CR is not an isolated discipline at Experian; we intend its influence to eventually extend throughout the business. We have steps in place to ensure this happens but alignment with the main business strategy is key.
Experian is today focused on accelerating the growth that we have maintained throughout the global economic downturn. We're doing this by expanding global reach into new vertical markets and geographies, investing in new data sources and innovative analytics and making sure our sales infrastructure and operations are best-in-class. For more detail about our business strategy, see the relevant section in the Annual Report.
The central CR focus is embedded in all three aspects of this growth strategy.
Expanding global reach
Before any investment is made in products, people or infrastructure to support a new geography or vertical market, social, ethical and environmental (SEE) considerations are assessed as part of the standard investment review process.
More proactively, central funds are made available to support community investments in both established and emerging business segments. This year, as the business expanded in India, Experian supported the refurbishment of a school for the children of Dharavi, the largest slum in Mumbai, and is now working with a local bank to develop a programme of financial education.
A strong CR programme has been essential as Experian expands into new vertical markets. The right environmental credentials and approach to employee diversity were a prerequisite for obtaining supplier status with public sector organisations such as Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the UK.
Delivering innovative data and analytics
Investment on a macro scale in new data sources and projects to strengthen the core business is complemented by central CR seed funding investments to grow innovative products that have a strong social impact. Termed 'Big Ideas', relatively small amounts are invested but encourage 'big thinking' across a broad spectrum of social issues. The first project reported under this programme has now led to a proposal for a mainstream business development in Microfinance.
Executing superior sales and operations
As Experian invests in its sales and operations, a priority is made of ensuring everyone is aware of data compliance issues and operating to a strict ethical code of conduct. Using and protecting data properly is seen as one of the six key CR responsibilities and, this year, Information Security training for all employees was a priority. Data compliance training for sales teams was also instigated and a global code of conduct launched.