The countries we work in, the clients we work for and the type of work we undertake can sometimes raise ethical issues. Examples include: work undertaken for government clients or clients in sensitive sectors; operating in countries with a poor human rights record; and marketing for sensitive or controversial products.
We have established a review and referral process to help us identify these cases, to manage any risks to WPP or our clients and to make sure our decisions reflect the standards in our Code of Conduct and CR policy. Before accepting work that may be a 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 WPP operating company in the country concerned, who will decide if further referral to a WPP director is required.
WPP has established an Ethics Committee which meets on a monthly basis or more often if required. These senior managers at Group level 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.
Our ethics training includes a module to help employees identify ethical risks associated with client work, and to make sure they understand the correct referral procedures.