Connected technologies play an important role in the promotion of human rights to contribute to the progress of countries and to improve the quality of people life. At the same time they pose challenges concerning aspects such as privacy, freedom of expression, equality and employment...
At Telefónica, we are convinced that the evaluation and management of the impact of our activity on human rights are fundamental for the sustainability of our business. In 2002, when we joined the Global Compact, we made a public commitment to respecting them. Since then, we have worked proactively to fulfil that commitment. This is reflected in the fact that, in 2006, respect for human rights became one of the pillars of our code of ethics, the Business Principles.
Both the Chief Privacy Officer and the General Director for Public Affairs and Regulation are in charge of verifying that the rights to privacy and freedom of expression respectively are evaluated in all actions of the company and that adequate risk assessments are carried out. A general human rights impact assessment is revised in Telefónica every 3 years. At present the Chief Privacy Officer is Manuel Crespo de la Mata, and our Group General Counselor, Public Affairs, Regulation and Responsible Business is Pablo de Carvajal.
Our due diligence system is based on the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights of the United Nations Organisation (UN).
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In our last human rights impact assessment, we analyse the progress and delve further into the new challenges related to technological advances and the new Telefónica value proposals. We carried out this analysis with the collaboration of Business and Human Rights (BHR) and applying the criteria of the guiding principles.
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This has helped us to update our commitment to Human Rights Policy. The aim is to respond with a new policy, dilemmas and risks posed by the current context.
Based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights we have developed a global policy about the human rights respect of our stakeholders, including our employees, members of the community, customers and business partners, as well as the millions of people who we influence every day through our products and services.
- We respect our employees, defining and implementing exacting labour, environmental, health and safety standards, as well as fair, equitable, high-quality labour conditions.
- We are fully aware that, as a leading global technology provider, our company can help to promote – or be used to impede – Human Rights.
- We extend the responsibility to respect human rights to our business relations. Requiring high performance levels from our supply chain – in labour, environmental and health and safety conditions – is for us a way of promoting and obtaining the best result to achieve changes and thus mitigate the risks related to abusive behaviour in business relations.
- With due consideration to Human Rights and through our products, services and knowledge of the challenges of the local communities, we respond to some of society’s most relevant needs.
- We undertake to explore all relevant opportunities for participation or alliance with external stakeholders to enable us to promote systemic changes and respect for human rights.
Even contributing with the best policies and practices, in some cases, we cannot avoid causing or contributing to an adverse impact on Human Rights. Hence the importance of our Responsible Business Channel as part of our claim and remedy mechanisms