own technology and tools to improve transparency.

We held a series of privacy roadshows for employees around the Group during 2010 to improve their understanding of privacy issues and changes in regulation.

We communicate regularly with clients on privacy issues to explain our approach and to help them keep abreast of current thinking and best practice. For example, during 2010 Kantar delivered a number of joint training sessions with key clients to raise awareness of privacy issues among client and agency teams.

We are reviewing the privacy and data protection clauses in our supplier and client contracts to clarify our respective roles and responsibilities and to make sure these are appropriate and consistent.

We collaborate with others in our industry to improve privacy standards and ensure that information is accessible to consumers. For example, a number of our agencies are members of the online Behavioural Advertising Self Regulation Coalition (BASRC). Our digital and research companies meet with regulators and participate in consultation exercises to give their views on proposed regulation.

More information is available in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

WPP as an employer

We draw on the talents and creativity of the Group’s employees to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. There is strong competition for talent in our industry and we anticipate this will increase.

To enable us to recruit the best, WPP companies invest a significant proportion of revenues in developing and rewarding employees. They offer competitive remuneration and innovative, high quality training and development programs. The Group and its companies are committed to creating an inclusive workplace culture where people from all backgrounds can flourish.

We believe that a reputation for environmental and social responsibility enhances the appeal of our companies to prospective recruits.

WPP’s chief talent officer, Mark Linaugh, and our talent team assist our companies to attract, develop and retain our talent. Human resources policies are agreed and implemented at operating company level. WPP employs over 146,000 people (including employees in our associate companies) in almost 2,400 offices in 107 countries.

Diversity and inclusion

Workplace diversity enables us to better understand the interests and expectations of consumers in the many different countries we operate in. An inclusive workplace culture helps us to attract talented people from all backgrounds and to create an environment where they can do their best work.

Our non-discrimination policy, introduced in 1992, commits all WPP companies to select, develop and promote people based on merit and regardless of factors such as race, religion, national origin, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or disability. Policies on harassment and non-discrimination are included in our Code of Conduct. Where existing employees become disabled, our policy is to provide continuing employment and training wherever practicable.

Our people can report any concerns or suspected cases of discrimination or misconduct confidentially (and anonymously if desired) through our Right to Speak helpline.

All of our major companies have internal programs to promote diversity and inclusion in their workforce. These include:

  • Partnerships: our companies work with diversity organisations and participate in initiatives to encourage diversity. In the US, these include Diversity Best Practices; The Leadership, Education and Development Program in Business; The National Black Public Relations Society; National Association of Black Journalists; National Association of Hispanic Journalists; City College of New York; the LAGRANT Foundation and the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ (AAAA) Operation Success.
  • Internships: In the US, several companies participate in the AAAA’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) (NY City Capital Internship Program) and other initiatives that allow minority students to gain experiencein the marketing industry. In many countries our companies have developed partnerships with local schools to encourage students from a wider range of backgrounds to consider a career in marketing services.
  • Targeted recruitment: to help diversify their recruitment pools, many of our companies use specialist recruitment agencies and publications and attend minority recruitment fairs.
  • Raising employee awareness: training and awareness campaigns help employees understand the importance and business benefits of diversity and inclusion.

In 2010, women accounted for 31% of board members/executive leaders, 48% of senior managers and 54% of total employees. There are currently three women on WPP’s Board and a female Company Secretary, Group communications director and Group chief counsel.

Data on ethnicity and nationality are provided in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

Gender diversity 2006-2010 %

Development and training

We invest in high-quality training to enable our people to gain new skills, keep up with changes in our industry (such as the development of digital marketing) and to advance their careers within the Group. Our goal is for our people at all levels to receive regular performance appraisals.

Staff training and welfare £m chart

Several thousand people take part in training and professional development opportunities each year at both the parent and operating company levels. These cover all aspects of company business and creative skills. In 2010, WPP companies invested £48.9 million in training and wellbeing, a 22% increase over the previous year.

Executive education helps our senior talent develop creative, client and personal leadership skills. Our flagship program is Maestro: Orchestrating Client Value – a five-day course aimed at strengthening the ability of our most senior client leaders to be valued and trusted advisers to their clients, colleagues and teams; and how to orchestrate the many talents our organisation possesses, so that our clients are best served. Since the program’s inception in 2003, it has been held in 19 countries, has reached more than 2,100 participants and involved 80 different WPP companies.

WPP has its own ‘Mini MBA’ program, designed to build functional knowledge and abilities. It combines online tutorials and simulations with instructor-led classroom training. Business disciplines covered are growing and winning business, strategy, marketing, people and organisational development, commercial acumen and working across cultures. Approximately 800 people have participated in the program.

We also provide focused training and mentoring to help women employees progress to senior positions. For example, ‘The X Factor’ is a senior mentoring and development program, led by the former global CEO of Ogilvy & Mather and chairman of JWT, Charlotte Beers, which prepares high-potential women in our operating companies for the next level of leadership. So far, 36 women have completed the program.

In 2010, WPP’s Executive Development program was recognized with an award of excellence from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), the world’s largest professional association dedicated to the training and development field.

Remuneration and share ownership

Given the competition for talent in our industry, providing competitive remuneration is essential. We regularly benchmark our compensation against other companies in our sector to ensure our packages are competitive. Performance-related remuneration is provided for most employees in addition to basic salaries, and senior employees are eligible for incentives based on their performance against annual or multi-year goals for the operations they lead.

Share ownership gives our people a financial stake in the company and a share in its success. WPP’s Worldwide Ownership Plan, introduced in 1997, typically makes share awards to approximately 45,000 eligible employees per year in over 76 countries and, since inception, has made awards to over 97,714 of our people.


Regular communication helps our people in all markets to keep up-to-date with Group news and changes in the business. We encourage employees to provide feedback through regular surveys. Communications channels include:

  • WPP’s public website (, Group intranet site, social media channels and professional knowledge communities.
  • WPP’s multi-award winning global newspaper and eBook, The WIRE.
  • WPP’s public monthly online news bulletin – e.wire.
  • WPP’s annual journal of original thinking, the Atticus Journal.
  • The WPP Reading Room, an extensive online library of thinkpieces (both public and original) from WPP professionals worldwide.
  • Our multi-award winning Annual Report & Accounts, financial statements and Corporate Responsibility Report, which are distributed across the Group and are available on our websites.
  • Regular FactFiles profiling specialist services and resources within the Group.
  • Regular communication on Group initiatives such as the Worldwide Partnership Program, BrandZ, the Atticus Awards, the WPPED Cream awards, the WPP Marketing Fellowship Program and professional development workshops.
  • Periodic reports from Sir Martin Sorrell on topics of importance.
  • Formal and informal meetings at operating company level.

Health and wellbeing

Our companies invest in initiatives to improve the health of their workforce and to mitigate any health and safety risks. This contributes to employee productivity and reduces the costs of people taking time off work due to illness.

As an office-based business, the main health and safety risks to our workforce are injuries connected to workstation ergonomics and work-related stress. Ensuring our workstations follow good practice design reduces problems such as repetitive strain injury or back problems. Our companies assess the risk of work-related stress through regular staff surveys and by monitoring issues raised via our Right to Speak helpline, Employee Assistance Programs and during exit interviews.

Initiatives to combat workplace stress vary by company but include:

  • Employee Assistance Programs – a source of confidential advice, support and counselling.
  • Flexible benefit programs, including subsidised childcare.
  • Flexible work arrangements enabling people to work part-time or from home.
  • Medical checks and health screening.
  • Training on stress and time management.

Employee external appointments

We recognise that our companies’ executives may be invited to become non-executive directors of other companies, and that such experience may be beneficial to the Group. Consequently, executives are allowed to accept non-executive appointments with non-competing companies, subject to obtaining the approval of the Group chief executive in the case of senior executives, the Group chief executive and chairman in the case of Board members and the approval of the Nomination Committee in the case of the chairman or Group chief executive. Any fees receivable out of such appointments may be retained by the individuals concerned.


Our environmental impact is modest. However, we view our efforts to reduce it as an opportunity to demonstrate what can be achieved in a service sector organisation and to show to clients that we have strong environmental principles. Our priority is to reduce our carbon footprint – mainly from office energy consumption and business flights – and we are starting to co-ordinate plans for waste reduction and water management in regions of water scarcity. We look for opportunities to purchase more sustainable goods and services, and to work with suppliers who meet high standards on CR.

Energy and climate change strategy

Our strategy is to reduce our carbon emissions by:

  • Improving energy efficiency in our buildings and IT.
  • Reducing non-essential flights by promoting videoconferencing.
  • Purchasing renewable energy where available.

To implement our strategy, we have established Energy Action Teams in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. These include members of our IT, real estate and procurement functions. Their job is to identify energy-saving measures and provide technical guidance to our agencies. They are supported by a network of on-the-ground Climate Champions, who help to implement these measures in our companies.

Having gained five years’ experience measuring our carbon footprint and implementing programs to reduce it, we have decided to make carbon intensity (measured per person) our lead performance indicator. The Group headcount is closely linked to the level of business activity and the intensity measure allows for the effects of acquisitions and disposals to be seamlessly integrated in our carbon reduction target.

In 2010, the carbon footprint per head was 2.51 tonnes, down 1.7% on 2009 and 23% lower than 2006. Our target for carbon intensity is 1.2 tonnes by 2020, a 63% reduction on our 2006 backline. We have set interim targets for 2012 and 2015 to help us track progress.

Our previous target was based on the Group’s absolute carbon footprint. We challenged ourselves to reduce this by 20% by 2010 and 40% by 2020, matching advice from the IPCC on the required scale of global emissions reductions (against the 2006 baseline). At the end of 2010, we achieved a 7% reduction over our 2006 baseline, (adjusted for acquisitions), missing our 20% target. 

This is due to a number of factors including organic growth in our businesses and difficulties in accurately adjusting our baseline to reflect the full impact of frequent acquisitions around the Group. We believe our carbon intensity target is more appropriate for WPP, as Group headcount is closely linked to levels of business activity. Using an intensity measure also allows us to reflect the impact of acquisitions and disposals without needing to adjust our baseline.

Carbon intensity (Tonnes CO2 per person) 3.28 2.76 2.54 2.55 2.51
      2012 2015 2020
Carbon intensity targets (Tonnes CO2 per person)     1.8 1.6 1.2
Figures based on rating renewable energy purchased as zero carbon.

We will continue to measure and report our absolute carbon footprint which in 2010 was 261,004 tonnes of CO2 (rating renewable energy as zero emissions), an increase of 4% over 2009. The main contributors to our carbon footprint are office energy use 54% and business air travel 33%. The footprint of our offices reduced by 1.4% but emissions from air travel increased by 12.8% reflecting the upturn in business as the global economy emerged from recession.

When calculated with renewable energy rated as normal grid electricity, our total carbon footprint in 2010 was 289,767 tonnes of CO2. We report our greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a collaboration of institutional investors, and participate in the CDP’s Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration. In the UK, WPP met its current obligations under the UK CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme and achieved the Carbon Trust Standard.

WPP’s carbon footprint (rating renewable energy as zero emissions)

 CO2 emissions (tonnes)
Office energy use 144,354 124,335 121,572 143,154 141,113
Air travel 81,733 92,269 89,500 76,073 85,848
Other (includes unmeasured impacts, e.g. couriers and taxis) 33,913 32,491 31,661 32,884 34,044
Total 260,000 249,095 242,733 252,111 261,004

WPP’s office energy use (megawatt hours)

Energy use 297,406 272,545 284,930 340,647 350,724

Office energy efficiency

In 2010 we continued to operate smart meters at 55 of our top strategic locations. These provide detailed monthly energy use reports and typically help us to achieve energy savings of 5-10% in each building.

Where possible, we aim to ensure that any properties we lease or purchase meet advanced environmental standards, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and BRE Environment Assessment Method (BREEAM).

For example, a new location, Central St Giles in London, will house Mindshare and Burson-Marsteller. The building has a BREEAM Excellent rating and we are using the Ska rating methodology to make our fit-out as green as possible.

Group Real Estate has also developed a scorecard which is used to assess the environmental performance of new offices over 25,000 square feet which have not been certified to standards such as LEED or BREEAM.

Sustainable IT

WPP’s personal and network IT equipment accounts for a large proportion of our energy use. We aim to cut the energy used by our computers and have introduced requirements to improve the energy efficiency of our IT equipment. Through our data centre consolidation program, server virtualisation program and the use of new energy-efficient blade-based server technology, we aim to achieve up to 40% reduction in power consumption for key IT applications.

Group IT is also undertaking printer rationalisation at major locations in key markets that we expect to reduce paper, toner and energy consumption by 20% to 30%. Currently more than 13,000 employees are covered in this program.

Renewable energy

We purchase renewable energy where we can, and regularly review energy sourcing across all markets to identify new opportunities.

We estimate that around 16% of the total electricity we purchase is generated from renewable sources. The table below shows the main countries in which we source green electricity and the percentage purchased. Our renewable electricity purchases reduce our total carbon footprint by 28,763 tonnes of CO2.

Green electricity contracts are usually for a fixed period and may not be available at competitive prices in future. However, it is our intention to increase the percentage of electricity purchased from renewable sources to 20% by 2015.

Green electricity sourcing

Country% renewable
UK 70%
Italy 57%
Switzerland 28%
Ireland 26%
Austria 20%
Germany 19%
Norway 17%
Peru 15%
US 15%
Belgium 14%
New Zealand 12%
Indonesia 8%
Australia 7%

Travel and videoconferencing

Business flights account for a significant part of our carbon footprint and are a major cost to the business. We encourage our people to meet via videoconferencing, saving carbon emissions and money.

By the end of 2010, we had installed 75 shared high-definition videoconferencing (VC) units around the world which can be used by any WPP company. These are linked to an additional 175 VC units exclusive to individual operating companies. Videoconferences can be booked between any of the rooms and external VC locations via the WPP intranet.

In 2010, a total of 11,000 hours of conferences were held using the network, about 50% of which involved external links to clients.

Carbon offset

In 2010, we offset 70,000 tonnes of CO2 through support for renewable energy projects. This is equivalent to the majority of our emissions from business air travel. We reduced the amount of carbon offset we purchased this year, to enable us to focus investment on improving energy efficiency in our offices and IT.

All carbon offset projects supported by WPP are renewable energy projects arranged by the CarbonNeutral Company. We currently fund seven projects, including wind farm and hydroelectric projects in China and wind and solar generation in India. We do not support forestry offset.

Waste and recycling

In 2010, we focused our waste and recycling efforts on establishing preferred suppliers of recycling services for paper, office consumables and electronic waste across our top 18 markets (representing 70% of headcount).

We are in the process of appointing a global IT vendor to manage our obsolete IT equipment, including laptops, desktops, phones and servers. Our goal is for obsolete IT equipment to be refurbished and sold for reuse or; if this is not possible to be broken down for recycling. Disposal is a last resort, and must be done in compliance with local environmental regulations and data security best practice.

WPP mobile phones can be recycled through an agreement with Regenersis in offices across Europe. We have similar arrangements for mobile phone recycling in Asia Pacific.

Water use

As an office-based company, WPP is not a major water user. However, we recognise the importance of water conservation, particularly in water-scarce areas.

In 2009 we launched a water conservation strategy that targets our largest locations in water-scarce regions. This will ensure that our investment in water management produces the most environmental benefit. At these locations we will:

  • Measure and report water consumption.
  • Establish programs for water conservation.

In 2010, we measured our water use at all identified locations. We set a baseline and a target to reduce consumption by 20% per capita by 2015. We launched a water conservation guide and nominated Water Champions at each location. We will use what we learn at these sites to inform how we manage water in other locations.

Sustainable sourcing

WPP spends around £3.7 billion ($6 billion) with suppliers each year. We want to do business with suppliers that meet high standards on environment and employment practices. We are committed to managing CR risks in our supply chain, both for ourselves and for our clients.

We focus our CR efforts on preferred suppliers that provide centrally-purchased goods and services such as IT, travel, telecommunications, professional services (e.g. consultancy and recruitment) and facilities management.

WPP’s Global Procurement Policy contains ethical and environmental criteria, which our Group procurement teams use in supplier selection and management. We thoroughly evaluate companies against a set of business requirements before they can become a preferred supplier. These include assurance of supply, quality, service, cost, innovation and CR. We do not have a standard weighting for each criteria and they may vary from project to project. As part of this process we ask potential suppliers to complete a simple five-point CR questionnaire to raise awareness and make our requirements clear.

In 2010, Group Procurement developed and implemented a CR Charter of definitions and targets for five key supply areas: paper, recycled paper, office waste recycling, IT waste reuse and recycling and green electricity. Our target is to have preferred supplier agreements available for these services in all major markets. To date, we have 35% of these markets covered, with a further 32% under way.

Our target is to source 50% of the paper we use for copying and printing from recycled sources by 2015. We have identified preferred paper suppliers in 89% of our major markets which our companies are encouraged to use. On average, in 2010, 32% of the paper purchased by WPP companies contained recycled content.

We have also set up procurement contracts with furniture and carpet suppliers to ensure the products we purchase come from sustainable sources and can be disposed of in a responsible manner.

Social investment

In 2010, the total value of our social investment was £14.3 million compared with £14.9 million in 2009. This is equivalent to 1.7% of reported profit before tax and includes direct cash donations to charities of £5.0 million and £9.3 million worth of pro bono work. These figures are based on fees the organisations would have paid for our work. In addition, WPP media agencies negotiated free media space worth £20.2 million on behalf of pro bono clients.

Social investment 2006-2010 £m
* Excludes free media space donations.

Pro bono work

Our companies have a long tradition of pro bono work – providing communications services to charities at little or no cost. This work can be invaluable – helping raise money and awareness for hundreds of good causes every year.

It also benefits WPP by showcasing our creative skills and ability to create compelling communications on a wide range of social and environmental issues. Our people gain a breadth of experience and the chance to contribute to their communities.

Examples of recent pro bono work by our companies are included in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

Pro bono work 2010 % chart

WPP the parent company

WPP, the parent company, supports a range of charities and non-profit organisations, with a particular focus on education, the arts and young people. These include:

  • INSEAD Trust for European Management Education
  • NABS (a charity which offers financial, practical and emotional support to those in the advertising industry)
  • The London Business School
  • The National Portrait Gallery
  • The Natural History Museum

WPP is also a member of:

  • Business in the Community (an organisation that promotes responsible business practice)
  • Employers Forum on Disability
  • The Media Trust
  • The Institute of Business Ethics

Many senior WPP executives also give pro bono advice and support. Sir Martin Sorrell is an active participant in programs at the following international business schools: London Business School; IESE, Spain; Indian Business School; and Harvard Business School. He is also chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum International Business Council and a member of the Business Council in the US. He is a Trustee of the British Museum, a member of the corporate Advisory Group of the Tate Gallery, deputy chairman of the Mayor of Shanghai's International Business Leaders Advisory Council, and on the International Advisory Board of The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.