[G4-18a], [G4-18b] In 2015 as well, the materiality analysis process was conducted according to the GRI G4 requirements, in order to identify topics that are most relevant to the socio-environmental and economic impacts generated by business activities both inside and outside the organisation.
Identification of relevant topics
As stated in the “Guidelines for updating the Telecom Italia materiality analysis” and in the Review section of 2014 sustainability Report1, preparatory activity was carried out regarding the validity of the issues that emerged the previous year. This activity involved a specific comparison with various national and international sources of information, both public and private, inside and outside the Group2 and a comparison with sector practice benchmarks.
At the end of this initial screening, Telecom Italia was able to draw up a list of relevant topics representing the following macro areas:
- direct and indirect economic impacts;
- business ethics and promotion of human rights;
- responsible management of the supply chain;
- risk management and Public Policy;
- market position and customer protection;
- responsible management of human resources, promotion of diversity, equal opportunities and the health and safety of workers;
- compliance with national and international regulations;
- initiatives for local Communities;
- responsible management of energy resources and waste.
Assignment of priorities
The assignment of priorities among the topics emerged, led to the identification of the material issues to be disclosed. During this phase, Telecom Italia assessed the importance of the topics identified from an external and internal viewpoint. The latter was provided by the main departments of the company following a specific assessment of the topics for analysis.
[G4-26] The updated assessment of relevance from an external point of view was produced by a specific stakeholder listening activity aimed at gathering the perceptions of authoritative Group stakeholder representatives. At the 2015 multi-stakeholder forum, which involved over 30 representatives of the main external stakeholder categories, participants were presented with material issues for the Company’s strategy in order to identify an order of importance3. The stakeholders, subdivided into theme-based working groups based on their interests and skills, expressed their views regarding the matters discussed by their working group. The use of parametric qualitative and quantitative scales ensured the uniformity of the assessment.
[G4-19] The analysis of the results produced the data needed to determined the “stakeholder relevance” dimension of the materiality matrix.
Results at a glance: the materiality matrix
Social innovationEnvironmental protectionDigital culturePeople
The health and safety of workers and staff management may appear to be material issues only for employee stakeholders. In actual fact, these issues directly involve government local offices and the communities where the Group operates and indirectly all the stakeholders who come into contact with the Group’s employees.
The issues and the whole materiality analysis process were validated by the Corporate Shared Value department, which, as stated above, availed itself of the support of SCS Consulting to determine perceptions by participating in the working groups and sharing the results among the forum participants. The Governance of the Corporate Shared Value department is explained in the Sustainability Governance section of this report.
The review phase is due to take place as a preparatory stage prior to the next reporting cycle, with the aim of submitting the results of the analyses carried out, updated in the following year, to specific stakeholder engagement activities.
The Group has drawn up the “Guidelines for updating the materiality analysis of Telecom Italia” pursuant to the GRI G4 in order to establish a transparent structure for the analysis process. The document provides guidelines for the activities to be carried out, establishing timetables and the roles involved in the process. The diagram produced for this purpose by GeSI for ICT sector, which is available in the “ICT and Sustainable Development: a materiality assessment for the ICT industry”, is currently being analysed with a view to further enrichment of the matrix.
On the one hand there are cross-cutting topics that are relevant to all the companies in the Group’s consolidation scope, wherever they may be, without exception, and which are relevant to all external and internal stakeholders, these being:
- Innovation management
- Compliance with national and international regulations
- Anti-corruption programmes
- Promotion of respect for Human Rights inside and outside the Company
- Management of the health and safety of workers
- Management of the workforce, generational renewal and promotion of talent
- Customer listening and transparency of relations
On the other hand there are topics that are mainly relevant to Group companies operating as telephone service operators, which account by far for the main part of the Group in terms of turnover, employees and impact on external stakeholders:
- Network coverage
- Bridging the “digital divide” e promoting social inclusion and the digital transformation of the Country by disseminating and developing ICT technology across the Country.
- “Disaster response” and business continuity
- Sensitive data management and protection and child protection
These topics are undoubtedly more relevant to all the stakeholders who live in Italy, where Telecom Italia is the biggest operator and therefore the company on which stakeholders pin their greatest expectations. In Brazil, where the Group is present with one of the country’s biggest mobile operators, the topics are definitely relevant to stakeholders but to a lesser extent than in Italy.
More generally, some ideas that emerged from the multi-stakeholder forum show how the Group is characterised by being:
- a hub for the development of digital skills and culture. Participants noted the need to improve the digital skills of ordinary citizens, businesses and government local offices in a structured way, identifying Telecom Italia as an active player for improvements in the home;
- a promoter of projects capable of generating shared value. Institutional and Community representatives valued the Company’s potential role as a direct promoter of research and development initiatives for digital solutions, while the business world proposed support and promotion of entrepreneurial activities that can achieve digital innovation independently, to be identified by means of an active scouting process.
[G4-23] No significant changes have been recorded in the scope of activities, and therefore boundary relevance, in recent years, except as mentioned in Group Profile section of Telecom Italia Group chapter.
1 Sustainability Report 2014: “The review phase is due to take place as a preparatory stage prior to the next reporting cycle, with the aim of submitting the results of the analyses carried out, updated in the following year, to specific stakeholder engagement activities. In order to make the process systematic, consistent over time, transparent and well-structured for this and future years, the “Telecom Italia Handbook for Materiality Analysis Pursuant to GRI G4” has been produced. It contains guidelines for all the activities, describing the timescales and responsibilities involved in the process itself.
2 For example: Digital Economy and Society Index of the European Union, the Polytechnic of Milan’s Digital Agenda Observatory reports, the “Fair and Sustainable Welfare in Italy - 2014” report promoted by the National Council for Economy and Labour and ISTAT.
3 Each participant was provided with an information folder prior to the forum for a better understanding of the topics discussed.