Publicly listed in 1997, ZTE Corporation is a hardware manufacturer headquartered in China. The company produces equipment for telecommunications networks and smart devices for consumers. ZTE has a business presence in more than 160 countries.
ZTE follows best practice by disclosing responsibility for cybersecurity at the senior level. It has a security incident response team, certification for information security management and reports data breaches.
The company demonstrates its commitment to open innovation through membership of more than 70 standards-related organisations. ZTE actively contributes to open source projects, such as the Open Network Automation Platform. In addition, it partners with universities on research projects and has developed green 5G networks.
ZTE has opportunities to support initiatives for universal access to digital technology, digital inclusivity for women and girls, and accessibility for users with disabilities. The company should also report on how the economic value it creates is distributed among its stakeholders.
ZTE could support the tech start-up ecosystem. It should also disclose details about inclusive and ethical innovation, including the number of female employees working in research and development (R&D), the locations of its R&D facilities and the ethical considerations it applies to R&D and 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.
ZTE commits to respect human rights, but does not commit to respect all the labour fundamentals outlined by the ILO core labour rights, including freedom of association and collective bargaining. Furthermore, the company does not disclose a process to identify, assess, and take action on salient human rights risks its own operations and business relationships. ZTE has a grievance mechanism accessible to all stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints, but does not describe if or how it engages with stakeholders whose human rights could be impacted by its operations.
ZTE publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers, and places health and safety expectations on its business relationships. In relation to workforce diversity, while the company provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by age and gender, it does not disclose against any other indicators of diversity. Furthermore, the company lacks relevant disclosure in relation to living wages, working hours and collective bargaining. For example, the company does not specify that a working week should be no more than 60 hours including overtime, and that overtime should be consensual and paid at a premium.
ZTE does not disclose any relevant information in relation to tax, such as a global tax strategy or income tax payments for all of the company’s tax jurisdictions. However, the company does have a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and incudes 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. ZTE states that it does not make political contributions, but does not disclose its overarching approach to lobbying and political engagement in a public policy documents; furthermore, it does not disclose its lobbying expenditures.