Community Engagement Disclosure
Corporate citizenship and philanthropic strategy, principles and processes, including main priorities
Through responsible, sustainable business practices and our commitment to giving back, we care for the communities and markets where we live and operate our business. Our Global Responsibility & Sustainability strategy at Nielsen includes all environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that affect our business, operations and internal and external stakeholders. To activate this strategy, our Global Responsibility & Sustainability team oversees our global ESG approach and external reporting; employee engagement through volunteerism and pro bono donations of Nielsen data via our Nielsen Cares and Data for Good programs; and employee engagement and increased operational efficiencies through environmental sustainability efforts via Nielsen Green.
Nielsen Cares utilizes our data, expertise and associates to positively impact the communities in which we live and work around the world. Through 2018 and 2019, our Nielsen Cares efforts focused on four priority areas that represent critical areas of need we feel we are best equipped to address, given their strategic importance and our core competencies of our data, science and people. We will continue to update our approach to these and other areas as we evolve our business strategy, and as the most critical social and environmental needs change in our communities.
Guided by these four priorities, Nielsen Cares invests in communities through pro bono and in-kind donations, employee volunteering and direct corporate donations, as described below.
Pro bono and in-kind donations: Because we believe in the power of our collective impact, involvement and investment, we pledge at least $10 million each year in pro bono data and in-kind products and services—part of a larger goal to contribute a cumulative $50 million in-kind from 2016 through the end of 2020. We have already exceeded this goal with record-breaking years in both 2018 and 2019: In 2018, we donated the equivalent of $21.2 million of data, products and services, and in 2019, we exceeded this previous record by donating $24.5 million in-kind. These Data for Good projects leverage our data and expertise in support of social and environmental causes where we can make a difference.
Employee volunteering: We provide each Nielsen associate with 24 hours of dedicated volunteer time annually, with a goal to log 300,000 total volunteer hours (including dedicated volunteer time and personal volunteer time) from 2016 through the end of 2020. In 2019, Nielsen reached this goal early by surpassing 370,000 volunteer hours after Nielsen Global Impact Day (NGID), our annual day of service. On Tuesday, June 18, 2019, almost 24,000 Nielsen employees from 92 countries volunteered across more than 1,500 events as part of our eighth-annual NGID.
Direct donations: Nielsen also makes direct corporate donations to relevant nonprofit organizations. We updated our internal Third-Party Donations Policy in 2017. It clarifies our requirement that all donations must comply with the Nielsen Code of Conduct (including the Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy) and cannot be given to certain types of organizations (such as political organizations or any group that discriminates on any basis).
For more information see our Nielsen Cares website.
Nielsen Foundation: The Nielsen Foundation, a private foundation funded by Nielsen, makes direct grants to eligible nonprofit organizations. The Nielsen Foundation seeks to bridge divides and enhance the use of data by the social sector to reduce discrimination, ease global hunger, promote effective education and build strong leadership.
In 2018, the Foundation distributed $1.67 million across 58 organizations. In 2019, the Foundation distributed $1.71 million across 56 organizations.
The Foundation’s Data for Good grant program supports projects that use data in innovative ways and help bridge divides to catalyze long-term change by addressing one or more of the following goals:
In 2018, the Foundation launched two signature programs to promote education and inclusion: Discover Data (in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance and Discovery Education) and the TechDiversity Accelerator (in collaboration with Tampa Bay Wave).
For more information see the Nielsen Foundation website.
Community investment commitments and goals, and status
In-kind and financial giving by year and categories, including breakdown by category
2018 giving totals:
2019 giving totals:
Outputs and outcomes of community investments, including KPIs for philanthropy
We measure the success of our pro bono contributions and community investment efforts based on internal and external performance indicators. The following are the business benefits of our community investments:
The following are the social and community benefits and metrics we track:
Also, we regularly engage diverse consumers and organizations to share how their power and influence in the media and consumer goods industries—through their purchasing power and media consumption—shape markets and cultures. We measure this in part through the number of nonprofit volunteer and pro bono engagements that our Employee Resource Groups undertake, as well as the number of consumers/audiences reached with our Diverse Intelligence Series of reports.
Governance of charitable contributions, including grant funding applications process
Within Nielsen, our Global Responsibility & Sustainability team oversees and manages our global ESG strategy and reporting, Nielsen Cares (our social responsibility and hands-on employee volunteering efforts), Nielsen Green (our environmental sustainability activities) and our Data for Good pro bono program. This team reports to our Chief Legal & Corporate Affairs Officer and presents to the Nielsen Board of Directors at least once per year.
To carry out our Nielsen Cares programs around the world, we maintain and support global volunteer leadership councils representing all geographic markets across the company. In coordination with these volunteer leadership councils, we also have local, volunteer Nielsen Cares leaders on-site in more than 90 countries around the world. These leaders work to identify local engagement opportunities with organizations and develop projects for associates to connect with their communities and with each other.
In 2020, we are incorporating Nielsen Cares and Nielsen Green leaders as Social & Environmental Responsibility Committee leaders in our newly launched, integrated Inclusion Impact Team structure, enabling closer collaboration with Employee Resource Groups to advance shared goals.
Any charitable contributions made by Nielsen corporate must be made to a registered charitable organization or entity and not to an individual or to an organization linked to a political party, politician or government official. Also, any donation to a third party must be done in accordance with Nielsen’s internal Third Party Donations Policy, which ensures that all third-party donations, including charitable contributions, are properly reviewed, approved and classified for proper reporting.
Donations to religious organizations for sectarian purposes are not permitted. Also, Nielsen does not support organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability status, age, marital status, protected veteran status or any other protected class. Nielsen funds may not be used for political contributions or to attend political events.
The Nielsen Foundation, a private foundation funded by Nielsen, is overseen by a Board of Directors and accepts grant applications by invitation only. All individual grants or agreements in excess of $50,000 require approval by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The Grantmaking Committee (composed of at least four Directors and officers) reviews and approves all individual grants or agreements between $25,000 and $50,000, as well as any grants or arrangements proposed by a Director or officer for potential conflicts of interest. Executive Directors can individually approve grants of $25,000 and below.
Foundation grant recipients must be tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, classified by the IRS, or the international equivalent. The Nielsen Foundation will not support organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability status, age, marital status, protected veteran status or any other protected class, and will also not support religious organizations for sectarian purposes. The Nielsen Foundation does not use Foundation funds to make direct contributions to candidates, political parties, PACs, super PACs, political committees, 527 groups or ballot question committees.
Employee volunteer and donation programs
We provide 24 hours of dedicated volunteer time to each Nielsen associate annually, with a goal of logging 300,000 total volunteer hours (including dedicated, paid volunteer time and personal volunteer time) from 2016 through the end of 2020. As of June 2019, we logged almost 370,000 volunteer hours—surpassing our goal a year and a half before our deadline. While this volunteering can take place anytime throughout the year, we also organize a worldwide day of service each year called Nielsen Global Impact Day (NGID). In 2019, our eighth-annual NGID mobilized almost 24,000 Nielsen employees from 92 countries across more than 1,500 volunteer events.
In addition, the Nielsen Foundation administers a Cause Cards program. Nielsen associates who log 12 or more volunteer hours in a quarter receive a Cause Card to direct a $200 donation from the Foundation to an eligible nonprofit, as a way to further recognize and increase the impact of their volunteer hours. Employees can receive up to two Cause Cards per calendar year. In times of disaster, the Nielsen Foundation has also matched donations to specific relief organizations.
Employee Volunteering Data
Facilitation of employee engagement with charitable partners
Nielsen provides access to a third-party employee volunteering software platform to enable associates to log their 24 hours of dedicated volunteer time from Nielsen, as well as personal volunteer time that they would like to track. This platform allows associates to plan large-scale volunteer events such as Nielsen Global Impact Day, as well as keep track of their individual volunteer impact.
On a quarterly basis, we accept submissions and recognize Global Responsibility & Sustainability Champions, which include employees who have been nominated for their outstanding volunteer support and impact. They receive an email recognition of their nomination, with visibility by their direct manager, and are listed on our employee intranet page and internal social platform.
Nielsen associates have also volunteered pro bono support to some organizations that have received grants from the Nielsen Foundation. For example, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has received Data for Good grants from the Nielsen Foundation. The Institute has also received pro bono television ratings data from Nielsen that helped to facilitate new research on gender equity in children’s programming.
The Cause Card program is administered through the Nielsen Foundation via our third-party employee volunteering software platform. Nielsen associates who log 12 or more volunteer hours in a quarter receive a Cause Card to direct a $200 donation from the Foundation to an eligible nonprofit, as a way to further recognize and increase the impact of their volunteer hours.
Nielsen CEO David Kenny committed to advancing the careers of women at Nielsen around the world by signing on to the LEAD (Leading Executives Advancing Diversity) Network CEO Pledge. The pledge emphasizes Nielsen’s commitment to increase women in senior leadership roles globally. Kenny signed the pledge in concurrence with International Women’s Day 2019, which is celebrated by thousands of Nielsen associates around the world. See more in the Diversity and Inclusion section of this report.
The Nielsen Foundation’s gender-focused Data for Good grants in 2018 and 2019 included the following:
Finally, one of the Nielsen Foundation’s signature programs is the Tech Diversity Accelerator at Tampa Bay Wave. The Nielsen Foundation and Tampa Bay Wave collaborated to launch the TechDiversity Accelerator in early 2018; the program is specifically dedicated to fostering the growth of diverse startups across the country. To be considered as a candidate for the TechDiversity Accelerator program, companies must be in an early development stage and at least 51% owned, controlled and operated by a minority, woman, veteran or LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) person, or a combination thereof.
See the Diversity and Inclusion section for more on our efforts in this area.
Alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Nielsen recognizes the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals to our world. As we strive to use our data for good to solve social and environmental challenges, we aim to align with the SDGs where we can make the greatest impact.
While we consider each of the 17 SDGs to be important, we recognize the unique role that individual sectors and companies can play. As such, we have aligned the most relevant SDGs for our business with our ongoing strategy to use our core competencies—our data, our science and our people—to make a positive impact in this collective vision for our future world:
Examples of projects we have undertaken in the reporting period that align with our priority SDGs include the following:
Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments and development programs, and operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities
We actively seek to engage with the communities in which we operate, to understand their needs and concerns and to make positive contributions. Since Nielsen does not have factories or large operational facilities, nor do our operations require large amounts of land or resources from the communities in which we operate, our local community impacts are limited. Relevant information is shared in the Human Capital, Supply Chain Management and Stakeholder Engagement sections of this report.
Mechanisms to gather community feedback
See the Stakeholder Engagement section of this report.