WPP has pledged to phase out single-use plastics in its 3,000-plus agency offices and campuses around the world by the end of the year.
The company, which has agencies including Wunderman Thompson, Grey, VMLY&R and Group M, announced this morning that it will no longer buy or provide items such as plastic bottles, straws, cutlery and cups. It has also promised to make it easier for staff to recycle their own plastic at work.
WPP has signed up to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which is led by UN Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SC Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever are also signatories to the initiative.
Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, said: "Our industry has tremendous collective power to bring about change for the better, but our efforts have to begin at home. Taking the plastic out of Wire & Plastic Products by phasing out single-use plastics in our offices is just the first step.
"People expect companies to act responsibly and help them live more sustainably, and our clients look to us to help them deliver brands with purpose. We look forward to working with partners across the industry and using our creativity, insight and scale to make a difference."
WPP will host creative hackathons, which it is calling "Unpack the Problem", over the summer to come up with "actionable ideas that help tackle plastic pollution".
Sian Sutherland, co-founder of the global movement A Plastic Planet, said: "Plastic is a miracle material born from man’s creativity. But our misuse of plastic has now created an environmental disaster that our children will inherit if we don’t turn off the plastic tap fast.
"To have the full creative force of WPP focused on driving change at many levels will accelerate the pace globally. Bad design got us into this mess and good design will get us out of it."