Our Approach

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Our global corporate social responsibility program, Nielsen Cares, mobilizes Nielsen’s data, expertise and associates to positively impact the communities where we live and work around the world. Through Nielsen Cares, our associates leverage our insights, involvement and investment to make a difference on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

As a part of our annual commitment to A Billion + Change since 2012, Nielsen has pledged to deliver at least $10 million each year through pro bono and in-kind contributions. In 2015, Nielsen donated $10.5 million through skills-based volunteering projects and in-kind giving to benefit nonprofits in our priority cause areas. This includes the donation of Nielsen data and insights, as well as the donation of our employees’ time, skills and expertise. Our projects help nonprofits maximize their impact by building the capacity to improve their effectiveness and efficiency to achieve their missions. In 2015, more than 800 nonprofits around the world received volunteer support from our Nielsen Cares programs, either through skills-based volunteering and in-kind giving or through hands-on volunteering during Nielsen’s annual global calls to action such as Nielsen Global Impact Day (NGID) and Hunger Action Month.

Nielsen Cares Our Global Impact

Beginning in 2015, all Nielsen associates now have 24 hours each year for Dedicated Volunteer Time. Together, more than 22,000 employees donated over 100,000 hours in 2014 and 2015 combined for nonprofits and causes where we can make a difference. Our programs are powered by our people, meaning our associates are encouraged to identify and lead projects that are important to them and that align with our strategy. We work with global nonprofits like World Food Programme (WFP) and Special Olympics throughout the year to mobilize our data for good and grow our global impact in our four priority cause areas:

Education: Just as Nielsen empowers its customers through information, individuals and communities are strengthened by knowledge. In our priority area of Education, we strive to enable the next generation of leaders to excel in the areas of reading, computer literacy and math. This directly connects to our core business because we rely on a workforce educated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills and we recognize the importance of promoting literacy and STEM skills in communities where we operate around the world. As one example of Nielsen volunteers in action, learn more about how members of Nielsen’s Diverse Leadership Network (DLN) led a STEM Education Outreach initiative that reached more than 100 students in five cities: New York, Tampa, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Hunger and Nutrition: We help nonprofits better understand food issues in order to increase global access to food, reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition. This directly connects with Nielsen’s core business because we have global data related to food pricing and consumption that can provide nonprofits with the insights they need to drive more efficient and impactful programs. As one example, learn more about how Nielsen has worked with Feeding America to Map the Meal Gap since 2010, and how Nielsen data science expertise has positively affected the World Food Programme’s mobile data collection.

Diversity and Inclusion: We help to promote economic empowerment of multicultural communities by increasing awareness of diverse consumer demographics and driving career readiness for all. This directly aligns with Nielsen’s core business because our connections to and empowerment of diverse communities are critical, both for our representative sampling and to the success of our clients. In our “Nielsen Data for Good” section, you can learn more about Nielsen’s commitment to support Special Olympics by illustrating the purchasing power of people with intellectual disabilities. As another example, Nielsen has had a relationship with GLAAD since 2008 providing pro bono support through Nielsen Cares and our PRIDE Employee Resource Group. An example of this pro bono support is GLAAD’s 2015 Accelerating Acceptance report, which includes Harris Poll data that measure attitudes toward LGBT Americans. This report was updated with new Harris Poll data in 2016.

Technology: Everything we do is rooted in leveraging technology to make an impact. Nielsen knows how information technology can improve lives socially and economically and we recognize the importance of digital enablement as it relates to the growth of our business and in advancing important social causes. We want to expand technology access and understanding, enabling nonprofits to achieve their missions by tapping into Nielsen’s technical expertise. As one example, learn more about how Nielsen’s mobile survey expertise has provided a platform for global factory workers.

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Think Global; Act Local

We maintain a global council of Nielsen Cares leaders, representing all regions and various functional areas across our company like Legal, Human Resources, Remote Worker Engagement, Communications, Operations and Technology. This network of regional and functional leaders mobilize teams in their areas to activate our global strategy at the local level. To do this, these leaders are supported by local Nielsen Cares office and volunteer leaders around the world. At least 121 distinct office sites have Nielsen Cares volunteer leader(s) in place. Part of their volunteer responsibility is to work with associates to identify engagement opportunities with local community organizations and nonprofits to develop projects that align with our CSR pillars and deliver on our promise to make a positive community impact. Beyond our traditional office locations, we have also made a concerted effort to support our remote workers and ensure that they have the opportunity to be involved in Nielsen Cares activities in their communities around the world. In addition to empowering leaders at the local, regional and functional level, we support a global group of Nielsen Cares Ambassadors. These associates volunteer to act as ongoing resources for other Nielsen associates and to engage their colleagues in Nielsen Cares activities.

In 2015, 22,000 Nielsen associates volunteered during the year, about 51% of our total employee population. To empower our associates to lead these efforts, we offer two virtual Nielsen Cares volunteer leader trainings as part of our CSR training program, one of which is focused on skills-based volunteering.

We recognize the importance of making a positive impact in all the communities where we live and work and we acknowledge the particular opportunity to make a difference in communities where we have a large office or employee presence. In our largest facilities in Oldsmar, Florida, near Tampa, where we employ about 2,200 full-time associates, Nielsen Cares activities have included the following initiatives:

  • We hosted employee volunteer recruitment events for nonprofits and education foundations like Junior Achievement and Pinellas Education Foundation.
  • Nearly 1,000 college and high school students visited the facility for tours and product demos to learn how Nielsen conducts its global measurement services. Students also received STEM career education, job shadow and internship opportunities and access to local leaders to share career advice and best practices.
  • Support is provided for scholarship students at Florida educational institutions.
  • Employees participated in mentorship programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Next Generation Tech.
  • Our associates engaged through multiple local advisory council and trustee board memberships.

NGID Singapore


We measure the business and social benefits of our volunteer and community projects through ongoing surveys with employees and nonprofits, aimed at identifying the short- and long-term outcomes and impacts of our efforts.

We administer internal surveys to get employees’ feedback after skills-based volunteering projects and Nielsen Cares leadership opportunities. We also administer an external benchmarking survey to all associates after our annual global day of service, Nielsen Global Impact Day (NGID), in order to understand how employees’ skill development and overall satisfaction has been affected by their engagement in NGID, as well as through volunteer engagements throughout the year.

According to this external benchmarking survey, True Impact, Nielsen ranked in the top 25% of companies in 2015 for individual skill development through volunteerism and in the top 25% of companies based on the overall employee participation rate in our programs. Based on our internal surveys of employees, 82% of Nielsen associates said that they are proud of Nielsen’s involvement in the community and social causes and 95% of Nielsen associates who volunteered in 2015 said that volunteerism is a core or positive part of their overall job satisfaction.

Externally, we survey nonprofits that receive our pro bono support to understand the impact of our work on their effectiveness and efficiency. We survey these nonprofits immediately post-project, three months after the project and again after six months to understand the short- and long-term outcomes and impacts of our pro bono efforts, as well as how we can improve our pro bono programs and services.

Industry Participation

Nielsen is a founding member of the Professional Services Sustainability Roundtable (PSSR) as part of our ongoing membership with the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC). Nielsen is also a member of CECP, the CEO Force for Good, as well as Points of Light, including participation on its Leadership Faculty and Corporate Service Council.

In order to advance our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, Nielsen is also a member of the Impact 2030 network.


  • By the end of 2020, we plan to mobilize our associates to volunteer at least 300,000 hours in the communities where we live and work around the world.
  • By the end of 2020, we plan to donate at least $50 million through pro bono projects that leverage skills-based volunteering and in-kind gifts of Nielsen data and services for nonprofits in our priority cause areas.

Nielsen Data for Good

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Public and Policymakers

Nielsen deploys its data to help inform the public and policymakers. Nielsen strongly supports the public use of transparent data from the government, such as the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey that provides the public with robust insights into U.S. demographics. Sharing insights with our clients and the public through our work with The Demand Institute, a non-advocacy, nonprofit organization jointly operated by Nielsen and The Conference Board.

Nielsen follows industry best practice and does not use corporate funds to make direct or indirect political contributions.

Nielsen’s expertise in data collection and analysis is a valuable asset for policymakers and organizations in addressing social and economic issues. Key examples of Nielsen’s Data for Good commitment include:

Nielsen and Universities: Advancing the Value of Market Research and Analytics

Over the decades, Nielsen has created important relationships with universities in a variety of ways.

Nielsen offers eligible academic institutions and academic researchers a variety of collaboration opportunities aligned with our unique competencies and the shared value inherent in advancing market research. These opportunities include assistance with curriculum design, support in the form of research and dissertation grants and intellectual property licensing.

Nielsen provides select data sets, research findings and online education about market analytics on a pro bono basis to academics and students as a way of sharing and advancing the latest information about consumers, as well as market research approaches and technology. We also engage with universities through case competitions, guest lectures, research collaborations, career exposure, office visits, academic internships and professional development workshops. Nielsen provides professional development to students through skills-building workshops held at universities across the country, focusing on helping students navigate their career search and succeed in the workplace.

Universities are also a critical source of top talent for Nielsen’s Early Career Programs. This is an element of Nielsen’s position as an academy company that seeks out new graduates with the opportunity to grow their careers with Nielsen. Students are often connected with Nielsen and learn about Nielsen’s data, tools and capabilities before graduation through internships, educational sessions and mentorship opportunities.

To support retail and consumer purchasing behavior research, Nielsen donates disaggregated time series data valued at millions of dollars each year to the Kilts Center for Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Through the Nielsen Datasets at the Kilts Center for Marketing, eligible academic researchers  can apply to access a data warehouse of Consumer Panel Data and Retail Scanner Data to advance their research on topics relevant to marketing, economics, finance, policy and health, among others.

Project 8

In 2015, the United Nations adopted a new global development agenda with an emphasis on good data as one of the keys to ending poverty, combating climate change and reducing injustice and inequality.  Recognizing the importance of good data to achieving and monitoring progress against these 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the void of technology to support data collaboration in this space, Nielsen played a leading role in the creation of Project 8, an online data collaboration platform that allows researchers across sectors to share, discover, analyze and discuss data related to human needs and sustainable development, and ultimately to help society prepare for a future world with eight billion people.


Project 8 was co-founded by The Demand Institute (a not-for-profit think tank jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen) and the United Nations Foundation, and in 2015 received additional support from the U.S. Department of State, Accenture and Salesforce.org.  A prototype of the Project 8 platform, focused first on food security and agriculture data (Sustainable Development Goal #2—“Zero Hunger”), was released on the margins of the 2015 U.N. General Assembly meeting and is already being used by leading researchers across more than 40 global organizations discovering and collaborating across hundreds of millions of rows of data.

During 2015, Nielsen contributed substantially to the project through loaned executives and additional functional support across analytics, marketing, communications, legal and product development.Atlanta NGID

The Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data

Nielsen is a champion of the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data, a global network of governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses working together to use data to address the world’s sustainable development efforts. This initiative brings the resources of national governments, independent nonprofits and private companies to bear on the world’s development data needs.

The Global Partnership presumes a fundamental problem at the heart of the efforts to eradicate extreme poverty—a problem of unreliable or nonexistent data and the lack of skills and willingness to use it. Whether for reasons of convenience, cost or corruption, important decisions about how money and resources are allocated to services helping the poorest people in the world’s least developed countries are too often made based on data that is incomplete, inaccessible or simply inaccurate—from health to gender equality, human rights to economics and education to agriculture.

Nielsen also provides counsel and guidance to nonprofits and others through the commercial side of our business. See our Measuring Social Impact and Outcomes For Our Clients section for some examples.

Changing Lives and Society: Good World Solutions

Nielsen has pledged $10 million annually through its commitment to the A Billion + Change campaign to provide in-kind giving and pro bono support to make an uncommon impact with nonprofits around the globe.

Good World Solutions is leveraging Nielsen survey design expertise to improve the lives of factory workers. This is one example from among the more than 800 nonprofits engaged by Nielsen volunteers in 2015 through skills-based and hands-on volunteering.

Since 2010, Good World Solutions’ Laborlink platform has polled over 600,000 factory workers making clothing and electronics in 16 countries on every aspect of working conditions. The organization needed help designing standardized Index Survey questions in a way that would allow companies to compare worker opinion data across factories and countries, as well as study them over time to see whether conditions are really improving. It also needed to understand how to analyze and visualize data in a compelling way to highlight what actions need to be taken to improve worker well-being.

Photo: Laborlink

The Laborlink platform gives workers a free and anonymous channel through their own mobile phones to report on working conditions, opinions and needs in real time. The voice-based system does not require literacy and runs in any language.

Workers answer short, multiple-choice surveys with their touch-tone keypad and receive educational messages about their rights and local services. Surveys cover every aspect of working conditions—from child labor to fair wages, as well as access to financial services, health and nutrition, livelihoods and community needs.

To address these challenges, the organization turned to a team of Nielsen data scientists to provide pro bono assistance to build an enhanced set of best practices for designing Laborlink survey questions and to improve how the organization externally presents its survey methodology to partners, clients and others. The Nielsen team also recommended improved wording for the question-and-answer choices to ensure a cleaner design and maximum respondent comprehension, as well as comparability across surveys. They also provided guidance on field testing survey questions and making country-level adjustments when necessary.

By leveraging the disruptive power of mobile, Laborlink gives voice to the global workforce and delivers real-time data to multinational corporations so they can align sourcing practices with worker needs. It delivers actionable recommendations to decision-makers and companies have used the data to address sexual harassment, protect worker health and safety and improve worker housing.

Worker survey data is collected regularly throughout the year and analyzed to understand trends in workplace safety, job satisfaction and worker-management communication. In essence, Laborlink is applying data science for the first time to the question of how factory workplace conditions are changing and what can be done to accelerate positive change for the workers whose products we depend on every day.

Quantifying the Market Power of Households with Intellectual Disabilities

In October 2014, Nielsen entered into a strategic alliance with Special Olympics Inc. (SOI), the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. We are working with SOI to help the nonprofit organization better understand the influence of people with intellectual disabilities in our communities and the impact of its programs. As part of this alliance, Nielsen is helping SOI gain a deeper understanding of its athletes and the attitudes of the general population using data, measurement and analytics capabilities through a joint collaboration across three areas within Nielsen: Nielsen CaresPublic Development and Sustainability and the ADEPT Employee Resource Group.

This alliance builds on a relationship between Nielsen and Special Olympics that has grown through volunteer work since 2012. Today, in addition to the research and insights we’re providing through the alliance, Nielsen associates continue to volunteer their time as coaches and provide on-site support for SOI events in their local communities.


In 2015, Nielsen research provided SOI with insights into the purchase behavior and consumer power of U.S. households and families with intellectual disabilities. The Nielsen Consumer and Shopper Analytics team found that 5.5% of U.S. households have a member with intellectual disabilities, representing $31 billion in buying power annually.

The team also found that 7.1% of additional households have an immediate family member (parent or child) with intellectual disabilities who lives outside the household, and they have $35 billion in buying power. Combined, this group has $66 billion in collective annual buying power, indicating that it is a robust and important group in the U.S. consumer market. By using this data, along with other insights Nielsen is providing to them, SOI will be better equipped to advance its mission to help every person with intellectual disabilities be their best and healthiest, as well as to reduce stigmas and change attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities.

Looking ahead, Nielsen will continue to provide meaningful data and consumer insights to SOI and about consumers with intellectual disabilities in general. Unlocking insights about this group will help SOI to create and execute more successful programs to further its global mission.

Photo: Special Olympics
Photo: Special Olympics