Telefónica S.A. is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, which asks companies to 'embrace, support and act' on its 10 core principles. The principles cover bribery and corruption, human rights, labour and the environment.
Here we describe how O2 in the UK upholds these commitments.
The 10 principles of the Global Compact require that businesses should:
- Support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
Our approach is to have clear and open employment policies and to apply them consistently and fairly. We respect the principles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation declarations. Our governance and risk management systems are designed to alert us to any deviation or malpractice. Wherever our employees are based, we ask them to follow our Business Principles to the letter. These set out the way we behave with our stakeholders and each other.
- Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Our ethical procurement policy adopts the standards of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation conventions. We work with the Global e.Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) to monitor and audit the ethics and labour standards of our suppliers. We encourage diversity and inclusion among employees.
- Uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
We support open employee relations and try to get our people involved in matters that affect them, including terms and conditions and pay. We recognise trade unions for collective bargaining and respect people's rights to belong to a trade union. In 2009, 82 per cent of our employees were covered by collective bargaining.
- Uphold the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour.
We do not tolerate harassment or persecution, or use any form of forced or child labour. Our procurement policies state unambiguously that forced or compulsory labour will not be tolerated. We make clear where conditions would make it impossible for us to work with suppliers, or continue to work with them, should practices fall short.
- Uphold the effective abolition of child labour.
Our commitments are reflected in our social action programmes and our supply chain policies. Our involvement with Telefónica's Proniño campaign is one of the ways we support a fundamental pledge to help eliminate forced labour. In 2009, 30 Europe-based O2 volunteers went to Latin America to work with Proniño, which helps child workers get off the streets and back into school.
- Uphold the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Our culture reflects the diversity of our customers. We aim to recruit people who can bring difference to the workplace. We try to treat everyone fairly and impartially, without prejudice, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. Our approach is to value different perspectives and to make adjustments in the workplace for people with disabilities or other special needs. We respond to a variety of requests, including equipment for those with impaired sight or hearing.
- Support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
A key plank of our sustainability strategy is to care for the environment and reduce our effects on climate change. We believe that information communications technology can help people to reduce their impact in a major way. We advocate continuous reductions in energy and CO2, both inside and outside of O2. Our aim is to encourage positive change wherever we can and to develop green products and policies accordingly.
- Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
We are seeking to promote awareness of sustainability among customers and employees. We use renewable energy. Our key projects include developing green products for our customers, smart metering, handset recycling, waste management, a green travel policy and stretching annual targets to reduce use of natural resources.
- Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
We are passionate about the ability of communications technology to help tackle global warming. In 2008 The Climate Group published 'SMART 2020 (Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age)'. This found that companies like O2 could help to reduce world carbon emissions by an amount five times larger than our own carbon footprint. We encourage our customers, employees and stakeholders to embrace technology for positive change.
- Work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
Good standards of governance and compliance help to ensure that we work within the law at all times. Our Business Principles ban employees from accepting gifts, hospitality, bribes or other incentives that encourage or reward a business decision. We encourage whistleblowing and give employees, suppliers and others who represent us confidential ways to tell us about conduct they think may be suspect or questionable. We have a rigorous and formal investigation procedure and keep a register of all complaints.
Telefónica's global progress and performance is described here.