“What we do impacts the world. Our products and services shed light on some of the most pressing global issues. We must pursue the highest levels of corporate responsibility to benefit our stakeholders and ensure our long-term sustainability.”
We facilitate the exchange of information that drives forward science and better health; reduces risk and fraud for industry, governments and civil society; promotes the rule of law and justice; and fosters communities across diverse sectors. These unique contributions map to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to protect the planet and improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable. To support their launch, in 2015 we produced Sustainability Science in a Global Landscape, a first-of-its-kind, free resource to explore the state of research underpinning the SDGs. The report highlights opportunities for greater collaboration between the global north and south, and among developing countries. It also shows areas, like justice, where research output could be increased. During the year, we also worked with the UN Global Compact (UNGC) on Business for the Rule of Law, new guidance to help companies go beyond legal minimums to strengthen the frameworks necessary for development. It was a tangible way we demonstrated our commitment to the UNGC’s 10 principles – encompassing human rights, labour, the environment and anti-bribery – which form the basis of the ethics documents that underpin our business and our relationships with suppliers.
So if what we do impacts the world, how we do it matters too. We heard from our people, investors and government in the year on the issues they feel are most material to our business. We set relevant objectives and made progress on governance, including enhancing trade sanctions and export controls compliance; people, mapping internal practice against the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles; customers, conducting more than 20 Quality First risk assessments to ensure the excellence of our content and services; community, encouraging nearly 80% of staff to participate in RE Cares Month volunteering around the globe; supply chain, conducting 77 comprehensive workplace conditions assessment audits; and environment, securing half of our electricity needs from renewable energy or Renewable Energy Certificates.
We know we can do more and in the year ahead, for the first time, we will set objectives for each of our unique contributions, and share our longer-term vision, including creation of a new SDG Resource Centre to aid scientific communities and the public. To address our key impact areas in 2016, we will develop a compliance plan for new EU data protection regulations, expand diversity and inclusion employee resource groups, broaden our Quality First Principles to cover more areas such as customer support, involve at least 60% of staff in our new global fundraising partnership, strive to increase the number of core suppliers as signatories to our Supplier Code and get started on reaching our new five-year environmental targets.
We will need the support of all our stakeholders to help us achieve RELX Group’s collective goals in the year ahead.Erik Engstrom
Chief Executive Officer