Stakeholder engagement

Feedback from clients, investors, our people and other stakeholders helps us to improve how we manage social and environmental issues and to identify emerging risks and opportunities.

We respond to regular requests for information from clients on our approach to sustainability issues and we collaborate with them on these topics as appropriate. For example, WPP is a member of Procter & Gamble’s Sustainability Supplier Board and is helping them to pilot their supplier sustainability scorecard project. 

We assist investors to understand the issues material to our business and respond to their feedback where possible. To raise investor awareness of our approach to sustainability we submit the sustainability section of our Annual Report for share owner vote at our AGM. 

In 2011, we responded to requests for information and engagement by the following investment organisations:

  • ASN Bank

  • BNP Paribas 

  • Carbon Disclosure Project 

  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index 

  • Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS) 

  • EthiFinance 

  • FTSE4Good 

  • IDEAM (part of Amundi Group)

  • GMI 

  • Goldman Sachs 

  • Oekom 

  • Sustainanalytics 

  • Sycomore Asset Management 

  • Vigeo 

Most engagement with stakeholders takes place as part of everyday business. To supplement this, in January 2012, we held a stakeholder meeting to obtain feedback from investors, clients and sustainability experts. Issues raised by participants at this meeting included our approach to integrating sustainability across the Group, commercial opportunities relating to sustainability in marketing, our approach to managing ethical issues in client work and our policy on issues such as tax and lobbying. We are reviewing the feedback and will respond where possible.

We engage with our people through regular meetings, our employee surveys (conducted at operating company level), Group intranet and regular newsletters and publications. 

We aim to raise awareness of sustainability among our employees and to involve them in our programs. We distribute our Sustainability Report to 2,000 senior managers and send copies to WPP sustainability representatives, communications departments, key account executives and new business directors. Articles on sustainability are included in The WIRE (WPP’s global newspaper and eBook) and our magazine for procurement professionals. In 2011 this included articles on leading sustainability research conducted by WPP companies, guidance on how to respond to investor questions on WPP’s social and environmental policies and processes, as well as showcasing some of WPP’s award-winning pro bono campaigns.

WPP is a member of a number of organisations working to improve practices in aspects of sustainability. We are members of Business in the Community, the Employers Forum on Disability, the Institute of Business Ethics and the Media Trust. 

We aim to make our website, including our online sustainability report as accessible as possible. In Q1 2012 our site was rated third out of over 500 company sites assessed for accessibility by SiteMorse. See

Quotes from our stakeholder meeting 

  • “Sustainability is potentially a massive commercial opportunity. All business is going to have to think about weaning off consumerism, moving from ownership to sharing. Make sustainability a selling point for clients. It should be part of your creative offering and the way your people think and act.”

  • “How do you make decisions and do you have a due diligence framework? It’s unclear how WPP companies decide who they’ll do business with.”

  • “Control and consistency of standards for a global company is important. A further issue is how you exert influence over companies with a minority stake.” 

  • “I’d like to see more figures on issues like responsible marketing and lobbying. Although I know these are incredibly difficult to quantify.”

  • “You should include a couple 
of slides on sustainability in your results presentations. This would help to bring sustainability into the mainstream investor mind-set, which would eventually 
benefit your business.”

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