PEOPLE. PURPOSE. PLANET.
Last year we marked 30 years of WPR. As well as being a great excuse for a party, it was a milestone that inspired us to reflect on the sort of business we want WPR to be for the next 30 years.
As an independent agency we have a precious freedom to decide how we operate and what we want to stand for. We knew we wanted to do something constructive – to harness our team’s collective desire to be a force for good in our world – and so the 30 Positive Impacts at 30 initiative was born. Over the course of a year, what began as a project for our 30th year developed into a way of life that has far exceeded our original ambitions.
The way we see it, organisations of all shapes and sizes have a responsibility to reduce the negative impact – and increase the positive impact – that they have on the planet and society.
As soon as we began to see what was possible, it ignited a spark that made us even more ambitious about what we could accomplish. So, what did we do and what happens next?
Finding ways to help our team live positive, fulfilled lives – at work and at home – has been one of the most rewarding areas to focus on. Our original pledges encompassed mental health champion training, £100 wellness grants, paid access to wellbeing apps, becoming a Thrive at Work accredited employer, and making life-enriching experiences possible through the Live Free Fund. We put a lot of thought into identifying both small changes and big ideas that would make a difference for our team and listened to their ideas and feedback to make sure we were on the right track.
But we wanted to do more. So, with that in mind, along with all the brilliant initiatives we’re keeping from last year, we’ve also designed a profit-share bonus scheme that ensures every member of the team shares in the agency’s success.
When it came to contributing to our community, it felt important that we not only identified causes we were passionate about but those where we could be genuinely helpful and where there was a real connection. The two incredible charities we’ve been working with – the Ladywood Community Project and Molly Olly’s – make such a difference to the people they support, and we love being able to contribute to their valuable work, both financially and with professional services.
As well as continuing to work with both of our original partner charities, we’re also adopting our very own stretch of canal through the Canal & River Trust, which we’ll look after through paid impact days, to help one little corner of Birmingham flourish.
We knew there was more we could, and should, do to foster diversity and inclusivity and we’ve learnt a lot over the last year. We embarked on a significant educational programme that has included everyone in the agency receiving PRCA Racial Equity and Culture Change training, and appointing a diversity and inclusion consultant to advise the leadership team.
We’ve partnered with some inspiring organisations including the Taylor Bennett Foundation and 10,000 Black Interns, broadened our outreach activity, and made practical changes to how we recruit to remove potential barriers.
Even though we’ve made significant inroads towards our goal of being a place in which everyone feels supported and respected, we still have a way to go. With that in mind, we’re focused on championing belonging and understanding for the minority groups we over-index for, and have introduced a roadmap to help us correct the groups we under-index for in the coming years.
When we set out our original plans, we had little idea how all-encompassing our planet pledges would become. It has touched so many aspects of agency life and has made us think long and hard about when and what we purchase. From our kitchen ‘tuck shop’ to office stationery, laptop stands to toiletries, we’ve sourced fantastic products from suppliers who share our ethos.
We carried out a lot of research into the carbon and plastic off-setting schemes out there, ultimately opting to partner with the respected organisations Carbon Neutral Britain and rePurpose Global. WPR is now a carbon-neutral and plastic-neutral workplace, across the personal and professional lives of our whole team.
With a climate committee constantly looking for new opportunities to promote green initiatives and a percentage of net profit committed to making WPR a greener place to work, there will be much more to come this year.
1.5%net profit to schemes protectict the planet
1%net profit to support charitable causes
1%net profit allocated to pro bono work
1%net profit to foster diversity and inclusion
We’ve come a long way. We still have a way to go. But now we know that we can be part of the change. Our mission is to make good things happen for everyone in our world – the clients we serve, the people who make us, the community we love and the planet we share. We’re on track to become B Corp certified in the coming months, but this isn’t a project with an end goal; it’s a new way of life and we’re excited about what the future holds. Watch this space…
The author: Jane Ainsworth is managing director of WPR. She has more than 25 years’ experience in developing and delivering communications strategies and impactful consumer PR for brands including Dunelm, Tesco, Warner Leisure Hotels, Greene King, Alton Towers, Beaverbrooks and Oxfam.