Material environmental risks

Risk Implication Response
Regulatory risks:
1. Climate change regulation and green tax

Legislation relating to climate change and energy is progressing in many of the territories in which we operate.

This covers many elements of our engagement on climate change, such as:

  • the purchase of compliant renewable energy products
  • mandatory reporting of climate change information
  • a carbon tax or levy on the energy we purchase
  • the introduction of mandatory energy audits

The positive agreement at the 2015 UN climate talks in Paris increases the likelihood of additional climate legislation and taxes.

Climate change regulation and green taxes can help reduce carbon emissions and reduce the effects of increased carbon in the atmosphere.
We recognise this may impact our operating costs through higher energy prices, taxes, and increased compliance costs.
Mandatory reporting requirements require us to disclose our carbon emissions in our Annual Reports.
Climate legislation and green taxes will affect our supply chain.

The expansion of climate legislation or tax regimes will increase the need for clear guidance on these issues for our customers. We are well positioned to meet these requirements.

As a predominantly office-based company, we are not substantially impacted by climate change legislation. However, we are supportive of these developments given the climate change improvements that can result across industries and geographies. We recognise such legislation can impact the price of electricity and other fuels we purchase.
We undertake ongoing energy efficiency measures and also have energy reduction targets to offset exposure. We voluntarily disclose our carbon emissions.

We introduced a new target to produce content that advances action on climate change.

2. Sustainable paper requirements
US Lacy Act and European 'Due Diligence' We are obligated under the Lacy Act to ensure that we do not import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce, any paper that contains illegal pulp. The Illegal Timber Law, previously known as the Due Diligence Regulation, is a European approach to ensuring non-importation of illegal pulp. Printed products are at present exempt but this is also expected to change in the future. As a founding member of The Publishers' database for Sustainable Ethical Paper Sourcing (PREPS), we grade our paper based on the sustainability of pulp and other sources. In doing so, we reduce the potential of non-compliance, fines, and other financial costs. In 2015, 100% of the paper graded through PREPS achieved a grade 3 or 5 (known and responsible sources). The RELX Group Paper Policy commits us to purchasing sustainable paper wherever possible. We introduced a target to maintain 100% of our papers graded on PREPS to a rating of 3 or 5 (known and responsible sources).
Physical risks:
3. Flooding, sea level rise, and increased extreme weather events

Flooding, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events are already impacting societies and businesses; these occurrences are likely to increase, but it is difficult to be precise about the extent of future impacts.

In 2014 and 2015, we experienced severe weather events in areas where we operate, including a typhoon in Asia, and hurricanes and in North America.

As a global company with operations across the world, we know weather events have the potential to affect our operations and to our employees in affected regions. This could impact business continuity and the delivery of services, and increase our insurance premiums. It could also impact our supply chain and access to raw materials used in our products, such as paper.

Our customers may also be directly affected, preventing them from accessing our products (e.g. unable to travel to a trade show, unable to attend a library).

We offer products and services which help to evaluate the risks associated with extreme weather or flooding. There is likely to be an increase in demand for these products as industry tries to evaluate the risks.

We continue to assess the risk to our businesses and improve business continuity plans. We maintain robust insurance programmes, which cover flooding and other extreme weather exposure. Through our Socially Responsible Suppliers network, we work with suppliers to address potential risks. Our environmental information helps inform decision makers on this issue, identifying good practice on adaptation.

We work in partnership with other organisations, such as Caring For Climate or The Aldersgate Group, to support efforts to avoid harmful climate change.

4. Changing temperature and weather patterns
Changes in temperature and rainfall as a result of climate change make it hard to predict operating costs and impact our heating and cooling requirements.

Through our Group Environmental Survey we track changes in weather conditions that have had both positive and negative effects on our energy consumption. Milder winter or summer weather can reduce the energy we use for heating and cooling.

We offer products and services which help professionals to understand the impacts of changing weather patterns. Demand for these products will rise as the need to assess risks increases.

We engage colleagues on relevant issues through our Environmental Champions Network, and have established working groups in specific areas like data centres; we have dedicated engineering, design, and construction specialists who focus on areas of concern throughout our portfolio. Climate change risks are factored into property investment decisions.
Other risks:
5. Reputation
Customers are increasingly aware of environmental issues and as a provider of leading environmental information it is incumbent on us to show good practice. Although RELX Group does not directly serve consumers, our reputation is important if customers are to have faith in the information we provide. Sales could be impacted by poor management of environmental issues. We have a well-established network of Environmental Champions, and employee-led Green Teams, and involvement by the Chief Financial Officer. We work to understand and mitigate our environmental risks and pursue and share good practice with peers and others. Our participation in initiatives such as the United Nations CEO Water Mandate and our sector leader status in indices such as the CDP Forest Programme provide transparent external benchmarking of our environmental activities.

Opportunities

Opportunity Implication Response
1. Cost savings

Cost savings can result from energy efficiency measures and efficient use of resources.

Reduced costs and operational efficiency are beneficial to our business. This encompasses reductions in direct costs (for example, electricity purchases) or indirect costs (for example, reduced cost in our supply chain through improvements in processes, product distribution, etc.).

We focus on attaining energy efficiency through our EMS; Environmental Champions, Green Teams, and other networks; Environmental Standards programme; employee engagement activities; and the environmental targets we set.

Our e-sourcing tool helps identify environmentally responsible suppliers at the proposal stage, and our Socially Responsible Suppliers programme monitors supplier performance.

2. Environmental Products and Services

Our growing portfolio of environmental products and services spread good practice, encourage debate and aid researchers and decision makers.

The most recent results from the independent Market Analysis System show our share of citations in environmental science represented 39% of the total market and 74% in energy and fuels.
The development of environmental products and services represents a business opportunity for RELX Group. We have an Environmental Target to Use our unique contributions to produce content that advances action on climate change. A good example of this was the contribution of the different business units to COP21 in Paris.
3. Environmental Certification

More successful tenders and better customer relationships can be achieved through ISO14001 certification

ISO1401 certification allows us to clearly demonstrate the strength of our environmental management system and communicate this to customers, investors and employees.

We have a Target to achieve ISO14001 certification at 50% of the global business by headcount by 2020.