PLDT, formerly Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, is the largest telecommunications provider in the Philippines. It supplies fixed line, broadband and wireless services, the latter through its subsidiary Smart. It was incorporated in 1928 and had 71 million mobile subscribers in 2021. PLDT Global provides communications to other network operators, businesses and overseas Filipinos.
PLDT is one of the few companies with initiatives across all levels of digital skills development. The PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program, launched in 2004 and conducted in partnership with the Philippines Department of Education, provides nationwide digital literacy training for students. The company’s Digital Farmers Program provides training to Filipino small-scale farmers on how to use digital technologies to grow their operations. Further, through its School-in-a-Bag programme, PLDT provides computers and Wi-Fi to schools in remote areas.
PLDT discloses how cybersecurity is handled at the senior level in the company. Furthermore, the company has a computer emergency response team, and it reports data breaches. The company also makes a commitment to child online safety, and it partners with the United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) to educate teachers and schoolchildren on the subject.
PLDT practices open innovation through participation in standards organisations, use of open source software and collaboration with universities. It also demonstrates good practices in sustainable innovation, using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for assessing its activities and partnering with researchers on sustainability projects.
PLDT can discloseadditional metrics, such as participation numbers and third-party impact assessments, for its programmes for supporting digital access. There is also an opportunity for the company to contribute to increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.
There is an opportunity for the company to strengthen its commitment to open innovation by sharing source code. PLDT can also consider supporting start-ups founded by entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. Additionally, it should publicly disclose the ethical principles it uses to guide its research and development (R&D) and artificial intelligence (AI) 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.
PLDT states in its sustainability report that it “adheres to internationally recognised principles on labour and human rights”, but it does not commit to respecting human rights in a publicly available policy statement. Furthermore, the company could disclose a process to identify, assess and act on the salient human rights risks in its own operations and in its business relationships. PLDT does have a grievance mechanism for workers to raise human rights concerns and complaints, but it is unclear if external stakeholders have access to this mechanism.
PLDT is one of the few companies that discloses the basic salary ratio by gender and employee category. In its sustainability report, PLDT states that it respects employees’ right to safe and healthy working conditions. However, the company could make a publiccommitment to respect workerhealth and safety in a publicly available policy statement. The company discloses the proportion of its workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements,but it lacks disclosure in relation to living wages and working hours. For example, the company does not specify that it does not require workers to work more than 48 hours in a regular week and 60 hours including overtime. In relation to workforce diversity, the company canprovide a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by diversity indicators such as age and gender.
PLDT does not publicly disclose information in relation to lobbying and political engagement, such as its overall approach to the topic and its lobbying expenditures. PLDT does prohibit bribery and corruption, but it does not publicly state whether it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its business relationship contracts.