For us, integrity means honesty and acting in accordance with non-negotiable ethical standards. It is at the core of our Responsible Business Principles and is part of the company’s culture.
The Compliance area, which reports to the Board of Directors through the Audit and Control Committee, focuses most of its policies, procedures and controls to ensure our integrity, addressing, among others, issues related to corruption and bribery.
Telefónica's commitment to our stakeholders is zero tolerance for fraud and corruption as we understand that they have a negative impact on business and society.
For us integrity means honesty and acting in accordance with non-negotiable ethical standards
Thus, our Anticorruption Policy prohibits any type of bribery and regulates the acceptance and offering of gifts and invitations. And we have a rule on conflict of interest and reporting channel to help our employees when faced with an ethical dilemma.
- We prohibit all kinds of bribery.
- It is not allowed to promise, offer or give any benefit or advantage to anyone, in order to influence decisions of any kind (including governmental, administrative or judicial) or obtain an improper advantage for the Company. We also prohibit any sort of benefit or advantage that may result in a breach of the obligations and duties of our employees.
- We do not offer or accept gifts, invitations or any other inducements that may reward or influence a business decision.
- We avoid or declare conflicts of interest that may precede personal priorities to collective ones.
- We behave with righteousness without looking in any case for any benefit for ourselves or third parties, by misusing our position or our contacts within Telefónica.
In addition, we promote and encourage these behaviour patterns among our partners and suppliers, through our Policy on Responsibility in the Supply Chain.
At Telefónica we train, both in on-site and online mode, our employees regarding anti-corruption, addressing, for example, the risks of international public corruption (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). We also have training on criminal liability.
In parallel, we are reinforcing our internal regulatory framework with new policies and regulations, as well as our third party assessment protocols.
Communications and queries
Last year we received 893 complaints through the Complaints Channel available to employees, 490 of which were founded.
Sixteen complaints, mainly regarding privacy and the environment, arrived through our Responsible Business Channel, available to all our stakeholders.
We have specific commissions and units to ensure that our commitment to control and transparency is met.
Committees dependent on the Board of Directors:
- Audit and Control Committee
- Institutional Affairs Committee
- Global Chief Compliance Officer and Compliance Officer in all countries in which the Group has significant interests
- Internal auditing in all countries in which the Group has significant interests
- Centralised Inspection Unit specialising in fraud prevention assignments and investigation of complaints and other allegations
- Payment Intervention Unit at major companies
- Global management and local sustainability units
- Corporate Risk Management Unit in charge of centralising and reporting risk information received from the local areas of risk management, implemented in the Group’s major operators.
Best international practice
Telefónica’s Business Principles Office, the body responsible for ensuring compliance with our ethical code has been included as a success story in the “Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business”, sponsored by the OECD, UNODC and the World Bank. According to the World Bank, corruption and bribery generate annual losses of between 20 and 40 billion dollars in developing countries.