Human rights

Connected technologies play an important role in the promotion of human rights by their contribution to the progress of countries and improving the quality of life. At the same time, they pose challenges concerning aspects such as privacy, freedom of expression, equality and employment...

At Telefónica we are committed to respecting the dignity and rights of all people. And we work proactively to prevent any abuse related to our activity or that of our business partners.

This commitment, one of the pillars of the Principles of Responsible Business, is reflected in our Human Rights Policy as well as in various internal regulations and procedures. Additionally, we extend it to the entire value chain, from suppliers to customers.

At our company, the protection of human rights falls under the supervision of the Board of Directors, through the Regulation and Institutional Affairs Committee. EIt is in charge of driving and supervising the implementation of our global Responsible Business Plan, which includes specific goals on this matter.

Our Due Diligence

Our due diligence system is based on the “Guiding principles for business and human rights” of the United Nations (UN).

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1. Policy

In 2019 we have updated our Human Rights Policy* to better align it with our risks and to be able to be more proactive in the way we manage and address them.

* You can also consult our Human Rights Policy in Portuguese and Spanish


We work to offer products and services that contribute to generating a positive impact on the lives of people.


We have internal policies and processes to guarantee respect for labour rights and prevent discriminatory practices.


We make an effort to generate a positive impact and sustainable growth of the societies in which we are present.

Supply Chain and Partners

We require suppliers, contractors and allies to follow our Minimum Standards for Responsible Business. We have a management system in place with the aim of ensuring compliance.

2. Impact Assessment

Our due diligence includes identifying and prioritising the potential and actual impact of our activity on human rights.

We monitor the results through periodic impact assessment updates (every 4 years), we establish indicators, and participate in working groups, organisations and multistakeholder forums to observe the trends and expectations. Thus:

• We rely on external experts for these assessments such as BSR™ (Business for Social Responsibility™) in 2013 and Business and Human Rights (BHR) in 2018.

• We identify priority issues for Telefónica and our stakeholders.

• We prioritise risks and opportunities based on the context, the strategy of the company and our stakeholders, especially those who are most vulnerable (children, indigenous populations and people with disabilities).

• We evaluate the potential and actual impact, globally and locally.

3. Process Integration

We integrate the conclusions from the impact assessment reports into our processes and establish lines of action on priority issues in such a way that:

• We identify the global and local competent areas in order to integrate the results (Human Resources, Legal, Security, Marketing, Communication, Operations, etc.)

• We include human rights as part of the training for our employees through the Responsible Business Course.

• We include the basic human rights risk in the company's risk map.

• We conduct specific impact assessments for certain issues (network deployment, children's rights, privacy and freedom of expression, use of Artificial Intelligence, etc.)

• We integrate human rights into the creation, development and marketing of our products and services.

4. Monitoring and Reporting

We monitor how any impacts are effectively managed by:

• Monitoring of the results through periodic impact assessment updates (every 4 years).

• Participating in various working groups, organisations and multistakeholder forums with the aim of viewing the trends and expectations in human rights related to our sector or the countries in which we operate, e.g. (GNI, the Spanish Global Compact Network, , the United Nations, etc.

• Presentation of the results of our impact assessment to the Responsible Business Panel.

• Annual report in the Company's Integrated Report.

5. Complaints and Reconciliation Mechanism

Even with best policies and practices in place, a company can contribute to the infringement of human rights or be linked to a negative impact.

This highlights the importance of our Responsible Business Channel, through which anyone can ask us questions and present facts about our activities. A procedure guarantees the proper functioning of the channel and, if the information provided is relevant, we process it to provide a solution and response within a reasonable time.

Children’s rights

According to the Rights of the Child and Business Principles developed by UNICEF: "Companies have enormous potential to protect children's rights through the way they produce and market their products, provide their services and how they influence economic and social development. Some business policies or practices can cause irreversible damage...”

In line with this, at Telefónica we are evolving from a more traditional approach towards a more global one. We therefore work to:


Fulfil the responsibility to respect and promote the Rights of the Child.


Contribute to the eradication of child labour in our operations and in our supply chain.


Provide decent work for young workers, parents and carers.


Ensure the protection and safety of children in all our business activities and facilities.


Ensure that products and services are safe and that the Rights of the Child are promoted through them.


Use marketing and advertising lines that respect and support these rights.


Respect and promote the Rights of the Child in relation to the environment and the acquisition and use of land.


Respect and promote the Rights of the Child through safety provisions.


Help protect children affected by emergency situations.


Reinforce the efforts made by the community and the government to protect and fulfil the Rights of the Child.