Telefónica’s human rights and environmental due diligence process
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a historic landmark in defending dignity, justice and social progress. Telefónica is strongly committed to respecting and promoting human rights throughout its value chain.
Privacy, freedom of expression and information, equality, working conditions, health and safety, and care for the environment are some of the rights that are most relevant to Telefónica’s activity as a telecommunications company.
This dossier summarises how Telefónica manages human rights, the due diligence process and the main insights from the latest global impact assessment carried out in 2022, along with some case studies of various internal initiatives that promote respect for human rights at all levels.
The document provides an overview of the human rights regulatory framework since 2010. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines form the starting point for Telefónica.
Subsequently, there have been important milestones such as the Paris Agreement and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. More recently, in 2022, a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive relating to human rights and the environment was put forward.
In light of the new legal requirements, Telefónica’s due diligence process and the accompanying document have become increasingly significant, as they render all the efforts the Company has been making to promote human rights more transparent.
In order to ensure that its commitment to human rights and the environment informs its day-to-day operations at all levels, Telefónica has developed a governance model led by the Board of Directors.
As described in the report, the Board is responsible for approving the Responsible Business Plan (which includes human rights targets/projects) and policies related to human rights, as well as determining the risk management model, including human rights risks.
Oversight is carried out by three Board committees: the Sustainability and Quality Committee; the Nominating, Compensation and Corporate Governance Committee; and the Audit and Control Committee.
The work by the Due Diligence Office and the Responsible Business Office is crucial to implementation.
Analysis and deployment of our due diligence process
The basis of the due diligence process is Telefónica’s Global Human Rights Policy, in which the Company reaffirms its commitments in this regard.
Global impact assessments allow Telefónica to obtain information on how it can effectively identify, prevent, manage and mitigate impacts across the entire value chain.
They are carried out in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders as well as interest groups, incorporating a holistic analysis of the due diligence process.
The main findings and results obtained through these assessments are incorporated into the policies and processes in order to ensure that the due diligence process is continuously updated and improved.
As part of its complaint and remedy mechanisms, Telefónica has a Whistleblowing and Queries Channel that allows individuals to submit a query, anonymously if so desired, through a public channel that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in several languages.
As a result of the 2022 Global Impact Assessment and the 18 issues highlighted, we identified five general aspects as being most significant for our operations. These include digital inclusion, the responsible use of new technologies, child protection, digital rights, and social and environmental standards in the supply chain.
In conclusion, at Telefónica we recognise the transformative power of technology on both society and the environment. This is why safeguarding and protecting human rights and the environment is an integral part of our way of doing business.
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