The impact of our work

We believe that marketing and communications services can play an important role in progress towards a more sustainable society.

Our companies work with our clients on many aspects of sustainability, including:

  • Sustainability in marketing: commercial campaigns with a social or environmental dimension
  • Social marketing: campaigns that raise awareness or create behaviour change on issues such as public health, safety or the environment
  • Cause-related marketing: campaigns that link a good cause with a brand
  • Research and insight

Kunal Sinha

Chief knowledge officer

Ogilvy & Mather China

Sustainability: what’s happening in China

Key facts and data

WPP companies apply their sustainability expertise across all disciplines:

  • Research and Insight

    Our consumer insight companies help clients to understand changing attitudes to sustainability issues and the role of business and government in society, and to test the impact of different sustainability communications approaches.

  • Consumer Communications

    Our advertising, digital and direct communications companies help clients communicate credibly with consumers and other customers on sustainability issues and promote the green or ethical credentials of their products and services.

  • Employee Communications

    Our companies help clients to engage their employees on social and environmental issues and integrate sustainability into their business.

  • Stakeholder Communications

    Our PR and public affairs companies help clients to communicate with regulators, the media, NGOs and the public on sustainability issues.

  • Branding and Strategy

    Our companies help clients to develop their sustainability strategies and to embed social and environmental values into their brands and marketing.

In our companies

  • Sustainability in marketing

    Campaign: The Horizons Project

    Client: DuPont

    WPP Company: OgilvyEntertainment US

    Recognizing the need to confront the pressing challenges our world will face over the next decade, OgilvyEntertainment created The Horizons Project to reinforce DuPont as a cutting-edge scientific thought leader and global partner in addressing these challenges. The Horizons Project, which has won over 20 industry awards to date in competitions including the One Show, Telly’s, ECHOs, American Business Awards, and Brave Awards, consists of four key elements:

    1. 1. Horizons, a broadcast series featuring the business leaders and companies who are tackling our world’s greatest issues. Now in its second season on BBC World News, it has been broadcast to a global audience of 358 million households.
    2. 2. Stories of Inclusive Innovation, a series of two-minute documentary-style commercials aired during Horizons commercial breaks that manifest some of DuPont’s most important collaborations.
    3. 3. International thought leadership summits in areas including India, Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia that translate the global concerns of the Horizons series into local debates.
    4. 4. A comprehensive digital strategy, including the microsite (website not available in the UK) which supports the entire project.
  • Social marketing

    Campaign: Wimpy Braille Burger

    Client: Wimpy

    WPP Company: MetropolitanRepublic Johannesburg

    South African fast food chain Wimpy wanted to let visually impaired people know that they offer braille menus in all of their restaurants. With the help of skilled chefs, MetropolitanRepublic placed sesame seeds on 15 burger buns which in braille described the burger and informed individuals about the availability of the braille menus. The braille burgers were delivered to the three biggest blind institutions in South Africa and had an overwhelming emotional impact on the staff at these organisations. They couldn’t believe that in a world built for sighted people, a restaurant chain would go the extra mile just to make them feel welcome. The message was passed on to over 800,000 visually impaired South Africans and the campaign won several awards including a Gold Clio, Gold and Silver Cannes, One Show Gold and a Gold Loerie.

  • Social marketing

    Campaign: Kid Rescue

    Client: Telefónica Foundation

    WPP Company: Y&R Bogota

    In Colombia 1.6 million children do not attend school regularly and are forced to work instead. Y&R Bogota worked with the Telefónica Foundation, a charity run by the global mobile network provider, to create a smartphone app which lets people report child labour. By uploading the child’s location and a photo to the Foundation’s website, members of the public help create a real-time data system exclusively accessible to social workers who examine every case and if necessary take action.

    The app went viral just a few days after its launch and has helped to identify 1,276 children, 67 of whom are now off the streets, with their schooling sponsored by the Telefónica Foundation. The campaign won a Silver and a Bronze Cannes Lion.

  • Cause-related marketing

    Campaign: Shwopping

    Client: Marks & Spencer

    WPP Company: RKCR/Y&R London

    In 2012, M&S launched Shwopping, encouraging customers to swap an old item of clothing every time they bought something new. The donated clothes were given to Oxfam to resell, reuse or recycle – reducing the amount of clothes going to landfill and raising money for a good cause all in one fell swoop. Landor helped M&S come up with the name Shwopping and Joanna Lumley, famous British actress and campaigner, was chosen as the campaign ambassador. RKCR/Y&R created the eye-catching slogan and marketing campaign which was rolled out across multiple channels to raise awareness.

    To increase press and social media coverage, an entire street in London was covered with almost 10,000 garments representing the amount of clothing waste sent to landfill every five minutes. Each M&S store was given a unique text and QR code geo-mapping facility that recorded the number of shwops per outlet, fuelling competition between different localities. Social badges on Facebook allowed customers to share their shwops with friends and win exclusive prizes.

    Since the launch of the campaign at the end of April 2012, 3.2 million items worth over £2 million to Oxfam have been shwopped.

  • Sustainability in marketing

    Campaign: Comfort One Rinse

    Client: Unilever

    WPP Company: Ogilvy & Mather Singapore

    Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan aims to change the domestic routines of millions of people in water-scarce countries to help reduce water use significantly by 2020, by providing 60 million households with laundry products that deliver excellent cleaning but use less water.

    As part of this plan Unilever launched Comfort One Rinse, a fabric conditioner which removes detergent foam in just one rinse, saving 20 litres of water every wash.

    In 2013, Ogilvy & Mather Singapore created a campaign to promote the new product and its water-saving features. They developed two films which were released on UN World Water Day together with local activation events. In 2012, One Rinse products were used in 1.4 billion washes in 28.7 million households worldwide.

View all case studies