Please note: this blog was published in October 2020 and its content is based on what was correct at the time of writing. As a result, some of the facts and opinions may no longer be current or relevant.
In the modern world of ever-increasing complexity, quality insight is critical to the successful leadership of the fundamental pillars of society. Not only has decision-making become more complex and technical, the stakes have also increased dramatically with many more people’s livelihoods potentially at risk. Only with access to quality data, analytical tools, information, and research can leaders across professional, business, government and non-government agencies drive practices and policies forward, in a way that protects the welfare and rights of all they serve.
RELX is at the forefront of the evolving information economy, delivering critical research and tools in the areas where they are most needed. For example, RELX’s research publications accounted for 63% and 49% of citations in environment science and fossil fuels respectively, with both research topics increasingly focused on the growing impact of climate change1. Scientific research and access to timely and accurate information remains the backbone of the world as we know it. Without constant advances, institutions that form the basis of society run the risk of going down the wrong path at a great cost. RELX provides the insight and knowledge that drives humanity forward in a responsible and sustainable way.
Our Ethical Investment Plans include RELX, which is held in the Aberdeen Standard Investments UK Ethical Fund.
The finance stuff 📈
Company value: £33.0bn
Share price: £17.0
2019 Profits: £1.5bn
What does RELX do? 🤷
RELX is headquartered in London and was formed in 1992 when Reed International, a UK publisher, and Elsevier, a Dutch scientific publisher, merged. While the company’s origins are in publishing, it has undergone a transformation to be more focused on technology and research content. The company was renamed to RELX in 2015 to reflect this transition, having been known as Reed Elsevier since 19922.
RELX is a collection of global businesses and operates across four broad areas:
- Technical and medical
- Risk and business analytics
- Legal and exhibitions
The company’s advanced product offering provides the foundation for advancements in science, medical care, and justice. RELX also serves the financial sector, with its products driving effective oversight of potential financial criminal activity and helping insurance companies evaluate risk. The company’s events and exhibitions arm, which is the largest of its kind in the world, seeks to empower business customers with knowledge about markets, product sourcing, and processing transactions1.
What positive impact is RELX having? 🌱
Dr Marcia Balisciano’s mission, over her nearly 18-year tenure as the Global Head of Corporate Responsibility at RELX, has been to engrain a culture of sustainability across RELX’s 33,000 global employees1.
The company’s corporate responsibility goals are aligned with the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), with a focus on managing the ongoing sustainability of the material areas that affect all companies. These include Governance, People, Customers, Community, Supply Chain, and Environment. Highlighting Environment; in 2019 the company purchased renewable energy equal to 96% of its electricity usage, and plans are to increase this to 100% in 20203.
Externally, RELX aims to make a difference through its ‘unique contributions as a business’, which are the inherent positive societal impacts of its various business units. These include the following key areas:
- Universal, sustainable access to information
- Advances of science and health
- Protection of society
- Promotion of law and justice
- Community development
As an example, RELX has committed to increasing access to free content in the RELX United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals Resource Centre by 25% in 20201. Democratisation of important knowledge and information such as this can only have a positive impact on global institutions and policy makers.
What RELX has to say 📣
“To be a leading company means acting with corporate responsibility (CR), that is, with the highest ethical standards, while channelling our strengths to make a difference. To us, CR is not a programme or prescriptive set of activities, it is how we do what we do on a daily basis – working to increase the positive (and minimise any negative) impact of our business. It is the responsibility of everyone at RELX.
CR gives us competitive advantage. We build good relations with customers and investors, current and future employees, as well as governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the communities in which we live and work. CR underpins our business strategy to deliver improved outcomes for our customers by combining content and data with analytics and technology across global platforms. It helps us build leading positions in our markets by leveraging our skills and assets.”
Dr Marcia Balisciano
Global Head of Corporate Responsibility
Corporate Responsibility Report, 2019
What Aberdeen Standard Investments think… 🤓
“As one of the largest publishers of academic research, RELX contributes to the advancement of science globally. Across a portfolio of 2,500 journals, RELX organises the review, editing and dissemination of around 18% of the world’s research output. The business is increasingly launching tools to enable even more efficient working and improve scientific productivity. The business also has a range of initiatives to widen inclusion in science.
RELX also plays a role in fraud prevention, serving financial institutions, governments and e-commerce businesses. Through data & analytics tools, RELX provides risk management and identity checking services which support their customers in tackling challenges including identity theft, bribery and corruption, and cybercrime.”
To wrap up 🎁
As the world’s population and the associated risks rise, never has the availability of quality data, information, research, and analytical tools been more important. Only with insight and understanding of the challenges we face can we make decisions that have the best chance of a favourable outcome for as many as possible.. RELX’s focus on unique contributions across a range of key societal pillars, ensures that a wide range of decision-makers have access to in-depth resources when considering decisions and policies. RELX’s business spans medicine, law, science, business and financial markets to empower its customers do the right thing. The company is also committed to sustainability within its own operations, and it is no wonder that it has been ranked as one of the top performers in sustainability by a range of independent bodies, including the Financial Times and the United Nations1.
Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.