Environmental performance

We are working to make WPP a low-carbon and resource-efficient Group, with benefits to the environment, our own costs and our credibility with clients. Improving our performance enables us to meet the environmental requirements included in a growing number of client procurement processes.

Energy and climate change

Our strategy to reduce our carbon footprint focuses on:

  • Office energy use: Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and IT systems.
  • Air travel: Reducing non-essential flights by promoting videoconferencing and collaboration tools and offsetting carbon emissions, equivalent to those from our business air travel, by supporting renewable energy generation in fast-growing economies.
  • Green energy: Purchasing green-tariff electricity for our offices where available.

Since setting our carbon reduction target in 2006, we have reduced our per head emissions by 31% towards our very ambitious goal of 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per person by 2020. Despite this progress, achieving reductions at the rate required to meet our 2020 target has proved more challenging than expected.

This year we reviewed our carbon strategy and revised our 2020 carbon reduction target to 1.8 tonnes of CO2 per person, a 47% reduction from 2006. The revised target is in line with others in our industry and with professional services firms in other sectors.

In 2013, our carbon footprint per person was 2.35 tonnes, down 4% on 2012 and 31% lower than 2006.

WPP’s carbon emissions breakdown (in tonnes of CO2e)

Emission source 2013 2012 2011 2010 Base
Scope 1 – Fuel used to heat WPP offices 11,305 9,840 9,714 9,967 2,628
Scope 2 – Total purchased electricity 157,471 164,212 152,968 149,055 149,728
Scope 3 – Air travel and other estimated impacts 132,382 133,034 137,121 119,690 116,825
Total gross (excluding carbon reduction of renewable electricity) 301,158 307,086 299,803 278,712 269,181
Carbon reduction of purchased renewable electricity (21,299) (23,765) (22,572) (23,028)
Total net (including carbon reduction of renewable electricity) 279,859 283,321 277,231 255,684 269,181
Percentage change from 2006 (net) 4% 5% 3% -5%

WPP’s carbon intensity (in tonnes of CO2e)

Intensity metric 2013 2012 2011 2010 Base

Note to tables:

Our carbon data covers the year ended 31 December 2013 in line with the Group’s financial reporting period. Data has been prepared in accordance with the World Resource Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, Revised Edition (the GHG Protocol).

All greenhouse gases emissions figures are in metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). They include three of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) emissions have been omitted from our reporting as they are not a material source of greenhouse gases for WPP.

Emissions data is included for all operations for which WPP and its subsidiaries have operational control. Associate companies are excluded.

When calculating our carbon footprint, we rate purchased renewable electricity as zero emissions. For full transparency, we also disclose total electricity purchased at grid average carbon intensity.

Our carbon data is reviewed and assured by Bureau Veritas, an independent assurance provider. Read the full carbon emissions statement 2013 in our Sustainability Report.

Tonnes per employee (net) 2.35 2.45 2.44 2.46 3.39
Percentage change from 2006 -31% -28% -28% 27%
Tonnes per £m of revenue (net) 25.40 27.31 27.66 27.40 45.56
Percentage change from 2006 -44% -40% -39% -40%

Office energy use

We aim to improve energy efficiency in existing buildings, to select new buildings that meet high environmental standards and to consolidate our real estate portfolio and IT infrastructure to reduce energy demand. These measures could help to reduce our carbon intensity by 18% from 2012 levels by 2020. Energy efficiency is part of our property acquisition and capital expenditure process. We estimate that 10% of our total floor space is now certified to advanced sustainability standards.

We have integrated environmental targets into our approach to managing IT systems across the Group. Our managed print program is helping to reduce energy used for printing by 30% in each location.

Air travel

To reduce non-essential flights we have invested in our videoconferencing network, which now incorporates 672 units, including four telepresence rooms, in over 158 cities. We offset our unavoidable emissions from air travel by investing in renewable energy generation projects via our offset provider, South Pole Carbon Asset Management.

Green energy

We purchase green-tariff electricity where we can. This reduces our footprint by 21,299 tonnes of CO2e. Around 15% of the total electricity we purchase is generated from renewable sources.

Chapter 9 of 13