Our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct (the Code) is disseminated to every employee and sets the standards for our corporate and individual conduct. Among other topics, the Code continues to address fair competition, anti-bribery, conflicts of interest, employment practices, data protection and appropriate use of company property and information. It also encourages reporting of violations – with an anonymous reporting option – and prohibits retaliation against anyone who makes a report. The Code incorporates the principles of the UNGC and stresses our commitment to human rights. In accordance with the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we have considered where and how we operate and have concluded that there is low human rights risk in our direct employment activities (for more information on human rights see Supply chain). In 2016, we released our Modern Slavery Act Statement which highlights how we are working internally, through our supply chain and externally with partners to address the risk of slavery and human trafficking.

All employees are given required training on the 2016 Code. This training is part of the compliance curriculum for new hires and is reissued at regular intervals to ensure full understanding and acknowledgement of the Code and associated policies. Mandatory periodic training covers specific code topics, such as anti-bribery, competition laws and protecting data and preventing workplace harassment, supplemented by in-person training for higher-risk roles. In 2016, we broadened our workplace harassment training and issued a new Respectful Workplace Training Course for all employees.

Key elements of the Code and policies are reinforced throughout the year in general employee materials and messages targeted to special audiences such as those in higher-risk roles or locations. With a dedicated Compliance Communication Director, weekly emails and regular articles have increased readership of compliance and governance materials in 2016 including a third series of popular information security awareness videos, Restricted Intelligence, compliance videos and compliance challenge contests.

Reports of violations of the Code or related policies are promptly investigated, with careful tracking and monitoring of violations and related mitigation and remediation efforts by Compliance teams across the business. We broadened training of investigators in 2016, covering areas like employee relations, data security and financial misconduct.

In 2016, we remained diligent in our ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with applicable bribery and sanctions laws, including monitoring and auditing implementation of our anti-bribery requirements.

As a signatory to the UNGC and its principles, encompassing labour, environment, anti-corruption and human rights, we demonstrated leadership in 2016 by serving on the UNGC Advisory Group for the UK, the UNGC Supply Chain Advisory Group and the Caring for Climate Steering Group. We played a leadership role in the UNGC’s launch of Business for the Rule of Law, the Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability and the Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability. UNGC peers judged our Communication on Progress, required of signatories annually, to have attained Advanced Level. We were also active in the Dutch UNGC network.

In 2016, the RELX Group global business paid £402m in corporate taxes. We are a responsible corporate taxpayer and conduct our tax affairs to ensure compliance with all laws and relevant regulations in the countries in which we operate. Tax is an important issue for our direct stakeholders and society at large. In 2016, RELX Group provided additional clarity on its approach to taxation by making its Tax Principles available to all on its website. In addition, the RELX Tax team continued to engage with policymakers and special interest groups on all sides of the debate to provide practical experience on how companies interact with tax laws and to suggest ways such laws can advance governments’ policy objectives.

The Statement of Investment Principles for the UK pension scheme indicates that the extent to which social, environmental or ethical issues may have a financial impact on the portfolio or may have a detrimental effect on the strength of the employer covenant, is taken into account when making investment decisions. CR issues are relevant to other investment decisions we make. Among our sustainable investments is Agworld, a collaborative farming solution that allows farmers and agronomists to work together as one. Agworld provides data capture and communication tools and maps to increase production efficiency.

2016 OBJECTIVES Achievement
Develop compliance plan for impending EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
  • Planning underway for GDPR implementation in May 2018
  • RELX-wide contact point designated
Implement enhanced email retention policy for improved consistency and efficiency
  • Policy for two year automatic email deletion approved, with implementation in planning stages
  • Communication and training planned to ensure understanding of policy and how to save email required for longer
Expand network of global compliance investigators
  • Training of internal investigators has continued
  • Relationships strengthened with auditing and law firms with a global presence to ensure external investigation resources as needed
  • Continuing investigations training for HR representatives; solidified relationship with external investigator for Asia Pacific region
  • Expand fraud prevention and cyber security awareness efforts and continue to tighten related controls
  • More structured approach to compliance training for employees in higher risk roles and locations across the Group
  • Broaden awareness of RELX Tax Principles in external communications, with internal training for relevant staff

Undertake consistent actions that reinforce excellence in corporate governance and compliance with all applicable legislation and our principles and policies

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