As we in the West and especially here in Britain appear reasonably well set to emerge from the pandemic, other parts of the world are still experiencing widespread suffering. India, for example, is still dealing with a huge public health crisis, with (at the time of writing) more than 28 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. It is into this difficult situation that we see RELX step. You might not have heard of RELX, whose shares we hold in our CFP Castlefield B.E.S.T. UK Opportunities Fund, but you have probably heard of the Lancet, https://www.thelancet.com, the company’s flagship healthcare publication and the doctors’ magazine of record.
Formerly known as Reed Elsevier, RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. RELX is a constituent of the FTSE100 and serves customers in more than 180 countries with offices in about 40 of those countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the company published and distributed major consumer titles like Marie Claire, Shoot and the NME, plus it employed your correspondent for two years. The company has changed a lot and, these days, RELX is almost purely digital, developing and publishing information for academic, professional and business customers in the Scientific, Technical & Medical, Risk, Legal and Exhibitions sectors.
Corporate Responsibility defines the way RELX does business, as the firm constantly strives to increase its positive impact and reduce any negative effects from its operations. The directors also think that being an outstanding corporate citizen gives them a competitive advantage in that it builds good relations with all its stakeholders as well as helping them attract and retain the best people.
In India, RELX’s Covid relief efforts are being coordinated by Shankar Kaul, who heads up their Elsevier division in the country. Drawing on its digital publishing expertise to help combat the wave of misinformation about the virus and to support customers, Elsevier has launched the India Covid-19 Healthcare Hub, a new information source specifically developed for India. The website includes short synoptic clinical overviews, medication information and easy-to-understand videos and instructions for patients. Other practical steps taken by Elsevier to help deal with the crisis in the sub-continent include enhancing measures to support employees as well as funding the provision of 22 high-flow oxygen concentrators, supporting more than 12,000 patients with serious illness. It is pleasing to read that Covid cases in India are now on the decline. Elsewhere, RELX’s Reed Exhibitions business collaborated with the City of Vienna to transform an exhibition venue in central Vienna into a field hospital with a 3,111-bed capacity.
RELX is committed to achieving positive societal goals in other areas too; its LexisNexis® Legal and Professional businesses made “Law360” and “Lexis Practice Advisor” news coverage and practical legal guidance freely available to help lawmakers, and legal and other professionals, successfully navigate legal issues surrounding Covid-19. It also launched Covid-19 and the Global Media Landscape, and the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation held virtual events on building leadership and the rule of law during the pandemic. Without respect for the rule of law, something which is being challenged during the pandemic as some administrations increasingly govern by decree, nations do not develop.
In the company’s Business Services operation in the US, RELX is doing some excellent work to address financial exclusion by providing the data tools to assist the “credit invisible,” those people who have limited formal credit records, many of whom are creditworthy but, without traditional credit scores, face greatly reduced access to affordable financial products, housing and employment. People from ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by this problem. To help address this issue, RELX’s LexisNexis® Risk ViewTM product combines alternative credit behaviour and life event insights to augment and enhance the traditional credit solutions and deliver a more rounded picture of a person’s creditworthiness, thereby facilitating increased financial inclusion but at a similar risk profile for lenders.
The company’s management is also committed to helping society meet the seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or UNSDGs. During 2020, they more than doubled the amount of content on their RELX SDG Resource Centre website, https://sdgresources.relx.com. As a PLC, RELX is very much on the front foot with its own governance and we’re confident that the company will continue to be at the leading edge of good corporate citizenship.
Written by David Gorman
Information is accurate as at 10.06.2021. Opinions constitute the author’s judgement as of this date and are subject to change without warning. The officers, employees and agents of CIP may have positions in any securities mentioned herein. This material may not be distributed, published or reproduced in whole or in part. With investment capital is at risk.