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  • 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

Protecting human rights

Our contribution to the SDGs

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).

Human rights due diligence at Deutsche Telekom

The obligation to respect human rights, including personal rights and freedom of opinion, is anchored in Deutsche Telekom’s basic policies, our Guiding Principles and the Code of Human Rights & Social Principles. Deutsche Telekom’s Employee Relations Policy and its Diversity Policy are also important in this context.

Tools for assessing potential impact on human rights
We use two tools in particular to assess our Code of Human Rights & Social Principles. First, every year we prepare a central Human Rights & Social Performance Report: In the 2018 report, all 120 companies surveyed confirmed that they comply with the principles of the Code of Human Rights & Social Principles. The report indicated no violations for 2018. Second, in 2013 we established a central point of contact for human rights issues. This contact point can be reached via various channels, for example the public e-mail address Tip-offs can be reported via the anonymous whistleblower portal without providing any sender information. All relevant contact information can be found on our whistleblower portal “Tell me!”. 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 2018 here. In addition, since 2013 we have integrated human rights aspects in due diligence activities conducted in the context of mergers and acquisitions.

Based on need, we also introduce special evaluation processes to assess employer-employee relations in the national companies with which we implement our Employee Relations Policy. In this context, we also take into account the results provided by our Human Rights & Employee Relations Cockpit. This is a tool to measure progress at our national companies on the basis of five indicators pertaining to human rights:

  • Employee satisfaction (source: semi-annual pulse survey)
  • Willingness to recommend Deutsche Telekom as an employer (source: semi-annual pulse survey)
  • Health rate (source: HSE img cockpit)
  • Number of employees giving notice (source: HSE cockpit)
  • Human rights risks at national companies (according to Maplecroft Human Rights Risk Index)

Our national companies are classified according to a traffic-light system for their results in each indicator: green (requirements met), yellow (requirements partially met) and red (requirements not met). The results are then discussed with the regional managers at the national companies and measures such as human rights impact assessments and employee relations policy reviews are arranged as necessary.

Human rights in the supply chain
We expressly require our suppliers to assume responsibility as a way of making sure human rights are also protected outside of our Group. To this end, we supplemented our sustainable procurement strategy with supplier management to improve our sustainability performance in our supply chain and ensure respect for human rights. The detailed results of our Group-wide auditing program are available here.

Yvonne Hommes

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Yvonne Hommes