By Lloyd Pitchford, Chief Financial Officer
There are times in most of our lives where we can’t get access to the financial system in a way that we want. Be it for a mortgage, a car, or a business loan. We’ve all experienced the frustration when you feel you’re on the outside of the system and you can’t do the things you want for yourself or your family. At Experian, it’s our job to change that. We want to make sure everybody is included and has access to fair and affordable financial products.
Financial inclusion is fundamental to our business. With our focus on increasing access to financial services, improving financial literacy and confidence, and helping people manage their financial lives; we help power people and businesses to create their future.
In fact, the United Nations includes access to financial services, such as credit and microfinance, among its Sustainable Development Goals. Access to affordable credit opens the door to opportunities for people to transform their lives – from homes and healthcare to education and entrepreneurship.
This has never been more important than it is today.
Creating a Campaign to Drive Financial Health Worldwide
As the pandemic took hold in 2020, we stepped in with data and analytics to support governments, health services and national emergency response efforts through major initiatives such as COVID Radar in Brazil and Experian CORE (COVID Outlook & Response Evaluator). These are just two examples of how we can use our data and expertise to make the biggest difference to society.
It soon became clear that the impact — not just on physical health, but on financial health — would be far-reaching for people around the world. We looked at how we could use our expertise and resources to help vulnerable communities through the crisis and focused on financial education as the best way to strengthen their resilience and support their road to recovery.
We launched our United for Financial Health programme. We rapidly established 11 NGO partnerships across our biggest consumer markets to deliver targeted financial education for some of the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. By the end of the year, we had reached nearly 35 million people, more than double our original goal of 15 million, and we’re not stopping there. We aim to reach 100 million people by 2024.
Part of our efforts include our member relationships around the world. This year, we surpassed the milestone of 100 million direct relationships with consumers globally and delivered further innovations to support people through our business, with the launch of products like Experian Boost in the UK and Serasa Score Turbo in Brazil. This, of course, is on top of our ground-breaking Experian Boost launch in the United States a few years ago. Our goal is to have a direct relationship with as many people as possible; to truly become the Consumers’ Credit Bureau and power financial opportunities for all.
Driving Innovation with Social Purpose
Our culture of innovation helps us harness opportunities to drive business growth. We are continually investing in product innovation and new sources of data to address emerging market opportunities that can make a real difference to global communities.
In 2020, around 1,000 ‘innovators’ from across Experian joined our annual Future of Information Conference – which was held virtually because of the pandemic – to encourage them to think differently in their work. Topics included fairness in artificial intelligence, transforming agribusiness and enhancing the consumer healthcare experience. Teams at our DataLabs in Brazil, Singapore, the UK and the USA tap into our culture of innovation to continually create new solutions to global challenges.
The result of all this is that our Social Innovation products have now reached 61 million people since 2013. We aim to reach 100 million by 2025.
As John Hope Bryant, CEO of one of our NGO partners Operation HOPE, says, ‘Experian’s commitment to unlocking the power of data to create opportunity means more people will be set up not just to survive, but to thrive in the months and years to come.’
In this year’s Sustainable Business Report our commitments come through stronger than ever.
We are raising our ambition and aiming to reach 100 million people through our social innovation products by 2025; Our goal is to reach 100 million people through our United for Financial Health campaign by 2024.
We have also pledged to protect our planet by becoming carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030. We know we’ve got more work to do and we remain focused on using our business to make real and sustainable change. With social innovation running so deeply through the core of our culture, and our commitment to improving global financial health front and centre of our thinking, we will continue to push to find new solutions to help people, serve communities and protect the environment, helping to create a better future for all.
All of this is very personal to me. I passionately believe we can and should drive to make a difference in society. I serve as executive sponsor of our ESG programs and this isn’t just another corporate program, it’s at the heart of what we do as a company to power financial opportunities. My personal pledge is to continue to keep you updated, as we progress our agenda to sustainable environmental and societal change.
Read the full SBR report here.
Originally published on the Experian Global News Blog.