Impact of ICT on Human Rights

The topic of business and Human Rights is not new.  So why is the issue now arousing such interest?  What is so special about our industry?


Respect for Human Rights by companies started to gain importance in the 90’s.  But it was not until 2011 when an international standard of reference was established: the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011.




The ICT sector plays an important role in promoting Human Rights, encouraging economic development, improving factors such as quality of life, access to education, environmental protection and facilitating the development of the information society.


The special thing about our sector is that the adoption of these principles and resulting international pressure coincide with the digital revolution in which we are immersed.  Therefore, issues such as privacy, freedom of expression, content restriction, etc. have become more important.  This importance will also increase with the “Internet of things”.


In line with this situation, the European Commission has drafted a Sector Guide for the implementation of the Guiding Principles in our industry.  This guide was published yesterday and is now available.


At Telefónica, we publicly assumed our commitment to respecting Human Rights in 2002, with our adherence to the UN Global Compact.  Likewise, respect for Human Rights is one of the foundations in which our code of ethics has been built, which we call Business Principles.


Reflecting this commitment and taking advantage of the framework of these Guiding Principles, in 2012 we proposed as an objective to develop a Global Human Rights Plan.  The plan’s objective is twofold: to raise awareness of our organization and obtain a complete overview of the impact of our business activities.


In addition, the plan establishes the formal process to ensure appropriate risk management and exploitation of opportunities throughout the value chain and in our sphere of influence.


In short and as we develop in our 2012 Sustainability Report, at Telefónica, we defend the respect of Human Rights as a key and global aspect of our sustainability strategy.


You can read the originar article in Spanish here.


Susana Gallego, Sustainability Senior Manager of Telefónica


Susana Gallego

Sustainability Senior Manager of Telefónica.