Focus on human rights due diligence:Upholding human rights and containing risks

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Upholding human rights is a key issue for business and society and is increasingly frequently the focus of public debate. It is not only in global supply chains and production facilities of developing countries and emerging nations that there is a risk of violations and actual human rights infringements such as child or forced labour. Developed nations too are by no means immune to human rights risks, be it regarding discrimination or the violation of privacy and data protection. At the international level, an array of agreements and treaties help to emphasise the significance of human rights issues and oblige the state and companies to act. These do not only include the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The principles of the UN Global Compact and the SDGs likewise explicitly target improvements in the human rights situation, in particular SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth. There has also recently been increasing regulation of human rights issues at the national level, such as the due diligence law which is to be passed in Germany shortly.
Telefónica Deutschland is committed to respecting and protecting human rights all along the value chain. In this regard, it follows not only the regulatory requirements, but also its own understanding of values as enshrined in the Business Principles. We are committed to observing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In addition to our Business Principles, our Supply Chain Sustainability Policy and the Digital Manifesto from Telefónica, S.A. Group, we have set out our commitment in our Declaration of Principles on Respecting Human Rights and are dedicated to realising the goals of the German government’s National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP). And our human rights policy finally sets out minimum requirements in a human rights context. We reject all forms of child or forced labour and respect the right of employees to belong to a trade union organisation. We stand up for equal opportunities and treating all people as equals irrespective of skin colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.


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Identifying and monitoring sustainability risks in the supply chain and at our own sites is especially important to us in order for us to nip the emergence of legal liability and penalty mechanisms in the bud. Efficient compliance in the area of human rights additionally serves our reputation and our ability to compete. Furthermore, we consider how digitalisation and mobile communication can contribute to the promotion of human rights and improving quality of life and where these potentially limit privacy, freedom of expression, equality and employment quality. We firmly believe that assessing and managing the impacts of our activities on human rights is fundamentally important for the sustainability of our business. With our accession to the UN Global Compact we underpin our aspiration and our obligation regarding a responsible human rights policy. The Management Board of Telefónica Deutschland bears responsibility for reviewing the performance and implementation of our human rights due diligence. We established a cross-departmental human rights committee for the interdisciplinary advancement of this topic and this maintains ongoing dialogue with the Management Board. The committee comprises representatives of the Corporate Responsibility, Compliance, Legal and Capital Market Law, Data Protection and Human Resources departments as well as a representative each of the Telefónica, S.A. Group and the purchasing company Telefónica Global Services (TGS). The CR department is responsible for managing the human rights committee and for performing risk analyses relating to human rights. The human rights committee affords us swift agency when it comes to responding to or handling incidents regarding human rights that are reported via our human rights reporting channel or concerning any modifications needed in our management approaches and policies. It also guarantees the monitoring of our human rights due diligence within the company such as, among other things, the functionality of our grievance mechanism.

Complaints mechanisms

Telefónica Deutschland provides its stakeholders with a reporting channel for complaints and notifications of human rights violations. This channel is open to everyone, regardless of the existence or nature of the contractual or business relationship with Telefónica Deutschland or its affiliates. Messages are treated confidentially and handled appropriately by the relevant department of the company. Compliance with our data protection guidelines is also a top priority here.


regarding human rights issues

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