Understanding our emissions

The first step in reaching net zero emissions is to understand our carbon footprint and where our emissions come from. Our carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of our activities. By setting out our total footprint, we are able to both clearly see the scale of our impact and the level of action we need to take to reduce our emissions effectively. Our total footprint was independently estimated by Carbon Intelligence, a leading sustainability data and consulting firm.

The diagram below is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard and the emissions sources that are most relevant to WPP.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard WPP diagram

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol sets the standards to measure and manage emissions and is a partnership between World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

We have used the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Corporate Accounting Standard and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard to estimate our carbon footprint. Our footprint includes all emissions which we can measure. In line with this Standard, indirect emissions from the use and disposal of sold products and services, such as the emissions generated by the viewing of advertisements, have not been included as we are unable to accurately measure or control them.

Our calculations were developed using lifecycle analysis and industry databases, as well as actual data from suppliers where available, to measure emissions from sourcing through to disposal.

We estimate our total footprint is 5.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e).

To put this in context, that is equivalent to the electricity needed to power nearly one million (980,870) homes in the US for a year based on average annual carbon dioxide emissions per home (annual home electricity consumption multiplied by the carbon dioxide emission rate (per unit of electricity delivered)).

WPP total carbon footprint




Greenhouse gasses. In addition to carbon dioxide (CO2), other gases, such as methane and nitrogen dioxide, are also responsible for global warming. Given our emissions are a mix of these greenhouse gases, methane and nitrogen dioxide are converted into so-called CO2 equivalents (CO2e) to calculate an overall carbon footprint.