Respecting and protecting human rights
Telefónica Deutschland is committed to respecting and protecting human rights all along the value chain. We have made a commitment in our Business Principles to observe the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). 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. We use our integrated compliance management system to ensure these principles are upheld. We also champion the protection of human rights in the supply chain together with our suppliers.
The topic of human rights is firmly embedded at Telefónica Deutschland. We are committed to observing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from 2011. In addition to our Business Principles, our Supply Chain Sustainability Policy, our Human Rights Commitment and the Digital Manifesto, we have set out our commitment in our Declaration of Principles on Respecting Human Rights. We additionally drew up a Human Rights Policy in October 2019 that lays down minimum human rights requirements.
Telefónica Deutschland puts a reporting channel at its stakeholders’ disposal that can be used for complaints and whistleblowing on human rights violations. This channel is open to everyone, regardless of the reporting individual’s status or type of contractual or business relationship with Telefónica Deutschland or its associated companies. At the same time, the Telefónica Deutschland ombudsman can be contacted at all times via a confidential helpline. Messages are treated in confidence and the responsible department in the company deals with them appropriately.
Identifying human rights risks
In order to prioritise human rights issues more precisely, the Telefónica Deutschland Group expanded its previous endeavours in 2018 with the aid of a human rights risk analysis. This is oriented to the requirements of the five core elements of the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP). Using relevant international and human rights frameworks such as the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO’s labour and social standards as a basis, this analysis started by identifying nine human rights fields of action that could be of relevance to the Telefónica Deutschland Group.
|The Telefónica Deutschland Group’s Human Rights Fields of Action|
|1. Prohibition of discrimination, the right to equal opportunities and treatment|
|2. Prohibition of slavery and forced labour|
|3. Prohibition of child labour, protection of minors|
|4. Freedom of thought, expression and religion|
|5. Freedom of assembly and association|
|6. Right to liberty and self-determination|
|7. Right to work, fair pay, safe working conditions and social security|
|8. Right to health, well-being and secure work|
|9. Right to education, further development and training|
|Analysis of human rights issues for first product group|
As a first step, we have identified the product group mobile phones and mobile-phone accessories for the human rights risk analysis. This product group is of especially high relevance to us as it represents a large share of our total purchasing volume. Moreover, particularly the branched value chains of mobile phones and mobile-phone accessories are potentially affected by human rights violations. Reports on the use of what are known as conflict minerals (such as tin, coltan and gold) are increasing and the production conditions have been criticised many times. We first identified the individual steps of the value chain for mobile phones and mobile-phone accessories and pooled them in clusters – from mining of raw materials to manufacturing and disposal. On this basis, we are in the process of determining the most important countries along the value chain for mobile phones and establishing which risks that potentially come under the heading of human rights could occur in these countries.
Prioritising risks throughout our value chain
We have prioritised the identified potential risks based on the value chain for the mobility product group. The risks are evaluated on the basis of their connection to the company and their gravity, with the latter being determined according to the extent, scope and reversibility of the human rights violation. A risk’s connection to the company is determined by taking into account contractual and business relations with suppliers and the complexity of the company’s value chain. The risks identified in this way were then put into a heat map that maps out the prioritised human rights risks along Telefónica Deutschland’s value chain for the mobility product group.
We used this as the basis for determining the extent to which our existing management approaches take these risks into account. At the same time, we want to examine how we can contribute to reducing these risks through targeted measures and adjust our existing management approaches to that effect. We intend to monitor and review both existing and new measures regularly regarding their effectiveness. We understand engaging with the subject of human rights and carrying out appropriate risk analyses for the purposes of the NAP to be an ongoing process that has to be continuously adjusted and developed. In future, we intend to include further product groups in the risk analysis.