As an office-based company, WPP is not a major water user. However, we recognise the importance of water conservation, particularly in areas of water scarcity. We estimate that 20% of our operations are located in such areas.

In 2009, we launched a water conservation strategy that targets our largest locations in areas of water scarcity. This will ensure that our investment in water management produces the most environmental benefit. We have identified 11 offices in China, India, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and the US.

At these locations, we are:

  • Measuring and reporting water consumption.
  • Establishing pilot projects for water conservation.

Our performance

In 2010, we measured our water use at all 11 locations which was 65,864 cubic metres or 14.3 cubic metres per head. We have set a target to reduce per head consumption at these locations to an average of 11.5 cubic metres by 2015 – a 20% reduction from 2010.

We have nominated water champions at each location to identify and implement water-saving measures, and raise awareness of water issues among employees. They are supported by members of our IT, real estate and procurement functions who provide technical guidance on water management.

We have developed a series of water conservation guidelines that our champions will implement to reduce water use. These focus on:

  • Reducing water loss by identifying and repairing leaks.
  • Upgrading inefficient water fixtures and equipment during renovations.
  • Reusing and recycling rainwater and wastewater where feasible.

We will use what we learn at these locations to inform how we manage water in other offices located in areas of water scarcity.

Water conservation targets

  2010 2012 2015
Water intensity (m3 per person) 14.3 12.9 11.5
Water intensity (% reduction from 2010) Base year 10% 20%

In addition, our companies undertake pro bono projects for organisations promoting water conservation. Two examples are featured here.

Graph of worldwide videoconference facilities

Source: Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, International Water Management Institute, 2007.