[G4-Dma Investment], [G4-Dma Non-discrimination], [G4-Dma Freedom of association and collective Bargaining], [G4-Dma child labor], [G4-Dma Forced or compulsory labor], [G4-Dma Security practices], [G4-Dma Indigenous rights], [G4-Dma assessment], [G4-Dma Supplier Human rights assessment], [G4-Dma Human rights Grievance mechanisms] Among the issues regarded as material by stakeholders and the company, the materiality analysis, carried out by Telecom Italia in 2014 and confirmed in 2015, highlighted issues relating to the defence of human rights. This result, which may seem surprising for a telecommunications operator that works in countries considered to be at low/medium risk of Human Rights violations, is based on two sets of reasons:
- the public outcry caused by Human Rights violation incidents, which can seriously affect business reputation;
- the very broad meaning given to the concept of “human right” by Telecom Italia. This sphere includes not only basic Human Rights, such as the right to decent remuneration, non-discrimination, freedom from forced labour, etc., but also rights associated with the information society, such as the right to access information, the right to freedom of expression (in particular online), and the right to have one’s privacy and safety protected online, in particular for minors, are important issues for a telecommunications company.
Relevant company policies: Human Rights Policy of the Group, Code of Ethics and Conduct, Group social responsibility Policy, Supplier Relations Policy, Internal Control Reporting Procedure, Board of Statutory Auditors Reporting Procedure, Service Charter and General Subscription Conditions, Self-regulation Code for mobile services and Code of Conduct for premium services, Guidelines for responsible marketing, Telecom Italia Disclosures pursuant to article 13 of the Privacy Code, available at telecomitalia.com.
Effectiveness and monitoring: the Human Rights Policy applies to every individual within the Group. The People Value Department is responsible for observance of the Policy as regards the involvement of the people of Telecom Italia, the Purchasing Department is responsible for seeing it is complied with in relation to the involvement of suppliers, the Compliance Department monitors the risk of non-compliance with the reference legislation, and the Corporate Shared Value (CSV) Department is responsible for updating the Policy (at least every two years). CSV also coordinates the due diligence process with a view to continuous improvement. Finally, Telecom Italia carefully monitors and analyses reports of any Human Rights violations received via the grievance mechanisms made available to stakeholders. The scarcity of such reports is an indication of how effective the company’s Human Rights protection processes are.
Business and Human Rights: the UN “Guiding Principles” and European Union Directive no. 95/2014
In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously approved the “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”1 prepared by Prof. John Ruggie2 , considering it a global benchmark for “Business and Human Rights”.
The “Guiding Principles” were drawn up to implement the Human Rights framework3 founded on the following three pillars:
- the duty of countries to protect people against Human Rights abuses by third parties, including companies (States must adopt suitable measures to prevent, investigate, punish and compensate these abuses through effective policies, legislation, regulations and pronouncements);
- the responsibility of companies to respect Human Rights (companies must avoid causing or contributing to causing - through their activities - negative impacts on the Human Rights of others);
- States and businesses must allow the fullest possible access to effective remedies for victims of Human Rights abuses (States must ensure - through judiciary, administrative, legislative or other appropriate means - that people have access to an effective remedy when these abuses occur on their territory. Businesses must remedy the negative impacts – or cooperate to this end – through legitimate processes when they recognize they have caused the negative impacts or have contributed to cause them).
In order to reinforce the responsibility and transparency of large companies, at the end of 2014 the Parliament and Council of the European Union published Directive 2014/95/EU in the European Official Gazette; this Directive will come into force by 2017 (after ratification by the Member States) and concerns the disclosure of non-financial information, including information relating to Human Rights.
The engagement of Telecom Italia
[G4-Dma Assessment] Between 2008 and 2011, Telecom Italia was a member of the UN Global Compact Human Rights Working Group set up by the Global Compact Board in 2006 with the aim of providing a strategic Human Rights input to the Global Compact.
Since 2012 Telecom Italia has been a member of the Peer Learning Group on Business and Human Rights, set up within the Global Compact Network Germany.
In 2015 the Peer Learning Group performed the following main activities:
- a webinar in February on the issue of “Human rights policy development and stakeholder engagement - challenges and best practices”;
- a meeting in May on “Human rights risk and impact assessments - analysing methodologies and case studies”;
- a webinar in September on “Measuring, communicating on and rating companies‘ human rights performance - trends and expectations”;
- a meeting in November on “Strategic integration of the human rights topic & European Peer Learning Group Exchange with members of the Spanish and the Italian Global Compact Networks”.Note that, given the cross-cutting nature of Human Rights with regard to the Group’s stakeholders, this paragraph covers the [G4-HR3], [G4-HR8], [G4-HR9], [G4-HR12], KPIs of the GRI G4 standard. The Digitisation, connectivity and social innovation chapter sets out the [G4-HR1], [G4-HR4], [G4-HR5], [G4-HR6], [G4-HR7], [G4-HR10] and [G4-HR11] KPIs, while the Telecom Italia people chapter sets out the [G4-HR2], [G4-HR4], [G4-HR5], [G4-HR6] and [G4-HR7] KPIs.
Due diligence on the Human Rights of the Telecom Italia Group
[G4-DMA-Reporting due diligence on Human Rights-a] As of 2012, Telecom Italia has been involved in the Company Coaching and Capacity Assessment on Business and Human Rights, organised by the Global Compact Network Germany, as part of which the OCAI4 (Organisational Capacity Assessment Instrument) for human rights due diligence in companies was also illustrated (the due diligence is expressly required by the “Guiding Principles”). The OCAI is a self-assessment questionnaire that reflects the content of the “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”5, consisting of twenty-two questions concerning the main elements of corporate responsibility for Human Rights . In completing the OCAI questionnaire, for each question, the company or department must assess its own position – current and potential – on a spectrum of six levels that range from “non-responsive” to “Human Rights promoter”6.
The goals of the due diligence include:
- the identification and mapping of Human Rights risks resulting from the Group’s operations7;
- confirmation that each topic is governed by a specific internal regulatory framework (e.g., policy, procedure), has a management system that regularly monitors and traces the performances (if possible through appropriate indicators, such as those concerning health and safety), and that the relative responsibilities have been assigned;
- the definition of a gradual improvement path which, starting with simple respect for the local laws, guides the policies and processes of Human Rights towards sharing with the appropriate stakeholders through appropriate involvement initiatives;
- the highlighting of any gaps or inconsistencies between the company’s various departments and/or between the different companies of the Group;
- the possibility to discuss Human Rights with the other companies.
[G4-HR9] Telecom Italia carried out the first internal due diligence on Human Rights from autumn 2012 to spring 2014, on the basis of the “Guiding Principles”8, the use of the OCAI questionnaire, and the involvement of the Group’s two biggest entities in terms of workforce (the percentage of employees covered was 98%) and investments: BU Domestic (excluding Olivetti and Telecom Italia Sparkle) and the Brazil BU.
The entire due diligence process has been studied and coordinated by the CSV Department, which invited the Departments and companies of the Group to fill in the self-assessment questionnaire9.
CSV department examined the questionnaires that had been filled in and conducted the related feedback with the Italian departments in order to further examine the contributions provided and define the action plans for the level two and three self-assessments (respectively 3.1% and 8.6% of all the responses)10.
In fact, if the self-assessment process reveals a potential risk situation with reference to Human Rights, the Department concerned is required to communicate the corresponding action plan to CSV which will monitor the progress achieved in the work. In Italy, at the end of the feedback, the following emerged:
- on a scale of one to six, the average score of all the answers was 4.4;
- the need to prepare the Telecom Italia Group’s Human Rights policy (around 2/3 of the insufficient self-assessments regarded this aspect);
- the usefulness of organising internal Human Rights training courses.
For the Brazil BU, feedback meetings with the Brazilian departments are due to take place shortly and any actions plans will be defined.
[G4-HR10], [G4-HR11] Even the results of the audit on Human Rights carried out on the Suppliers of the Group are reported in the sustainability Report and in the sustainability section on the Group’s website.
The Group’s Human Rights Policy
[G4-DMA-Reporting due diligence on Human Rights-b] The purpose of the new Policy is to make respect for Human Rights an essential requirement in the performance of the operational activities of Telecom Italia. In Italy as well as in foreign companies, the Group has set up processes through which it undertakes to respect Human Rights and has identified those that may be negatively influenced by the Company’s activities, such as:
- Essential Human Rights (e.g. working hours, equal pay, minimum age to enter the world of work, accessibility for disabled people, maternity protection, forced/compulsory/restricted work);
- health and safety rights;
- rights agreed with the Unions and included in National Labour Agreements (in line with the principles of the International Labour Organization);
- [G4-Dma Non-discrimination] rights concerning diversity, equality and non-discrimination.
The Policy applies to every individual within the Group and the rights set out above also concern third parties who have business dealings with Telecom Italia.
The internal processes of the Group also consider a series of individual rights affected by the core business, including rights:
- associated with access to telecommunications services and innovation;
- associated with the privacy of the people and customers of the Group, and the protection of their personal data;
- associated with freedom of expression, in particular online, supported by access to telecommunications technologies;
- deriving from the company’s zero tolerance approach to any form of corruption;
- potentially violated by added value services (for example, services with content reserved for adults and gambling);
- of children and young people to be protected from (cyber)bullying or harassment;
- of our customers concerning responsible advertising;
- associated with environmental protection (in particular electromagnetic fields);
- of the Community in which Telecom Italia carries out business, with particular attention to vulnerable groups of people (e.g., disabled people, minors, the elderly);
- associated with the use of armed security in accordance with the highest standards and international practices and with the highest transparency possible
The Policy sets out the unfiltered and anonymous reporting mechanisms in line with the requirements of the company procedures, available on the Group’s website.
Before publication, the Group’s Policy was discussed in the context of the German and Italian Global Compact networks and approved by the Chairman of Telecom Italia.
Information and Training on Human Rights
[G4-DMA-Reporting due diligence on Human Rights-b] After publication of the Policy a classroom training course was organized and attended by representatives of the various company departments. The course was run by an external company with expertise in sustainability issues11 and was attended by the General Manager of Amnesty International Italia. Moreover, an online course was prepared for the entire company population, available on the e-learning platform since the end of 2015, with further invitations to participate in 2016.
Both the workshop and the online course highlighted, among other things:
- what Human Rights are and the main international Institutions that govern them;
- businesses and Human Rights, focusing on any impacts their activities may have on Human Rights;
- the importance of businesses that operate in the telecommunications industry in the defence of Human Rights:
- Telecom Italia and Human Rights: what can be done - in the case of doubt - by individuals of the Group who perform sensitive activities for the defence of Human Rights;
- how and when to use the grievance mechanism. The same activities will be carried out in TIM Brasil.
Reports and incidents
[G4-Dma Human Rights Grievance Mechanisms] The Group’s Code of Ethics and Conduct requires employees, collaborators, consultants, as well as third parties who have business relations with the Group and all the stakeholders affected by the Human Rights Policy - in respect of activities and services of interest to the Group - to promptly inform the Head of the Telecom Italia Audit Department, either directly or via their line manager, of any violations or collusion to violate:
- legal or regulatory requirements,
- provisions of the Code of Ethics,
- policy and internal procedures.
and any irregularities and/or negligence. The handling of reports, including those for which the Head of the Audit Department is responsible (known as “whistleblowing”), is a requirement of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and of the “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”.
The Internal Control reporting procedure (see the Telecom Italia Group chapter, Corporate Governance system paragraph) requires the Head of the Audit Department, who answers directly to the Board of Directors, independently of the senior executives:
- to ensure that reports are received, logged and analysed;
- based on the results of the preliminary analysis, to launch a structured audit activity (if required);
- to communicate the results of the analyses to the relevant departments so that they may take the appropriate correct- ive actions (if required). The non-compliance is only closed once the Audit Department has verified the effectiveness of the corrective actions implemented by the relevant departments;
- to ensure the traceability and retention of the documentation regarding the reports received and their analysis;
- to update the reporting procedure and disseminate it in agreement with the People Value department
The procedure is available both on the company intranet and at telecomitalia.com website. Employees were made aware of this in a letter from the CEO and a news item published on the Company intranet.
In 2015, the internal control procedure led to a total of 15612 reports being received in Italy and 343 in Brazil, most of which, in both Italy and Brazil, concerned company-related issues and alleged cases of poor service. In the case of Italy, of the 156 reports, 44 were anonymous and 112 non-anonymous, classified as follows
- 86 of a “business” nature (processes that could be improved, etc.);
- 4 of a “personal” nature (employees in difficult situations, etc.);
- 56 customer complaints (poor service);
- 10 “irrelevant” ones in terms of the purpose of the procedure.
In the case of Brazil, of the 343 reports, 114 were anonymous and 229 non-anonymous, classified as follows:
- 188 of a “business” nature (processes that could be improved, etc.);
- 28 of a “personal” nature (employees in difficult situations, etc.);
- 116 customer complaints (poor service);
- 11 “irrelevant” ones in terms of the purpose of the procedure
The new reporting procedure (“Whistleblowing Procedure”) has been in force since November 2015. It provides for the centralized management, by the Audit Department, of all the reports via an IT application which can be accessed through the company intranet by those submitting the report. Since February 2016 this reporting channel has also been accessible via the Group’s website. The system assigns each report a unique identification code which enables the reporter to check the processing status in complete anonymity.
TIM Brasil also uses a report reception system based on a model, also accessible via the company’s website, that allows the report to be received at an email address, equipped with computer security systems, for its subsequent management.
[G4-HR12] The Human Rights-related reports received through the main tool provided by the Company for all stakeholders to report any kind of regulatory irregularity or breach of the Code of Ethics, the Human Rights Policy and the “UN Guiding Principles” i.e. the Internal Control reporting procedure are given below. Note that the concept of Human Right used to complete the tables is the same as the one used for the due diligence described above. In particular, any substantiated reports relating to systematic non-availability of access to the web have been considered as violations of the right of access to the information society. For further details refer to the tables shown in the Appendix.
Reports received and handled in Italy regarding Human Rights
|Total number of reports regarding human rights received through the main grievance mechanisms||4||2||7||3||7||6|
|Handled during the reporting period||4||2||7||3||7||6|
|Resolved during the reporting period||4||2||7||3||7||5|
|Total number of reports received prior to the survey period which were resolved during the reference period||0||0||1||1||2||2|
Reports received and handled in Brazil regarding Human Rights
|Total number of reports regarding human rights received through the main grievance mechanisms||0||0||5||2||0||0|
|Handled during the reporting period||0||0||5||2||0||0|
|Resolved during the reporting period||0||0||4||2||0||0|
|Total number of reports received prior to the survey period which were resolved during the reference period||1||0||0||0||0||0|
The reports related to the health and safety of workers, relations with suppliers, privacy and network coverage. The few cases in which the reports were substantiated were closed with corrective actions. The reason why reports in Brazil were not recorded until 2014 is that reporting mechanisms had not previously been structured and communicated effectively. To conclude the topic, in 2015, in Brazil there were reports concerning work issues, as indicated in the chapter Telecom Italia people.
1 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
2 In 2005 Kofi Annan appointed Prof. Ruggie as “Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises”.
3 Drawn up by Prof. John Ruggie and approved by the Human Rights Council in 2008.
4 Created by Twentyfifty Ltd with funding from the Global Compact Germany Foundation.
5 Four questions concern the Human Rights policy that may be in place, four concern the assessment of the actual and potential impacts on Human Rights (deriving from company activities and relations), eleven concern the integration of respect for Human Rights in the company processes and departments, two questions concern tracing the company’s response to the negative impacts it has caused or contributed to cause and the related communication, and finally the grievance mechanism.
6 The two lowest levels identify a reactive approach to Human Rights (“non-responsive” and “reactive” respectively), the third is an active approach (“efficient management”), the three higher levels represent a proactive approach to Human Rights (rising from “proactive experimentation” to “strategic integration” and finally “Human Rights promoter”). The tool does not operate as a compliance expert.
7 Among vulnerable groups of people, in addition to minors, disable people and the elderly, Telecom Italia includes indigenous people and work of migrants.
8 The next one will be carried out also in view of the Guidelines of the standard GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)-G4 (comprehensive option).
9 Telecom Italia has not considered the question relating to “conflict-affected areas” as the Group does not operate in any such areas.
10 No level one response was supplied during the first round.
11 Avanzi Srl, further details are available on the website www.avanzi.org
12 Of the 156 reports, 31 were received from the Board of Statutory Auditors and 3 from the Supervisory Body. From the beginning of 2015 management of all the reports was concentrated in the Audit Department.
13 [G4-DMA Indigenous Rights] The only geographical area with indigenous people in which Telecom Italia operates is Brazil. However, telecommunications activities do not
have negative impacts on these people.