With over 345 million customers, Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications service providers in the world. Founded in Madrid in 1924, it provides fixed and mobile telecommunications services in 14 countries across Europe and Latin America and also owns the largest fibre optic network in these regions. The company trades under various brands, including Movistar in Spain, O2 in the UK, and Vivo in Brazil.
Telefónica contributes to affordable access through a number of initiatives for vulnerable groups. The company has several programmes aimed at developing the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capabilities of women and girls. Telefónica is also one of the few companies to commit to a time-bound goal to develop 100% of its products and services using accessibility design principles by 2022. The company discloses its community investments as well as income taxes paid, employment and indirect economic impact in its main countries of operations.
Telefónica has training programmes for basic, intermediate and technical skills development as well as school connectivity. Its ProFuturo programme integrates multimedia educational content into the classroom. The programme operates in 40 countries around the world, and is one of the few examples where there is a third-party assessment of the programme’s impact.
Telefónica is a forerunner in advancing safe and secure use of digital technologies. It demonstrates senior-level oversight of cybersecurity and discloses how it monitors, responds to and reports on security incidents. The company also has group-wide privacy principles and reports on government requests for personal information in each of its countries of operations. The company demonstrates a strong commitment to protecting children online by formulating specific business principles on child online safety and partnering with external groups on initiatives in this area.
Telefónica is an industry leader in terms of open, inclusive and ethical digital innovation. It participates in several initiatives for open source projects and standards for telecommunications networks. The company supports the tech innovation ecosystem with a venture capital fund, an accelerator for start-ups and support for social entrepreneurs. Telefónica works with several universities in different countries and is a pioneer in sharing big data to support sustainable development research. Additionally, Telefónica discloses the number of its women employees working in technical roles and is one of the few digital companies to have adopted ethical principles for its AI research.
Telefónica can consider carrying out third-party evaluations to encourage a better understanding of the impact of its initiatives for enhancing access to digital technologies and digital inclusivity for women and girls.
Telefónica commits to respecting human rights and the ILO core labour rights. It also has a publicly available policy statement that expects its business relationships to commit to respecting the ILO core labour rights. Furthermore, Telefónica identifies, assesses and takes action to address its salient human rights issues in its own operations and in its business relationships. Additionally, the company identifies and engages with stakeholders whose human rights have been or may be impacted by its operations. The company can, however, improve its disclosures on stakeholder engagement by providing specific examples of how the engagement is carried out. Telefónica has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints.
Telefónica publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers and places the same expectation on its business relationships. The company also discloses what proportion of its workforce is covered by collective bargaining agreements per country. Telefónica does not disclose a policy commitment stating that it does not require workers to work more than the regular and overtime hours, and it does not explicitly state that it requires its business relationships to make this commitment. Furthermore, the company provides no relevant evidence in relation to paying its workers a living wage. Telefónica does, however, commit to gender equality and women’s empowerment and provides information on its workforce diversity for several diversity indicators per employee category.
Telefónica has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with its 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 on the topic. Telefónica has a global tax strategy and discloses tax information for its main markets. However, it does not disclose income tax payments for all of its individual tax jurisdictions. The company specifies that it does not make political contributions, but it does not provide a publicly available policy statement regarding its overall approach to lobbying and political engagement.