In 2013, we began to see the end of the economic crisis in many regions of the world, with faster growth and a more optimistic outlook. It was a year of good performance for WPP and our companies.
WPP awards and rankings 2013
- CDP score of 95B and listed in the CDP FTSE 350 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index.
- Identified as best-in-class in the advertising sector by Triodos Bank.
- IVCA Fellowship Award 2013 – recognised Sir Martin Sorrell for championing corporate social responsibility.
- PwC Building Public Trust awards – Winner in the People Reporting in the FTSE 100 category.
- Shortlisted Investor Relations Society Best Practice Awards for ‘Best communication of sustainability in the annual report’.
The advertising and marketing services industry continued to make a significant contribution to the global economy: supporting business growth, innovation and employment; and enabling the growth of the digital economy by supporting free online content.
Yet the big problems that our society faces – those of inequality, unemployment, health crises, water scarcity and climate change – remain far from being resolved. While technology holds the key to tackling some of these problems, it is also exacerbating others. Demographic shifts and the exponential growth of the global middle class look set to further strain our planet’s limited resources.
I am often asked what the role of business should be in tackling such complex issues. My view is that it has a critical role to play. Indeed these challenges cannot be addressed without the participation of global business, as a driver of growth and creator of jobs and a force for innovation. In partnership with governments and civil society, business will create many of the solutions we will need over the coming decades.
It is in the interests of business to play its full part. It must do so if it wants to secure future supplies of natural resources, to build skills and to help create strong communities that enable business to prosper.
Any company looking to build brands over the long term must view its role in society more broadly than ever before. Only by doing business in a way that reflects the interests of all its stakeholders will it succeed. In this age of transparency and rising expectations, it would be foolish not to.
This is a view shared by many of our clients, who are embedding sustainability into their businesses and brands, creating operating models and products and services that are both profitable to the business and beneficial to society.
Already £1.26 billion of our revenue comes from clients who have engaged with us on sustainability and this is growing every year.
WPP is also taking the long-term view. As our clients seek advice on embedding sustainability into their brands, our companies are there with the specialist knowledge and skills to support them. Already £1.26 billion of our revenue comes from clients who have engaged with us on sustainability and this is growing every year.
We have continued to invest in the professional development of our people, broadening our talent pool through global expansion and our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce.
We have rigorous structures in place to protect the interests of our clients and our own business, in areas such as privacy and data protection, and we have launched a supply chain program that will improve our oversight of standards in our supply base.
On the environmental side we have made significant progress, cutting the carbon footprint of our business by 31% per head since 2006; we are targeting further significant reductions by 2020.
Our companies continue to share their creative talents to support charities and non-profits working on some of society’s greatest challenges. Our pro bono work, charitable donations and the free media space negotiated by WPP agencies on behalf of clients was worth £39.4 million in 2013.
I welcome your feedback on the summary of our efforts contained in this report and look forward to sharing more with you next year.
Sir Martin Sorrell
Group chief executive
Chapter 1 of 10