|Labour standards and human rights Pearson spends around £2bn each year with our suppliers across the world. This places a responsibility on us to encourage our supply chain partners to share our commitments and respect for human rights.|
|This is not an easy task as all our companies must be sensitive to the diverse cultures in which they operate. To help clarify our priorities, Pearson became a founder signatory to the United Nations Global Compact in 2000. The Global Compact sets out a series of nine principles
in the areas of labour standards, human rights and environmental management and provides companies with a framework for managing these responsibilities. Pearson interpreted these principles into a series of guidelines which we use to assess and report on our performance.
We recognise that our first responsibility is through the businesses we directly own across the world. In 2001, we introduced an annual survey of our workforce concerning labour standards and human rights to ensure that we live up to the commitments in our guidelines. The 2003 survey covers 83 business operations in 37 countries. As a result, we are confident that we meet our guidelines with regard to equal opportunities, employment conditions, dignity at work, fair pay and human rights.
Last year, we extended our survey to include our major subcontractors. We prepared the ground in 2002 by consulting with 16,000 of our suppliers around the world, to advise them of the commitments we made under the Global Compact. As key contracts came up for renewal or new contracts were negotiated, particularly those relating to paper supply, printing and distribution, we introduced contractual commitments relating to the Global Compact. These commitments are now included in many agreements. This will rise further this year.
In 2003, we began a programme of supplier visits to discuss our commitments and to review supplier performance. As a pilot, a Pearson team including the executive responsible for environmental issues and others from the Group's production departments visited a number of our printing subcontractors in China.
|The team discussed issues including health and safety, fair pay, environmental management as well as working and living conditions. Issues identified through the visits have been highlighted and are being followed up through our commercial relationships. Another production team raised similar issues in a separate visit to printers in India.
As well as looking at our own supply chain, we try to play our part in working towards an industry-wide commitment. Pearson, along with other major book publishing companies in the UK, is working to further develop industry standards and we will seek to replicate such a scheme in the US.
In addition to the direct environmental commitments outlined above we also plan a rolling programme to assess how our top printers and paper suppliers perform against our commitments under the Global Compact.