Our sustainability priorities

We focus on the sustainability issues, risks and opportunities that are most important to our business and our stakeholders, particularly our clients, share owners and people.

We engage regularly internally and with our external stakeholders to understand their views and priorities, including through our formal materiality process.

Our priority issues come under six themes, see diagram. The inside ring on the diagram indicates the main ways these themes relate to the three elements of our business case for sustainability.

our key priorities

Our client work

How we work with clients on sustainability and our ethical standards:

  • Business ethics and human rights
  • Client work ethics
  • Government relations/public policy
  • Marketing and sustainability (including sustainable consumption)
  • Marketing compliance
  • Partners (JVs, affiliates, associates) & acquisitions
  • Privacy and data security
  • Sensitive countries

Our people

How we recruit, retain, develop and engage our people:

  • Access to skills (including education and internships)
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Employee engagement
  • Employee relations
  • Employee well-being
  • Employment practices/human rights
  • Health and safety
  • Training and development

Environment

How we work to reduce our environmental footprint:

  • Climate change
  • Paper and resource use
  • Supply chain environmental impacts (including environmental impact of campaigns)
  • Waste and recycling
  • Water use

Supply chain

How we apply our standards to our supply chain:

  • Fair treatment of suppliers
  • Living wage
  • Supply chain human rights
  • Compliance with Modern Slavery Act

Social investment

How we support charities and social causes

  • Pro bono work
  • Donations
  • Volunteering

Governance and management

How we manage sustainability risks and opportunities, including:

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

Our materiality process

Our materiality assessment helps us to prioritise the social, environmental and economic issues most important to our business, to identify new issues and emerging trends and align our work to the priorities of our stakeholders.

Our formal materiality assessment in 2014 included interviews with clients, investors, NGOs and sustainable business experts as well as senior executives in our Group functions and our operating companies. The assessment took into account our own business goals, activities and impacts as well as external trends, risks and opportunities.

We updated this assessment during 2016 through an internal review and interviews with key external stakeholders.

In the diagram below, importance to stakeholders is shown on the vertical axis, and materiality to WPP on the horizontal access. 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

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

1 Including sustainable consumption

2 Including environmental impact of campaigns