Telecom Italia, the largest digital group in Italy, was founded in 1994 by the merger of several telecommunication companies. It offers fixed and mobile telecommunications services in Italy and Brazil. The company had around 16 million fixed broadband connections and 81 million mobile customers in 2020. It operates one of world’s largest internet backbones through subsidiary Sparkle.
Telecom Italia contributes to digital access and inclusivity through discounted prices for low‑income groups and support for users with disabilities. The company demonstrates best practice by clearly disclosing economic value generation and distribution among key stakeholders for both the group and its Brazilian subsidiary.
Telecom Italia’s programme for digital literacy, Operazione Risorgimento Digitale, is notable for having a target of teaching more than 1 million seniors in Italy online skills such as how to navigate, communicate and use online public services.
Telecom Italia follows good practice in disclosing how it manages, monitors and reports on information security. The company also has strong measures against child online abuse, including educational programmes targeting the issue. Such practices signify Telecom Italia’s responsible approach to increasing digital trust and safety.
The company demonstrates support for open standards and university research on new technologies and sustainability. It supports tech innovation through a start-up hub and competitions for social entrepreneurs.
Telecom Italia has an opportunity to increase transparency by reporting, in greater detail, on programmes in this area, including contribution and participation metrics, and arranging third-party assessments of their effects on beneficiaries. The company could also consider introducing an initiative to promote digital inclusivity for women and girls, and incorporating stakeholder feedback to make its products more accessible.
Telecom Italia could make a high-level commitment to open source and standards and demonstrate this by sharing project code and public data sets. It also has an opportunity to disclose the number of its women employees engaged in technical roles and how ethics are considered in its research and development including AI.
Core social indicators
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.
Telecom Italia commits to respect human rights and the ILO core labour rights and has a publicly available statement of policy that expects its business relationships to commit to respecting the ILO core labour rights. The company has a grievance mechanism that is accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints. Furthermore, Telecom Italia identifies and assesses the salient human rights issues in its own operations. However, the company does not disclose how it integrates the findings of these assessments into relevant processes.
Telecom Italia publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers and expects its business relationships to do the same. The company does not disclose a policy commitment which states that it does not require workers to work more than regular and overtime hours and does not explicitly state that it requires its business relationships to do the same. Furthermore, the company provides no relevant evidence in relation to paying its workers a living wage. Telecom Italia discloses the percentage of its employees covered by collective bargaining agreements in Brazil, but not in Italy. The company commits to gender equality and women’s empowerment, but it does not disclose a time-bound target. Telecom Italia disclose the proportion of employees in different employee categories by age and gender. It has an opportunity to provide this information for more indicators of diversity.
Telecom Italia has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its contracts with business relationships. Furthermore, the company takes steps to identify and address bribery and corruption and has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints. Telecom Italia has a global tax strategy and discloses income tax payments for all of the company’s tax jurisdictions. Further, the company discloses its approach to lobbying and political engagement, specifies that it does not make political contributions and publicly discloses its lobbying expenditures.