Climate change

Our approach
Climate change is the main environmental issue for WPP.

In addition to the environmental benefits, reducing our carbon footprint helps us to reduce costs, as well as recruit and retain environmentally-aware talent.

Our climate change strategy helps us win work with business and public sector clients looking for suppliers with solid environmental credentials. Taking action to shrink our own carbon footprint enhances our credibility as marketing and communications advisors on climate change.

Our strategy is to reduce our carbon emissions by:
  • Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and IT;
  • Reducing non-essential flights by promoting videoconferencing and other collaboration tools;
  • Purchasing renewable electricity where available;
  • Offsetting a portion of our unavoidable carbon emissions, equivalent to those from business air travel.
Our target is to reduce carbon emissions per person to 1.2 tonnes by 2020, a 65% reduction on our 2006 baseline (3.39 tonnes of CO2). We have set interim targets for 2012 and 2015 to track progress.

Carbon intensity targets *

2012 2015 2020
Tonnes of CO 2 per person 1.8 1.6 1.2
*Figures shown above are based on rating renewable energy purchased as zero carbon.

We believe a carbon intensity target is most appropriate for WPP, as Group headcount is closely linked to levels of business activity. Our business evolves continually through acquisitions and disposals. The intensity measure allows us to reflect this without needing to adjust our baseline.

We report our greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon disclosure Project (CDP), a collaboration of institutional investors. To read our latest submission visit

What we're doing

Quick wins:
These are measures that IT, procurement and real estate managers across the Group are implementing to bring carbon savings at no or little capital cost. These measures range from simple actions, such as ensuring that lights are switched off, to more complex measures like targeting high-energy-use areas in the office. In order to track progress a climate checklist is distributed to all WPP offices worldwide.

Better information and feedback:
We aim to empower our operating companies with better information and tools for managing their carbon emissions. For instance, we produce an individual carbon footprint report for every company annually, which is distributed to the operating company CEO.

Energy and travel emissions reduction:
We are tackling our carbon footprint with a range of initiatives that span travel and energy consumption.

Carbon offsetting:
Since 2006, we have offset a large proportion of our unavoidable carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy projects. From 2010, we decided to only offset emissions from our business air travel, so that we can focus our investment on improving energy efficiency. For more details on carbon offsetting at WPP, read about the projects that we are supporting here.

Our performance

For a full summary of our progress in these areas, read our latest Sustainability Report. The tables below provide key performance data on our carbon footprint since 2009:

WPP's carbon intensity (tonnes of CO2 per person)*

2006 (Base year) 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Office energy use 1.92 1.28 1.41 1.31 1.23 1.30
Air travel 1.03 0.95 0.77 0.83 0.89 0.83
Other impacts** 0.44 0.33 0.33 0.32 0.32 0.32
Total 3.39 2.56 2.51 2.46 2.44 2.45

WPP's carbon footprint (tonnes of CO2)*
  2006 (Base year) 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Office energy use 152,357 121,960 139,433 135,992 140,110 150,298
Air travel 81,714 90,202 76,517 86,340 100,961 96,080
Other impacts** 35,111 31,824 32,392 33,350 36,161 36,957
Total 269,182 243,987 248,342 255,682 277,231 283,334

*figures shown above are based on rating renewable energy purchased as zero carbon.
**includes unmeasured impacts such as couriers and taxis

Tools Print page E-mail page

Related Links
For more information see the latest Sustainability report