Committed to observing human rights
We have made a commitment to respect and protect human rights all along our value chain.
“With the Declaration of Principles and the Human Rights Policy, we have made a clear commitment to upholding human rights and to assuming responsibility in our value chain. We are committed to identifying all the negative effects of our business activities on human rights and to remedying them.”
Chief Officer Legal and Corporate Affairs
Chief Officer Legal and Corporate Affairs
As such, we are not only observing the statutory requirements, but also our own understanding of values. We make a commitment to protecting human rights in a declaration of principles, while our Human Rights Policy specifies our company’s obligations in this regard. Our actions are directed by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Management Board of O2 Telefónica bears responsibility for reviewing the performance and implementation of our human rights due diligence. A cross-departmental human rights committee promotes the topic within the company.
We have been extending responsibility for upholding human rights to our suppliers and sub-suppliers too for many years now. The minimum requirements made of our suppliers and sub-suppliers regarding the observance of human rights are set out in the Supply Chain Sustainability Policy. Making supplier relations sustainable enables us to first and foremost reduce the risk of any regulations being violated. This is dependent upon there being maximum transparency, which we wish to achieve by analysing our supply chain structures and identifying country-specific and product-specific risks.
Reporting channel for complaints and whistle-blowing
Even with the measures we implement to protect human rights, violations cannot be entirely ruled out and it is possible that they are not adequately brought to our attention. O2 Telefónica puts a reporting channel for complaints and whistle-blowing on human rights violations at the disposal of all of its stakeholders. Information is treated in confidence and the human rights committee follows up all reports. At the same time, the O2 Telefónica ombudsman can be contacted anonymously via a confidential helpline at any time. Here, too, compliance with our privacy policies is a top priority.
Information and contact details for human rights
Particular protection of children’s rights
We pay attention in particular to protecting children and young people. In our Human Rights Policy, we exclude child labour in our own business activities and oblige all of our suppliers to exclude child labour throughout our supply chain. Our actions are guided in particular by UNICEF Children’s Rights and Business Principles. These ten principles define measures that companies can effect in order to uphold and promote children’s rights. For information on the individual contributions we make here, see our commitments to children’s rights.
Identifying human rights risks and areas of action
It is by no means 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. Human rights risks exist in developed countries too, such as discrimination or the violation of privacy. O2 Telefónica performs an annual analysis of human rights risks. Our efficient management system as well as risk-minimising guidelines and measures contribute to human rights risks being combated. We see our commitment to upholding human rights and the performance of appropriate risk analyses as an ongoing process that has to be continuously adjusted and developed. We incorporate the conclusions drawn from our risk analyses into our processes and decide upon measures relating to the prioritised topics, and we will review their effectiveness regularly. O2 Telefónica has additionally performed human rights risk analyses for specific product groups:
For mobile phones and accessories
We analysed the product group of mobile phones and mobile phone accessories regarding human rights risks in 2018. The branched value chains of mobile phones 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 are the subject of much criticism. All along our value chain – from the mining of raw materials to production and disposal – we identified the key countries and determined the human rights risks that could potentially occur there. The identified risks were put into what is known as a heat map. This shows the prioritised human rights risks along our value chain. The main conclusions included the decision that we would step up our involvement in the working groups of the multi-stakeholder initiatives that in particular deal with human rights risks related to raw materials. The framework for this is provided by the Telefónica, S.A. Group’s membership of the Responsible Business Alliance, the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade and the Joint Audit Cooperation. As a consequence of the risk analysis, we coordinated our collaboration with the Telefónica, S.A. Group on the topic of human rights even more closely. A member of the Telefónica, S.A. Group staff from the Ethics & Sustainability division now permanently represents the Group at our human rights committee’s quarterly meetings. A key topic of the intensified collaboration is communication regarding the supply chain audits, in particular the Joint Audit Cooperation checks. The measures since implemented include greater transparency requirements made of our business partners and greater involvement of our suppliers in the EcoVadis sustainability strategy. We see a particular need for action with regard to the responsible use of raw materials. For example, we have since designed our O2 My Handy hardware offering to be more sustainable. This is complemented by our mobile phone recycling programme and the Eco Rating offering that provides our customers with sustainability information regarding their devices.
For services and works
In 2020 we performed a human rights risk analysis for the product group of services and works, focusing on the service processes. We selected this product group as it represents a large share of our total purchasing volume. Among other things we examined the sectors of logistics, cleaning and building services, energy supply, customer service and call centres, temporary employment, and the installation and servicing of the telecommunications infrastructure and identified especially at-risk service sectors with the assistance of experts. The factors that foster risks include opaque subcontractor structures, false self-employment and illicit work. In some sectors, these lead to problematic labour conditions such as low pay, violations of working time regulations and health risks. We derived risk-minimising recommendations for action from this. We wish to implement the measures by the end of 2022; examples of these are the further development of the human rights complaints channel and even greater transparency in communication with those directly affected.