How Our Business Is Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Our 2020 Sustainability Plan is designed to support our business and global efforts to address some of the world’s biggest challenges: lack of access to education, growing inequality, high youth unemployment, unprecedented migration and conflict, market disruption caused by technology and artificial intelligence, and pressure on our natural resources.

The good news is that the world has agreed on a plan to put us on a more sustainable path and ensure that no one is left behind. UN Member States have adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

We have an opportunity and a responsibility to play our part in delivering these landmark agreements. By supporting the SDGs, we will help create a better world in which our business can grow and we can more effectively achieve our mission to help people improve their lives through learning.

For Pearson, operating responsibly is an important first step to supporting progress across the SDGs. Beyond that, we have identified three SDGs where we believe we have the opportunity make the biggest impact through our business practices, products and services, programs, and partnerships.

The SDGs we focus on are closely aligned with the issues we have identified as material.

Sustainable Development Goals

We have identified 3 goals where we can have the most impact

How we support SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

The education goal and targets are directly aligned with Pearson’s mission, capabilities, and public commitment to expand access to quality education and improve progress for more learners.  

Education is a basic human right and a driver of economic and social progress, underpinning the achievement of all 17 goals. We enable learners at all stages to have access to a quality education through our portfolio of products and services.

Why it’s significant to us

263 million children, adolescents, and youth are out of school


330 million children are in school but not learning


103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60% of them are women



How we support SDG 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

We deliver products and services that ensure learners acquire the knowledge and capabilities they need for employment and empowerment, working in close collaboration with governments, educators, employers, and others around the world.

We also aim to provide our own employees with a healthy, fulfilling, and inclusive workplace that recognizes their contributions and provides opportunities for advancement, and we ask our suppliers to do the same.

Respecting labor rights within our business and our supply chain is emphasized in our Code of Conduct and is in line with our commitment to international standards for human rights and labor.  

Why it’s significant to us

767 million people are estimated to have been living below the international poverty line of US$1.90 per person per day


197 million people are unemployed globally


600 million jobs will be needed from 2016 to 2030 to employ young people entering the workforce



How we support SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

We strive to develop inclusive products and services that are compatible with every learner’s needs.

By helping learners progress and prepare to enter the workforce, we reduce inequality and equip more people with the 21st century skills they need to get good jobs, improve their lives, and provide for their families.  

In our interactions with employees, suppliers, customers, and communities, we promote equal opportunities for all — innovating where possible to address the specific needs of marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Why it’s significant to us

Since 1980, income inequality has risen sharply in most developed economies.


Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.