Telecom Italia believes it is fundamentally important to consider the opinions and expectations of its stakeholders, namely the parties who for various reasons have an interest in the company’s activities. In 2015, the stakeholder engagement process was further enriched by the organisation of a multi-stakeholder forum.
The multi-stakeholder forum is a listening and involvement tool that promotes integration between the demands of the various stakeholders involved, allowing the Company to receive contributions that consider the various perspectives while at the same time providing an integrated vision of the various expectations and priorities. The 2015 forum focused on two objectives:
- strengthening understanding of the demands and priorities of stakeholders on matters relevant to the Group’s strategy;
- gathering contributions on potential areas of development for the Group’s CSV strategy, in order to strengthen its ability to create shared value between the Company and its stakeholders.
In establishing the method used to run the multi-stakeholder forum, the principles of the international Stakeholder Engagement Standard AA1000SES, drawn up by AccountAbility, were applied.
In accordance with the AA1000SES standard, provision was made for:
- ensuring the presence of a third party independent of Telecom Italia and specialised in stakeholder engagement and accountability. The Group availed itself of SCS Consulting, responsible for guaranteeing the materiality of the issues being discussed, an independent review of what has emerged from the listening activities and the inclusion of stakeholders who represent different views on the topics being discussed;
- selecting participants in the forum based on their knowledge of the topics discussed and a balanced presence of stakeholders with different points of view;
- excluding people who have been employed by or have had a professional working relationship with the Group and ruling out any remuneration for forum participants.
Finally, provision was made for the presence of a representative of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company in charge of auditing the financial statements.
[G4-24] The stakeholders with whom Telecom Italia comes into contact in the conduct of its business are many and very varied. For ease of management and reporting they were grouped into eight categories:
- community (including associations, universities, schools, media, startups)
- human resources
In particular, the forum involved over 30 representatives from the first six categories. For ease of management and reporting, they were split into six working groups based on their interests and skills:
- connectivity and digitisation: prospects for the country
- connectivity and digitisation: impacts on growth and innovation
- digital administration in the service of citizens
- digital culture
- environmental protection
- quality services for customers
[G4-25], [G4-26] Aside from the multi-stakeholder forum, the stakeholder engagement process takes place regularly during implementation of the Company’s projects. For each project, the affected stakeholders are identified and priorities are assigned based on the importance of the stakeholder for the business objectives or its relevance in specific fields which are considered strategic by the Company (i.e. contributing to the economic or cultural growth of the Country with projects not strictly connected with business).
Once the relevant stakeholders have been identified for the project, the most suitable strategies for building relations are studied, which can include individual and group meetings, information sessions, shared projects, surveys, focus groups, etc.
The feedback that the various stakeholders provide to Telecom Italia is analysed in order to identify solutions the
Company can offer to satisfy the specific requirements.
At the end of the feasibility analysis and verification process, Telecom Italia decides which solutions to offer and which projects and initiatives to undertake. Stakeholder involvement continues beyond this to monitor and adjust the initiatives. In particular, over 50 proposals for projects emerged from the forum that could be used by the Group as part of its CSV strategy.
Telecom Italia has drawn up General guidelines for group stakeholder engagement and a set of policies associated with different kinds of stakeholders, including customer service charters, a policy on relations with suppliers in purchasing processes, the code of conduct for protecting the data of other local operators, guidelines for relations with local Authorities and other organisations, guidelines for voluntary contributions to the Community.
Lastly, the Group is aware of the importance of providing accurate information on its activities to the financial market, investors and the community in general. Subject to the need for confidentiality in the running of the business, communication with the financial market is carried out in a way that ensures transparency, fairness, clarity, promptness and equality of access to information, ensuring equality of treatment for all categories of shareholders, as required by the Bylaws. The external communication of information is governed by specific internal procedures, in line with the regulations in force.
The Company has set up dedicated channels of communication with shareholders, bondholders and stakeholders interested in receiving information about the financial and non-financial aspects of the Company.
The Investor Relations department manages relations with the main stakeholders: institutional and retail investors (including small shareholders’ associations), bondholders, socially responsible investors, equity and credit analysts.
Their shared expectations - together with the certainty of a prompt and comprehensive response to the requests for information - relate to:
- confirming the objectives reported to the financial market through the strategic plan;
- strengthening the Group’s position in the markets in which it operates.
In the course of 2015, the Company organised quarterly conference calls, road shows and meetings abroad in the Group’s corporate headquarters (reverse road shows) as well as attending industry conferences. During these events, the Company met over 600 investors. In addition to these there are the direct contacts and telephone conversations that the Investor Relations team has on a daily basis. Furthermore, in order to improve communication with the stakeholders, considering the growing importance of this issue over the last 2 years, Telecom Italia organised meetings and detailed discussions on corporate governance matters.
The Group’s responses to the financial market are based on criteria of relevance, sensitivity, and congruity with the Group’s structure and the actions taken by the Group to achieve its planned targets as well as equal access to information and equal treatment of all the categories of shareholders in compliance with the Bylaws.
Financial communication also considers the needs of investors linked to Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), which favour in their investment choices companies that pay attention to ethical, social and environmental factors as well as financial ones. Interaction with this category of investors is developed through individual contact and conference calls.
As regards relations with individual (retail) shareholders - more than 400,000 holders of ordinary shares - Telecom Italia’s strategy aims to strengthen communication channels in order to respond quickly and effectively to queries regarding the performance of shares and the Group strategy as a whole. The messages and ideas that emerge from dialogue with retail investors are collected and reported to Top Management. In this respect, the “TI Alw@ys ON” (telecomitalia.com/individuali) Shareholders’ Club was launched in 2006 as a virtual meeting place between the Company and its individual investors. Access to the Club is not exclusive. Non-shareholders can also simply register to receive the same services provided to shareholders. Both registration and delivery of the services are completely free of charge. With regard to on line financial communication, the telecomitalia.com website is constantly updated and innovated.
- the “information” column refers to one-way communications by the Company with stakeholders;
- the “consultation” column refers to the occasions when stakeholders are asked for their opinion through surveys or similar tools;
- the “dialogue” column refers to the discussions and ongoing and stable cooperation between the Group and stakeholders;
- the “partnership” column refers to the specific projects that are managed together.
Each initiative mentioned in the table is accompanied by reference to the relevant chapter and section of this report in which the initiative is discussed in detail.