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We believe our commercial goals and our social purpose are mutually reinforcing.

Robin Freestone
Chief financial officer

Last year, we set out a new responsibility framework for Pearson:

  1. We start with our company strategy and purpose. Pearson is a commercial organisation with a social purpose: to help people make progress in their lives through learning. We believe our commercial goals and our social purpose are mutually reinforcing and that our financial strength provides the means for us to invest and innovate.
  2. We focus on three key issues of social and economic importance where we believe Pearson can make a unique contribution. They are literacy, learning outcomes and competitiveness.
  3. Beyond those three issues, we have a wider agenda for responsible business practice that covers our interest in nurturing diversity, investment in community partnerships, supply chain management and environmental responsibility. 
  4. We recognise that our approach to responsible business is grounded in our company values, ethics and behaviour. 

This framework is a good one for Pearson and in this report, we set out the commitments we have made and the actions we are taking around the company. 

We are pleased that our commitment - and in particular the efforts of our people - continue to be recognised by authorities in the field. We led our sector and achieved gold status in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and were ranked Platinum level in Business in the Community's Corporate Responsibility Index.

Still, our company and our industries faced challenges in 2011. We contributed to the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the UK press; The Pearson Foundation was the subject of some public criticism (which it, and we, believe is misplaced); and the UK's examination boards, including our own Edexcel, faced intense media and political scrutiny.

We have learnt from all those issues, and many others besides. In fact our motto - always learning - does set out the way we try to think and operate as a company. We therefore welcome comments and feedback on this aspect of the company as we do any other. Please e-mail me at or contact our head of corporate responsibility, Peter Hughes, at with any questions or thoughts you may have.

Robin Freestone
Chief financial officer
(and Board member responsible for corporate responsibility)