Corporate responsibility and stakeholders
A Reed Elsevier case study

Page 3: External stakeholders

External stakeholders are those individuals or groups outside a business. To differentiate the company from other information providers, Reed Elsevier focuses on CR performance.


Reed Elsevier 18 Diagram 2Customers expect good value, high-quality products and great service. Reed Elsevier achieves this through close relationships and consultation with customers. It conducts widespread surveys of customer opinion.

These identify the value customers place on its services and products and highlight potential improvements. In this way, customers have a real role in helping the business to develop and grow. This results in longer-term relationships where customers feel they have an input into the services offered. It builds loyalty and creates the potential for increased business.

Reed Elsevier customers come from the public, commercial and academic sectors, from many professions and geographic regions, which is reflected in the spread of its business divisions, for example:

  • Elsevier’s scientific publications provide critical research information to support innovation and development. They have enormous social value and may affect lives across the world. The division’s online medical data provides vital information to doctors in hospitals. Video, text and animation of medical procedures help doctors and students learn.
  • LexisNexis provides online solutions to help professional users to access a wealth of information quickly to support their jobs on a daily basis. For example, a lawyer may prepare for a legal trial using earlier case law.


Suppliers also hold a stake in the company to which they provide materials and services. For example:

  • As part of the company’s Socially Responsible Supplier programme, suppliers are asked to sign the Reed Elsevier Supplier Code of Conduct. This sets out the standards which it expects its suppliers to meet. Suppliers must follow all relevant laws, promote best practice and respect environmental conditions, such as using sustainable sources for paper or dealing responsibly with waste products.


Reed Elsevier has established partnerships across its different divisions. For example:

  • Elsevier promotes science, technology and medical information programmes. The Elsevier Foundation promotes the work of libraries and scholars in science, technology and medicine.
  • Over the last nine years, Reed Exhibitions has given free space at the London Book Fair to Book Aid International which annually provides over 500,000 books – including those donated from across Reed Elsevier – to readers in the developing world. This enables the charity to engage with a wide range of potential book and financial donors.
  • Partners in the supply chain, such as one of Reed Elsevier’s printers in China, also benefit from its responsible approach to production. By applying the Supplier Code of Conduct, the printer found that improved conditions led to better quality output, lower turnover of staff and greater employee loyalty.


Reed Elsevier 18 Image 3Reed Elsevier’s initiatives make a difference to communities around the world. The RE Cares programme is supported both centrally and in all business divisions. This programme encourages staff to work together to make a difference in local communities. More than 30% of employees volunteered through RE Cares in 2012:

  • It supports education for disadvantaged young people. Initiatives range from reading support to charity fundraising.
  • RE Cares Champions awarded nearly $400,000 to more than 50 charities in 2012.
  • In 2012, Reed Elsevier announced the winners of the second RE Cares ‘Recognising Those Who Care’ Awards to highlight the outstanding contributions to RE Cares of eight colleagues and four staff teams.
  • Reed Elsevier has a formal policy of donating unwanted book stock to institutions to provide more access to information.


Reed Elsevier’s CR approach impacts on society in several ways:

  • In line with its Code of Ethics, it promotes responsible advertising and a transparent editorial policy for its publications.
  • Reed Elsevier is committed to reducing use of energy, water and paper in its publishing processes and using sustainable materials wherever possible. It has seen a 33% reduction in paper between 2008 and 2012, sourced 33% of its electricity from renewable sources and prevented an increase in water consumption despite growing business revenue by nearly 15%. The company uses video conferences and webseminars to save on travel costs and reduce its carbon emissions. It has a network of Environmental Champions and employee-led Green Teams to promote greater recycling and reduced energy use throughout the business.
  • Reed Exhibitions drives forward sustainable practice in the global meetings and events industry, working to improve environmental performance at its shows through implementation of the BS 8901 standard, which became an internationally recognised ISO 20121.
  • In 2012, 69 office locations gained green status by achieving five environmental standards as part of the Reed Elsevier Standards programme. 13 locations achieved seven or more standards and were designated as green+, meaning they are the best performing locations in the business.
Reed Elsevier | Corporate responsibility and stakeholders


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