WPP announces commitments to fight racism

WPP

To help combat racial injustice and support Black and minority ethnic talent, WPP announced a set of commitments and actions.

WPP has announced that it will take decisive action on each of the 12 points in the “Call For Change” open letter to the industry from more than 1,200 Black advertising professionals. They will use their voice to fight racism and advance the cause of racial equality in and beyond their industry. The company will invest $30 million over the next three years to fund inclusion programmes within WPP and to support external organisations.

The 12 actions in the “Call For Change” letter range from investment in the career paths of Black employees and a measurable commitment to improving Black representation in senior management, to wage equity plans for people of colour and mandatory anti-racism training for leaders and HR employees. WPP will implement all 12 throughout WPP, on an accelerated timescale. This will include setting targets, tracking the progression of under-represented groups and publishing their racial diversity data. This work will be underpinned by a comprehensive review of policies, processes and practices.

The company will engage with clients, partners, peers, industry bodies, event organisers and suppliers to ensure that Black and minority ethnic talent is fairly represented not only in the work but in the industry and wider networks. They will formally commit only to participate in events or panels where people of colour are represented, in line with the pledge WPP CEO Mark Read signed some time ago not to participate in male-only panels. WPP will also identify and put forward people of colour as speakers at events to proactively raise visibility, and review supplier diversity to give greater support to minority-owned businesses.

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WPP will commit $10 million a year over the next three years to fund these programmes and to provide support for anti-racism charities. It will make donations, offer services pro bono and work with media partners to support charities and other organisations committed to fighting racism, developing minority talent, and addressing issues that affect Black and ethnic minority communities. WPP will also match employee donations to charities selected in consultation with our WPP Roots steering committee up to $1,000 per person, to a total of $1 million.

WPP’s new Global Inclusion Council will work with Mark Read and the WPP Executive Committee to ensure that the commitments above are met. Advising the Council will be a task force dedicated to advancing the opportunities and interests of Black colleagues specifically. The leaders of WPP’s global agency networks have each signed up to these commitments and will be held accountable for delivering them within their businesses.

Announcing the commitments, Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said “Over the last three weeks, I have heard an outpouring of pain, anger, and frustration from Black colleagues, along with clear demands for change. This is the moment to embrace that change and to use our creativity, our scale and our influence to make a difference in the fight against racism. WPP must support and elevate Black employees, and those from other under-represented groups, not as a diversity and inclusion initiative but as a business and moral imperative.”

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