Pearson employs over 32,000 people around the world and our network of suppliers employ many more. We want Pearson to be known as a company that is brave, imaginative and decent. To help guide us, we have our Code of Business Conduct. This outlines the standards we expect not only of our employees, but of everyone connected with our company, including partners and suppliers.
We are also guided by the UN Global Compact's ten principles on labour standards, human rights, business ethics and the environment. Pearson became a founding signatory to the Global Compact at the United Nations in 2000 and served on the Advisory Council.
We have applied the Global Compact to our own business and created our own set of guidelines on labour standards and human rights which we use to assess and report on our performance. These guidelines are:
In 2001, with the assistance of independent consultants, we put in place a procedure to assess our performance against these guidelines. We carry out an annual survey among our human resources professionals focusing on these guidelines. The 2005 survey covered 90 business operations in 45 countries. Together, the business operations surveyed employ over 30,500 people out of a current universe of over 32,000 employees. The survey report can be found at www.pearson.com/community/progresscommunication.htm
Based on this report, employee feedback to our Code of Business Conduct and our social, environmental and ethical risk assessment processes, we can confirm that we have continued to meet the guidelines we have set ourselves.
Pearson spends over £2 bn each year with our suppliers. Our most significant categories of supply are:
The majority of our significant suppliers are located in North America and in Western Europe. However, some of our suppliers, particularly those providing print and production services are based in less developed countries. As our Code of Business Conduct and adherence to the Global Compact imply, we have certain principles we expect of all our suppliers wherever they are in the world. Since signing the Global Compact, we have:
In addition to our own programmes, Pearson is a strong supporter of industry co-operation to set common supplier standards. Industry co-operation has the dual advantage of increasing our influence as well as reducing the compliance costs for our supplier partners. This is why Pearson was one of the founding members of Publishers Resolution for Ethical Manufacturing Standards (PRELIMS) in the UK. PRELIMS introduced a common set of standards based on an existing model developed by the toy industry. All signatories commit to work only with printers that sign up to the standards, including an independent audit. In addition to our UK operating companies, our local business, Pearson Education Asia, has also adopted the PRELIMS standard.
We set a number of business targets in this area for 2005. Here is how we performed against them:
|Business targets||How we performed|
|To pilot an initial survey on labour standards and human
rights issues for completion by potential new suppliers
|To carry out an in-depth programme of supplier visits
in India focusing on labour standards and human
|Exceeded (visit programmes
in India and South Korea)
|To include a review of labour standards and human rights
issues into commercial supplier visits conducted by
members of the purchasing and production teams
|To consider with the heads of purchasing and production
opportunities for further improving how their teams are
involved in reviewing performance of suppliers against
the Global Compact
|To continue to work with the UK book publishing industry
to promote common standards on labour standards and
human rights with suppliers
For 2006, our targets in this area are: