Our approach
WPP's energy bill is a small fraction of our operating costs, but accounts for most of our carbon emissions. Energy use in our offices accounted for over 50% of our total carbon footprint in 2012 - at about 150,300 tonnes of CO2. In a climate change context, energy becomes the biggest piece of the puzzle.

Our strategy is to reduce carbon emissions from our energy use by:
  • Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and IT;
  • Purchasing renewable electricity where available.
What we're doing
Quick wins:
There are measures that IT, procurement and real estate managers across the Group are implementing to bring energy 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 energy use. For instance, we operate advanced energy metering at key WPP locations, accounting for around 10% of our total floor space. These meters provide detailed monthly energy-use reports which allow our operating companies to spot inefficiencies and improve their performance.

We are integrating energy efficiency and other environmental considerations into our property acquisition and capital expenditure processes so that where possible any property we lease purchase, fit out or renovate meets advanced standards such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

IT equipment:
We have requirements in place to improve the energy efficiency of our IT equipment. This means that only approved devices can be purchased, they must comply with our energy consumption standards, and power management features must be enabled. We aim to reduce the energy consumption of key IT applications by up to 40%. To achieve this, we are looking at new ways of sourcing out IT needs, as well as implementing server, storage and network virtualisation solutions to reduce the number of devices in use. Our managed print program, which includes reducing the number of printers in use, is helping us to reduce energy used for printing by up to 30% in each location.

Renewable electricity:
We purchase renewable electricity where we can and regularly review electricity sourcing across all markets to identify new opportunities. We estimate that around 16% of the total electricity we purchase is generated from renewable sources. Green electricity contracts are usually for a fixed period and may not be available at competitive prices in the future. However, it is our intention to increase the percentage of electricity purchased from renewable sources to 20% by 2015. To encourage our operating companies to switch to green electricity contracts, we have established preferred suppliers in all our major markets.

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 energy use since 2007:

WPP's energy use (megawatt hours)
  2006 (Base year)  2009 2010 2011 2012 
Direct energy use
(natural gas and heating oil)
12,099 31,090 46,244 45,090 45,745 
Indirect energy use
(purchased electricity)
295,396 309,558 303,456 307,245 323,582 
Total energy use 307,495 340,647 349,700 352,335 369,327 
Energy use per person 3.88 3.45 3.36 3.10 3.19 
% of electricity from renewable sources 16% 16% 16% 16% 16% 

WPP's carbon emissions from energy use*
  2006 (Base year) 2009 2010 2011 2012 
Tonnes of CO2 152,357 139,433 135,992 140,110 150,298
Tonnes of COper person
1.89 1.34 1.21 1.15 1.21

*figures shown above are based on rating renewable energy purchased as zero carbon.

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For more information see the latest Sustainability report