This report has been prepared in accordance with the sustainability reporting guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), published in 2002. This section outlines the GRI's 11 principles, covering the economic, environmental and ethical indicators of a company's performance.
The report includes our progress during 2005/06 and highlights some of the challenges we face.
The structure of the report is self-defined to ensure relevance for our direct stakeholders and to be in tune with our other communications materials. It is divided into two main parts: a review of key issues called ‘Mobile matters’ that is available in print and online, and an extensive online resource. The report also includes information of each of our operating businesses in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Isle of Man. The printed review of key issues, Mobile matters, is published in three different versions to support tailored reporting to three of our main markets in the UK, Ireland and Germany. The German report is published in German language.
To help define material social, environmental and ethical issues we commissioned research that was partly based on media reviews, O2 internal interviews and stakeholder feedback. During 2006 we will further implement an internal data-system that will assist us in a systematic analysis of stakeholder feedback and to support Board-level reporting of material social, environmental and ethical issues.
The GRI sets out 11 Principles towards which reporting organisations should strive. We report against these to ensure that we present a balanced and reasonable account of our economic, environmental and social performance. We provide a GRI index on this website.
To generate trust with those who are affected by our operations we need to be transparent about how we do business. Reporting forms an important part of this activity.
Prior to this year's report, we commissioned research based on stakeholder feedback (surveys, research, media reviews and dialogue) to establish which issues we should cover in detail in the 2005/06 O2 plc Corporate Responsibility report. Simultaneously, we have been implementing a system to capture and analyse views of stakeholders and improve our ability to manage corporate responsibility issues. This newly developed method will help us map corporate responsibility issues for O2 that fits within our overall risk management process and that can be applied through an online system.
Our report is externally verified and is one of the media we use to inform individuals and organisations that are affected by our operations. This year we have included an extensive online resource that forms part of the report on our website. We hope that this will enable easy access for those who are looking for detailed information. The additional references to GRI and LGB reporting guidelines aim to ensure that stakeholders can make informed judgments about our operations.
We believe it is important to capture the opinions of a wide range of stakeholders. We have undertaken a number of research initiatives to gauge the opinions of employees, investors, non-governmental organisations, business associates, the general public and the media.
The decision what to report on was based on external research that took into account stakeholder feedback on how we manage the various social, environmental and ethical issues and other stakeholder input, such as media reports and opinion leader research. The research concluded in a specific list of issues that we should include in this Corporate Responsibility report. As a result we developed a two-tier approach: a review of key issues that is available in print and online, Mobile Matters, and an accompanying extensive online resource. The first is aimed at readers who are mobile users and who are interested in an overview about the issues that surround the industry and O2. The latter is aimed at a research audience that is interested in specific details about our performance.
Our assurance providers tested the scope and balance of the information contained in the report against a selection of external media sources and outputs of internal and external stakeholder engagement.
In future we aim to record stakeholder feedback systematically through an online management tool. This should help us ensure that as many O2 people as possible understand the needs of our stakeholders.
This report is aimed at a diverse audience and is compiled in response to feedback from diverse stakeholders. The table of contents and the online sitemap of the report guide the readers from a number of entry points to find what is interesting and relevant to them.
The GRI states that "data and information should be recorded, compiled, analysed and disclosed in a way that would enable internal auditors or external assurance providers to attest to its reliability". For the purpose of this report we engage with professional auditors with a strong track record of financial auditing and social, environmental and ethical assurance work. Our internal auditors also include corporate responsibility indicators in their audits. In addition, we engage external auditors and certification bodies in our operations to cover management of environmental, health and safety, mast siting issues and the quality of our operations. We are continuously improving our record keeping, supporting audit reviews and supply evidence on request.
Our environmental data is recorded at the six monthly O2 plc Environmental Forum meetings and electronically through an online system that has been reviewed by our internal audit department. We aim to improve the accuracy of our environmental reporting by including measurement as part of our service level agreements with our suppliers. Our human resources data is improving through new systems that have been designed with diversity metrics in mind.
For the purpose of this report we asked our assurance providers to test statements made in the report and review the underlying processes and procedures for management of social, environmental and ethical matters. The auditors' observations are included in their assurance statements.
The GRI states that all information that is material to readers for assessing the reporting organisation's economic, environmental, and social performance should appear in the report in a manner consistent with the declared boundaries, scope, and time period. We aim to report on all social, environmental and ethical aspects of our business that we have a direct control over, excluding joint ventures or minority shareholdings. Increasingly, we also seek to report on areas that are beyond our direct control, but where we have influence, such as our distribution network. To portray a more holistic view of our operations we are engaging with our suppliers to widen the scope for our reporting, especially to the wider environmental impact of our supply chain. We report annual performance data on a wide range of issues and cover areas that may have a longer-term impact, such as child protection.
This year’s report covers our fully–owned operations in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Isle of Man. Going forward we will also cover our recently re-branded operations in the Czech Republic and Germany that became part of O2 plc after the takeover by Telefónica, S.A..
Most data contained in this year’s report cover the timeline April 2005 – March 2006 to make sure the reader can compare our social and environmental performance year-on-year. Financial information and some of the other indicators cover the period April 2005 – January 2006, to be consistent with our financial reporting. Our reporting periods changed during the year due to the takeover of O2 plc by Telefónica, S.A.. Our next reporting period will cover the calendar-year 2006.
As stated by the GRI - relevance relates to the threshold at which information becomes significant enough to be reported. This process is informed through our stakeholder engagement and research activities. This year we have also conducted a materiality assessment of the key social, environmental and ethical issues we face. We aim to build on this initial research to include systematic stakeholder feedback in our risk management tool.
We aim to embed sustainability/corporate responsibility into the fabric of our business; this is also true for our reporting practices. We aim to achieve this by reporting our operations against a wide context of issues, such as child protection and the economic benefits of our business to society. By adopting the LBG reporting tool we also try to capture the wider societal impacts of our community investment activity. We aim to demonstrate how the big issues influence and relate to our day-to-day business. This year we have included discussion around our carbon footprint in the report, we hope to extend this type of reporting going forward. Our plans to increase the systematic capture of stakeholder engagement should also add to our knowledge of the effect we have on society and the physical environment.
Accuracy of the report is necessary to enable readers to make judgments based on its findings. Our internal and external assurance processes as well as stakeholder feedback help provide for accurate reporting. We include normalising factors in our reporting, where it can aid the reader in forming an opinion of our performance and help compare our performance with other companies. Any discrepancies in our data are fully explained in the Report. We are also committed to expanding our data measurement to cover more environmental data for our suppliers.
GRI states that "...reports should avoid bias in selection and presentation of information and strive to provide a balanced account of the reporting organisation's performance". We aim to present a balanced picture by reporting our performance clearly and openly. To accentuate the neutrality of this report we asked a number of independent stakeholders and organisations to offer their feedback, some of which we have included in this report. Our external auditors have also made an assessment of the information to ensure it is a balanced presentation of the key issues.
GRI states that "the reporting organization should maintain consistency in the boundary and scope of its reports, disclose any changes, and re-state previously reported information". Since our formation in November 2001, we have worked to establish our data measurement procedures and practices. These have improved over the last four years and we believe our measurements now provide a more accurate picture of our operations. This should enable improved comparability of our performance in the future. We also engage in benchmarking activities, such as the LBG.
To provide clarity, reports should be written and laid out in a way that enables them to be understood by a range of readers. We aim to improve the clarity of our reporting. The Plain Language Commission has assessed our report and we have issued the printed version of the report in German language to reach our stakeholders in the German marketplace. We offer more information on our corporate responsibility practices on our website at www.o2.com/cr. The website and the report have been built under the scrutiny of the external accessibility assessors Segala to enable easy access for those who use special accessibility equipment.
We report our corporate responsibility performance annually through a dedicated report and through our dedicated corporate responsibility website. We update our information on our website throughout the year. For further details on the timelines of this report please see the 'Completeness' section on this page.
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