The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Swisscom promotes sustainability among its suppliers

Case study: How Swisscom promotes sustainability among its suppliers

Swisscom is the Swiss market leader for mobile telecommunications, fixed-line telephony and television, also occupying a significant market position in various IT business segments. Swisscom is committed to better working and environmental conditions at its suppliers  Tweet This!, and requires them and their subcontractors to commit to acting in a sustainable manner.

This case study is based on the 2020 Sustainability Report by Swisscom, prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards, that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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The continuous improvement of working conditions along its supply chains is an important part of Swisscom’s Sustainability Strategy 2025. Accordingly, Swisscom implements a Code of Conduct for Procurement, which sets out binding rules that suppliers commit to comply with. In order to promote sustainability among its suppliers Swisscom took action to:

  • evaluate suppliers
  • audit suppliers

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2020 Sustainability Report Swisscom identified a range of material issues, such as data protection, diversity and equal opportunities, media protection for minors and media skills, climate protection. Among these, promoting sustainability among its suppliers stands out as a key material issue for Swisscom.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Swisscom engages with: 

Stakeholder Group
Customers
Partners/NGOs
Shareholders and ratings agencies
Authorities and legislators
Suppliers
Media
Public
Social Partners
Employees and employee representation

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Swisscom engaged with its stakeholders through a stakeholder survey, in which a total 20 stakeholders took part.

What actions were taken by Swisscom to promote sustainability among its suppliers?

In its 2020 Sustainability Report Swisscom reports that it took the following actions for promoting sustainability among its suppliers:

  • Evaluating suppliers
  • All of Swisscom’s major suppliers are registered on EcoVadis. Swisscom has evaluated 175 suppliers via this audit platform. Suppliers included in risk monitoring are registered and invited to an assessment. EcoVadis evaluates suppliers in the core disciplines of environment, human rights, ethics and supply chain management. If deficiencies occur, the suppliers concerned are required to remedy them by means of corrective measures with appropriate evidence. Implementation is monitored in the course of a reassessment, which is completed if successful. Swisscom invited 16 suppliers for reassessments in 2020. With an average score of 58.1 out of 100 points, Swisscom’s suppliers performed significantly better in 2020 than the suppliers recorded on the platform worldwide. Their average overall score was 42.9 points. Some 93% of Swisscom’s suppliers on EcoVadis have already undergone one or more reassessments. This is otherwise only the case for 38% of all suppliers evaluated on the platform. As part of the reassessments, suppliers improved their overall score by an average of 11.5 points compared with the initial assessment (environment +11.0 points, labour and human rights +12.0 points, ethics +10.9 points and sustainable procurement +12.4 points).
  • Auditing suppliers
  • Swisscom is a member of the Joint Audit Cooperation (JAC). JAC is a consortium of 15 telecoms enterprises which checks the safeguarding of social responsibility in the production centres of the major multinational ICT (information and communication technology) suppliers. Most of these are located in China, Taiwan, India, Japan, South Korea and South America. Swisscom uses audits to identify socially or environmentally unsatisfactory practices and take appropriate measures to address them. Uncovered issues often concern working hours, occupational safety, the environment, salary, health and safety. In the event of irregularities, deadlines are agreed for the concrete implementation of improvements. These are usually three, six or twelve months. In the case of critical shortcomings, Swisscom can generally terminate the collaboration with a supplier. Thanks to the tried and tested, systematic risk management approach, such serious cases have not yet arisen. In addition to the normal sustainability audits, the partner organisation Elevate again conducted mobile surveys in 2020. Workers answered questions about their working conditions on their mobile phones outside the factories. These mobile surveys are a survey method that offers a great deal of potential for the future. JAC organised a total of 13 mobile surveys in 2020, and the JAC initiative implemented its measures with Covid-19-related restrictions. The JAC Academy also conducted sustainability training at suppliers and the JAC Awards honoured the best achievements in the field of sustainable supply chains for the fourth time. The certificates are awarded annually at the JAC CSR Forum in China.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 308-1 New suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria

2) Disclosure 308-2 Negative environmental impacts in the supply chain and actions taken

3) Disclosure 414-1 New suppliers that were screened using social criteria

4) Disclosure 414-2 Negative social impacts in the supply chain and actions taken

 

Disclosure 308-1 New suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 308-2 Negative environmental impacts in the supply chain and actions taken does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 414-1 New suppliers that were screened using social criteria corresponds to:

Disclosure 414-2 Negative social impacts in the supply chain and actions taken corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified & IEMA recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified & IEMA recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

 References:

This case study is based on published information by Swisscom, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the following link:

https://reports.swisscom.ch/download/2020/en/swisscom_nachhaltigkeitsbericht_gesamt_2020_en.pdf

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