Pearson is the world's largest book publishing company and with this comes a huge sense of responsibility. Every day our people make editorial judgements - be it about the authors we sign; the books we publish; the online products we run; the stories we edit - that can have a big impact on our readers and users. Freedom of speech and editorial independence have always been at the heart of our businesses:
The Penguin Group
When Allen Lane founded Penguin back in 1935 his mission was to bring great literature to the masses with the first Penguin Classics costing the same as a pack of cigarettes. Since then, Penguin has been the champion of free speech, not being afraid to court controversy along the way. For example, in the 1960's Penguin published the first unabridged version of Lady Chatterley's Lover and in 1988 stood by its publication of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses.
Penguin lends its publishing voice to raise awareness of various causes. Here are some recent examples:
- Rough Guides, our travel guide imprint, published and printed two million copies of The Rough Guide to a Better World in 2004 in partnership with the Development Awareness Fund of the Department for International Development. The not-for-profit book was distributed free via post offices in the UK. Last year Rough Guides also published The Rough Guide to Ethical Shopping.
- In June 2004 Puffin published Making it Home to coincide with Refugee Week in the UK. Puffin partnered with the International Rescue Committee to publish this collection of real-life stories told by refugee children around the world. All royalties are donated to the charity.
- Dorling Kindersley has a history of publishing partnerships with charities including the Royal Horticultural Society, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and St John Ambulance. DK has also developed a special relationship with UNICEF to publish books to raise awareness of the UN's Convention of the Rights of the Child. These include Children Just Like Me and A Life Like Mine. In 2004 Dorling Kindersley published Stars at Bedtime, a selection of children's short stories chosen by celebrities, with donations from the book going to St George's Hospital in the UK.
The Financial Times Group
The Financial Times has a strong reputation for incisive and objective news reporting. This commitment dates back to 1908 when Pearson's then proprietor, Lord Cowdray, ventured into the publishing industry by investing in a London newspaper, the Westminster Gazette. He believed that the purpose of the paper was to be an independent voice in the community and this value has stood firm ever since.
The FT and its network of business newspapers and online sites is an important channel for helping to shape the debate on key political, economic and social issues. The FT Group also plays an important part in raising the profile of various causes and campaigning organisations. For example:
- Last year the FT donated advertising worth some £380,000 to support a variety of charities and causes. For example, the UK edition of the FT has been donating advertising space to the UK's largest homeless charity, Crisis, for the past 9 years. In 2004, Crisis' Christmas Challenge, where companies donate their Christmas card budget to the charity, raised more than £600,000. All four editions of the FT also donated free advertising space to the aid agencies appealing for funds to support the Tsunami relief effort.
- The FT is partner to a number of not-for-profit organisations such as the UK's Business in the Community and the International Prince of Wales Business Leaders' Forum. Both are committed to promoting and advancing responsible business behaviour and the FT has used its publishing voice to bring their work to a wider audience and help to put social responsibility on the mainstream business agenda.
- In 2004 the FT partnered with the Employers' Forum on Disability, the UK's leading organisation for understanding and promoting disability in the work place, to launch The Disability Standard. The Standard and accompanying Best Practice directory is a management tool to help UK businesses achieve the changes required under the Disability Discrimination Act.
- The FT is sponsor to The European-Atlantic Movement (TEAM), a charity that aims to promote understanding and discussion of European, transatlantic and world affairs to sixth formers and teachers. As a non-political organisation, this partnership fits well with the FT's independence as a newspaper.
- FTSE, a joint venture company between Pearson and the London Stock Exchange, include a series of "socially responsible indices" alongside its financial products. The FTSE4Good Index series is designed for use by retail SRI fund products and for fulfilling institutional mandates. These tradable indices form part of a market response for encouraging positive responsible practice. All licensing revenues from FTSE4Good indices are contributed by FTSE to UNICEF.
Every day Pearson Education produces textbooks, multimedia programmes and online services for use by students, teachers and professors. Our products - whether it's a child's first reading book, a school textbook, a digital college programme or school or professional certification - help people of all ages get on in their lives. This makes it hard to separate our impact on society from what we do everyday but here are a few noteworthy examples:
- In early 2005 Pearson Allyn & Bacon agreed to donate its share of the proceeds from its Intervening for Literacy textbook to Jumpstart, our not-for-profit partner in the US which pairs college students with pre-schoolers in low-income communities for one-to-one attention in literacy and language skills. The book is modelled after Jumpstart and sets out what volunteers and tutors need to know about early intervention for literacy development, and what they need to do.
- In 2004 Pearson Education partnered with Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to launch Wharton School Publishing. The debut title was C.K. Prahalad's The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits. Prahalad argues that the world's billions of poor people have immense untapped buying power and shows why business can't afford to ignore "Bottom of the Pyramid" markets. Prahalad challenges business to wake up and 'plug' in without regard for politics, personal gain or a concern about towing the party line. Amazon.com voted this as its top business book of 2004.
- Our Longman brand is active in HIV and AIDS awareness. Since 1997 Longman has published a range of books that tackle HIV/AIDS. The programme includes the Sara series, the product of a major research product undertaken by UNICEF on the empowerment of the girl child in Africa.
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