Sustainability priorities

A wide range of sustainability issues are relevant to WPP, presenting both opportunities and risks for our business. We prioritise our areas of focus through dialogue with clients, investors, our people, regulators and partners, assessing the issues of most relevance both to our own business strategy and the concerns and priorities of our stakeholders.

We have identified six priority themes that are important for WPP and our stakeholders. The bullet points indicate how issues in our reporting and on our materiality matrix relate to these themes. The inside ring on the diagram indicates the main ways these themes relate to the three core elements of our business case for sustainability.

Our key Priorities: Governance and management, Our client work, Employment, Environment, Supply chain, Social investment, Governance and management

Our client work

How we work with clients on sustainability and the ethical standards we adopt in our work and behaviour, including:

  • Sustainability services
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Business ethics and anti-corruption
  • Partners and associates
  • Client work ethics
  • Marketing compliance
  • Human rights
  • Acquisitions and sensitive countries
  • Public policy (including public affairs advocacy, lobbying and political contributions)
  • Privacy and data security

Employment

How we recruit, develop and support our people and invest in skills, including:

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Training and development
  • Internships and apprenticeships
  • Skills and education
  • Employee well-being

Environment

How we are cutting our environmental footprint, including:

  • Climate change
  • Environmental impact of campaigns
  • Paper and resource use
  • Waste and recycling

Supply chain

How we are managing standards in our supply chain, including:

  • Supplier standards, including human rights

Social investment

Our support for charities, including:

  • Pro bono work
  • Charity donations
  • Volunteering

Governance and management

How we manage sustainability risks and opportunities, including:

  • Roles and responsibilities for sustainability
  • Risk management
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Tax policy

Prioritising our material issues

In prioritising the issues of most importance to WPP, we look at our own business goals, activities and impacts, we monitor emerging issues and we seek the views of our stakeholders. Most of our stakeholder engagement is through the dialogue and discussion that takes place as part of normal business practice. However, we also regularly carry out a structured materiality process that incorporates both internal and external stakeholder feedback. Our formal materiality assessment last took place in December 2014. This process included interviews with clients, investors, NGOs and sustainable business experts and gathered views from senior executives in our Group functions and our operating companies.

The assessment considered both positive and negative impacts and risks and opportunities for WPP. In the diagram below, importance to stakeholders is shown on the vertical axis, and materiality to WPP on the horizontal access. We use this assessment to help us prioritise issues in our reporting. All issues of high importance are included in our report as well as the majority of issues of medium importance.

WPP materiality assessment

WPP materiality assessment diagram

  • Our client work
  • Employment
  • Environment
  • Supply chain
  • Social investment
  • Governance and management