Incorporated in 2000, China Unicom is a majority state-owned telecommunications service provider in China. At the end of 2021, the company was one of the world’s largest mobile and broadband operators with 317 million subscribers and 95.5 million wired customers. China Unicom Global manages the group’s international backbone services, with more than two dozen offices around the world.
The company has an opportunity to support digital opportunities for women and girls. It can also expand its reporting of the accessibility initiatives it undertakes as well as how many people with disabilities it employs. In addition, China Unicom should report how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders.
The company has an opportunity to demonstrate how it supports the tech start-up ecosystem. It can also show how it collaborates on big data for sustainable development and applies ethical considerations in research and development (R&D) activities.
Core Social Assessment
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
China Unicom does not have a public commitment to respect human rights or the ILO core labour rights. Furthermore, the company does not disclose a process to identify, assess and act on salient human rights risks in its own operations and in its business relationships. The company also does not engage with stakeholders whose human rights have been potentially or actually impacted by its operations. Next to this, the company can provide information on whether it has a grievance mechanism for workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints.
China Unicom does not provide any relevant information in reference to labour fundamentals such as living wages, working hours or worker health and safety. For example, the company does not publicly commit to respecting the health and safety of workers and is not explicit in stating that it does not require workers to work more than regular and overtime hours. In relation to workforce diversity, while the company provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender, it does not provide employee breakdowns for any other indicators of diversity.
China Unicom has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, but it does not include anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its business relationship contracts. The company discloses its income tax payments for some of its tax jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and Mainland China, but not for all its individual tax jurisdictions. Furthermore, the company does not disclose a global tax strategy. It also lacks disclosure on lobbying and political engagement.