WPP (and BCW)

Commercial and Professional Services

Risk Level:

Rating - Caution
Medium Risk

Summary:

WPP, a communications and public relations company, bought public relations firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) in 2018, forming one entity. WPP has not publicly canceled business relationships due to religious or political beliefs. However, it does not protect employees from viewpoint discrimination and pledges to vet suppliers for LGBTQ protections. WPP has donated to ideological groups hostile to freedom of expression, such as Black Lives Matter (BLM). The company also corporately engages in ideological matters, supporting the Equality Act and mandatory employee unconscious bias trainings. For these reasons, WPP earns a "Medium Risk" rating.

Criteria
Risk Level
Rationale
Corporate Weaponization
Criteria

Has denied service to customers, suppliers, or vendors due to their political views or religious beliefs OR corporately boycotts, divests, or sanctions regions, people groups, or industries.

Risk Level
Rationale

WPP has not publicly terminated employees or business relationships due to religious beliefs or political views. The company received a score of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign. Among other requirements, this means WPP has pledged to vet vendors based on LGBTQ policies (1).

Criteria

Charitable giving (including employee matching programs) policies or practices discriminate against charitable organizations based on views or religious beliefs.

Risk Level
Rationale

WPP does not publish specific charitable giving requirements, though it does not appear to discriminate against faith-based charities (1).

Criteria

Employment policies fail to protect against discrimination based on political affiliation/views and/or religion.

Risk Level
Rationale

WPP does not protect its employees from viewpoint discrimination (1).

Corporate Governance and Public Policy
Criteria

Uses corporate reputation to support ideological causes and/or organizations hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

WPP signed an open letter in support of the Equality Act (1). The company also supports “anti-racism” and hosts resources on its site supporting such ideology, such as Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to be an Antiracist” (2). The company hosts mandatory unconscious bias training for all employees (3). WPP’s subsidiary Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW)¬† has signed letters supporting the Equality Act and transgender participation in female sports and opposing the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act (4)(5). Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Executive VP was ranked 41 in the 2020 Pride Power List after he created the Human Rights Campaign Americans for Marriage Equality campaign (6). BCW’s Global President published a statement in support of Black Lives Matter (7).

Criteria

Uses corporate funds to advance ideological causes, organizations, or policies hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

WPP uses gift-matching funds to support BLM and Color of Change (1).

Criteria

Uses corporate political contributions for ideological, non-business purposes.

Risk Level
Rationale

WPP does not have a PAC but has not used corporate dollars to support ideological PACs (1). Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s PAC has not been active since 2020 (2). BCW has a record of giving in a bipartisan manner (3).

All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
January 18, 2023

Company reports are intended for educational use only. Full Disclaimer

Generate Reports
Clear
Toast