Corporate responsibility and stakeholders
A RELX Group case study

Page 3: External stakeholders

External stakeholders are those individuals or groups outside a business. RELX Group differentiates itself from competitors by highligting its CR performance to external stakeholders.

Reed Elsevier 18 Diagram 2


Customers expect good value, high-quality products and great service. RELX Group 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.

RELX Group has a broad customer base across different sectors, professions and geogrpahies, or 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 lawyers  access a wealth of information quickly to support their jobs on a daily basis. For example, a lawyer may prepare for a legal trial drawing on  earlier case law found through a LexisNexis database.


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 RELX Group 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.

Suppliers can benefit from a responsible approach to production. One of RELX Group’sprinters in China applyied the Supplier Code of Conduct,  found thatadopting the Supplier Code of Conduct led to improved conditions and in turn  better quality output, lower turnover of staff and greater employee loyalty.


RELX Group 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.
  • For the past ten years, all parts of RELX Group have partnered with Book Aid International, donating more than 500,000 books to developing coutnries, including 10,000 scientific books in 2014 alone.


RELX Group makes a difference to communities around the world through its globalRE Cares programme, which is supported both centrally and in all business divisions.. In 2014, 32% of employees volunteered through RE Cares.

  • RE Cares Champions awarded nearly $400,000 to more than 30 charities in 2014.
  • In 2014, RELX Group announced the winners of the fourth RE Cares ‘Recognising Those Who Care’ Awards to highlight the outstanding contributions to RE Cares of eight colleagues and four staff teams.
  • RELX Group has a formal policy of donating unwanted book stock to institutions to provide more access to information.


RELX Group’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.

  • RELX Group is committed to reducing use of energy, water and paper in its publishing processes and using sustainable materials wherever possible. Production paper has decreased by 34% since 2008, purchased 46% of its electricity from renewable sources and had a 14% absolute reduction in water consumption between 2013 and 2014. The company uses video conferences and web-seminars 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 2014, 81 office locations gained green status by achieving five environmental standards as part of the RELX Group Standards programme. 30 locations achieved seven or more standards and were designated as green+, meaning they are the best performing locations in the business. Five sites in the UK achieved all 10 relevant standards.
RELX Group | Corporate responsibility and stakeholders


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