“Corporate responsibility is fundamental to the long term success of Reed Elsevier.”
Erik Engstrom , Chief Executive Officer
We apply rigour to corporate responsibility because it ensures our long term competitiveness and matters to our key stakeholders. Our customers gain confidence that they are dealing with a company committed to excellence in all its activities; our employees feel pride in helping make a difference; and investors and others recognise we are working to minimise our non-financial risks and maximise opportunities.
Our unique contributions as a business – how we benefit society through our products and services – are our starting point. As detailed in this report, we concentrate on universal sustainable access to information, advancing science and health, promoting the rule of law and justice, and protecting society. An example in 2011 was our involvement in a UNICEF project exploring the effects of climate change on children. We provided use of our information sources and facilitated the contribution of authors and editors, among other support. We also awarded the first Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge grants to improve access to water, including a project that will bring fresh water to schools in Kenya.
We must also manage well the material issues that affect all companies, specifically focusing on governance, people, customers, community, supply chain and the environment. We made good progress last year ensuring that 99% of staff have been trained on our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, which sets the standards of our corporate and individual behaviour, and beginning implementation of our diversity and inclusion strategy to ensure a work environment that spurs innovation and respects all individuals and their contributions.
We prioritised product accessibility to help customers, regardless of physical ability, make full use of our information, producing a guide for staff entitled Accessibility Matters, among other measures. We also found ways to recognise our colleagues who make exceptional contributions to their communities with a new awards programme; employees from across our business units participated in a Habitat for Humanity project in Central America led by one of our senior leaders.
We know we have more to do. Our goals for the year ahead, as detailed in each section of the report, reflect this. For example, we will be aiming to increase the number of suppliers who sign up to our Supplier Code of Conduct and limit our environmental footprint in areas like energy consumption. We will be engaging our people in these efforts through our Champions networks that span the whole of our business, like our Socially Responsible Suppliers group and employee-led Green Teams. We will also be undertaking a global employee opinion survey to hear staff views on how we are performing and meeting their needs.
We value the opinions of others, and in 2011 held a stakeholder session with our Corporate Responsibility Forum to gain a range of perspectives on issues facing us and our sector. We continue to support key initiatives like the United Nations Global Compact, a forum for learning and sharing best practice, which unites more than 10,000 companies around the globe in pursuit of ten principles related to human rights, labour, environment and anti-bribery.
Our objective is to be the best performing company we can be in all areas, including corporate responsibility.
Chief Executive Officer