Stakeholder dialogue and partnerships
By building strong partnerships, we can create better solutions and make a greater difference in our markets than if we worked alone. Understanding our stakeholders and what they say about us is essential for doing business properly. We can add the most value in the areas where our values align with our stakeholders’, so we actively seek partnerships with these organisations.
Our businesses regularly engage with stakeholders including employees, consumers, governments, regulators, investors, media, NGOs, academic institutions and suppliers. In some cases, these stakeholders provide our licence to operate, so building trusting and equitable relationships with them is vital.
Stakeholders’ views can be challenging, especially those of some NGOs, but these conversations can also be a valuable part of a constructive collaboration. Our stakeholders can help us to shape our approach and guide us on specific issues, where they may have far greater knowledge than us. That said, we must also consider these views in the round and in the context of our commercial direction and our broader challenges.
One of the primary drivers for launching our Heart of Experian Social Responsibility programme was to engage our employees in delivering our CR programme. In March 2013, we revised our global people survey to understand the “sustainable engagement” of our employees. This measure describes the intensity of employees’ connection to Experian based on three criteria: the extent of their commitment to achieve work goals, whether their working environment supports their productivity, and how well their work experience promotes their wellbeing. This year, our score was 74% and we will continue to monitor our progress.
Often we are the interface between consumers, legislators and our corporate clients. In these cases, we ensure the needs of each are well understood so that we can take a balanced view as we integrate their needs into our thinking.
To understand the views of consumers, we use a range of customer satisfaction measures and customer research programmes. As we explained in the consumer section on page 10, we have dedicated consumer champions in each region, tasked with cultivating good, trusting relationships with consumers and developing valuable consumer insights and knowledge, which help us to create better products and services. For example, in North America our consumer champions sit on the board of trustees and committees of several of our community partners. Some of the champions also sit on our consumer forum, the Experian Consumer Council, such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Talking openly to policy makers and sharing our knowledge of successful data management and protection is crucial to designing the best legislation, so this is an important part of our engagement activity. We seek to offer insights to legislators addressing key issues pertinent to our business and the wider industry. For example, in the UK and Ireland we are members of the Open Data User Group, which advises the UK Government on using and releasing data to the public.
We put considerable effort into understanding our corporate clients’ perceptions, through regular discussions with them and through more formal techniques such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Every region uses this quantitative method and we track performance carefully.
Our Supply Chain Principles promote good environmental and labour practices among our suppliers. These principles are based on internationally accepted CR standards and we include them in the majority of our supplier contracts. We have also developed an overview of the proportion of SMEs among our suppliers and assessed the financial stability of some of them.
The Group welcomes the increasing focus on business and human rights. We aim to reflect the principles of human rights in our values and in the ethical and responsible way we run our business, as described in our Global Code of Conduct and policies on our website.
Our Global Code of Conduct sets expectations for employee conduct and helps us make the right business decisions for our clients, shareholders and the global consumers we serve each day. The Group also has HR policies, a global Health and Safety policy, global Anti-Bribery & Corruption policies and Supply Chain guidelines which cover our key human rights risks.
We believe our risks in this area are low, but should these change, we will undertake a review of our framework.
We aim to develop long-term partnerships with our stakeholders. Here are examples of stakeholder feedback:
BUSINESS IN THE COMMUNITY
“Experian’s programme of investment in social innovation is beginning to create true shared value. This, combined with their ambition to assess the social impact of mainstream products, really identifies them as one of the originators in inclusive business. They have set out a pioneering approach and engaged their senior leadership in its development – a company to watch!”
National Account Manager, Business in the Community, UK
NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR CREDIT COUNSELLING
“Experian’s generous gift in support of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s Sharpen Your Financial Focus program underscores its commitment to financial education and to the American consumer. The donation from Experian is a useful resource to put in the hands of people looking to better understand how to get control of their finances. The NFCC network is proud to join forces with Experian, as together we help Americans emerge from one of the most difficult financial crises of their lifetimes and rebuild their financial futures.”
Susan C. Keating
President and CEO of the NFCC and Dawn Lockhart, president and CEO of NFCC Member Agency Family Foundations, USA
“At Big Issue Invest we have a long history of tackling social problems by providing finance to social enterprises from £50,000 to £1 million. One such project, the Rental Exchange, will address a historical unfairness that has lasted too long. We specifically chose Experian because of their expertise, experience and market position in the UK. Housing providers are now enthusiastic about joining the scheme, so it is proving to be a valuable partnership with the potential to help some of the most vulnerable people in society get a fairer deal.”
Deputy chief executive and director of development, Big Issue Invest, UK
“Developing partnerships is at the core of everything we do and I’m delighted that Experian has been a loyal supporter of the Money Advice Trust for many years, not only financially but also with expert advice. We value this partnership and we have learnt a lot from Experian’s expertise which has helped us, for example, better understand the demographics of the UK and where our free, independent debt advice services, such as National Debtline and Business Debtline, are most needed.”
Joanne Elson, OBE
Chartered Director and Chief Executive of Money Advice Trust, UK
PERSONAL FINANCE EDUCATION GROUP
“We were delighted to enter into a ground-breaking partnership with Experian at the beginning of 2013 to extend our Centres of Excellence schools programme into schools in some of our most deprived communities. Working together, by the end of this three-year programme we will have transformed the teaching of financial education in more than 20 schools in areas of deprivation across the country, at a time when it has never been more important to ensure that young people are taught these crucial life skills.”
Chief executive of pfeg (Personal Financial Education Group), UK
“Serasa Experian is committed to generating a positive impact on the communities where it operates. Sonhos Reais Program is a comprehensive approach to deliver financial literacy and awareness to low income young and adults in public schools and NGOs, through the work of volunteers. Serasa Experian employees serve as tutors in a dynamic and engaging methodology. The company’s focus on Financial Education as main cause for its social investment has the potential to improve thousands of people’s quality of life.”
President of MGN Consulting, Brazil