In early 2018, BuzzWord began work with Nielsen Holdings plc for a reporting project that was unique and challenging in several key ways.
The first challenge was explaining to readers in a concise way what the company does and how that creates corporate responsibility opportunities and risks. Most people know Nielsen as “the TV ratings company.” And Nielsen does indeed collect the information that enables media companies and advertisers to determine what people watch and the devices they watch it on. But they also measure the content people view across all types of video, audio and text platforms, including social media, as well as consumer purchasing, giving manufacturers and retailers a clear picture of who is buying what in more than 100 countries around the world. In short, they are a data-driven, technology-focused company that provides measurement services to a wide array of clients globally.
The second challenge was delivering a report that effectively implemented the company’s unique reporting strategy. Like many companies, Nielsen wanted to align with the Global Reporting Initiative Standards. But they also wanted the report to respond to 12 other rating and ranking entities’ queries – from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index to MCSI to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.
To develop such a broad-based and comprehensive report, the company needed buy-in and commitment from the subject matter experts (SMEs) who would provide the required data and information, as well as a reporting manager who could corral all those SMEs and efficiently gather the necessary material. Fortunately Nielsen had both within their internal team, which was a key strength of the process. BuzzWord’s task was to organize and shape the material into a coherent narrative.
The resulting web-based report – which launched in June 2018 and can be accessed here – is detailed yet readable and responsive to each of the 12 raters and rankers identified by the company as important. The report meets Nielsen’s goal to serve as a one-stop-shop for any stakeholder interested in the company’s sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts.
Finally, BuzzWord had the challenge of transparently reporting on issues that are growing in importance for many companies, yet have a unique context within Nielsen’s business. Data privacy and security are among the company’s most material issues covered in the report, for example, as are risk management and supply chain issues such as conflict minerals and human rights. The report also covers human resources issues in depth and describes the company’s philanthropic and environmental programs, dubbed Nielsen Cares and Nielsen Green, respectively. Also, the report makes extensive use of videos with SMEs, which puts a human face on the company’s work and provides more nuance to key material issues.
Nielsen plans to issue a new report every other year and to update its materiality analysis in the intervening years.