How we protect human rights
Deutsche Telekom has made an express commitment to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights published by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011. These principles require businesses to systematically identify the impact their operations have on human rights, and to prevent, mitigate or compensate these where necessary. In order to meet these requirements, we have developed an extensive program to implement the UN Guiding Principles and introduced an ongoing process comprised of several interconnected measures and tools (see diagram).
The obligation to respect human rights is anchored in the basic policies of Telekom, the Guiding Principles, the Code of Conduct, and the Social Charter. The Employee Relations Policy and the Diversity Policy of Telekom are also important in this context.
Tools for assessing potential impact on human rights
We use two tools to assess compliance with our Social Charter : first, each year we prepare a central Social Performance Report, in which 104 fully-consolidated companies of Telekom participate. This report did not record any violations of our Social Charter during the period from October 2014 to September 2016. We have also been offering a central Contact Point for Human Rights since 2013. This contact point can be reached via various channels, for example the public e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. Others use our anonymous whistleblower system, which allows them to submit their information anonymously. All contact options are listed on our Tell me! whistleblower portal, the purpose of which is to resolve violations of legal regulations and internal policies. We look into all tip-offs and reports received and introduce countermeasures as soon as the information is identified as plausible. You can find out how we handled the reports we received in 2016 here.
We also continued the process launched in 2013 to integrate human rights issues into the due diligence activities conducted in the context of mergers and acquisitions. In addition, we introduced special evaluation processes to assess employer-employee relations as part of implementing our Employee Relations Policy.
Reports and inquiries to the Contact Point for Human Rights
We established a contact point for human rights at Deutsche Telekom in 2013. Between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016, the contact point received ten reports related to human rights, submitted either directly to the e-mail address of the contact point or through the (anonymous) whistleblower portal. Not all of these tip-offs were deemed plausible. Most of the reports related to the issues of "freedom of opinion" and "code of conduct." One inquiry was related to the topic of "implementing human rights issues at Deutsche Telekom." The inquiry specifically concerned our activities and conflict management. One inquiry dealt with the issue of "social responsibility." Of course, all reports were treated as confidential.