Vodafone’s products and services play a central role in the daily lives of over half a billion people, across more than 26 markets globally. At the same time, unemployment and underemployment among younger people remain a significant global challenge. Accordingly, every year Vodafone hires approximately 7,000 people aged 25 or under across its businesses worldwide, while creating additional employment opportunities for large numbers of young people in its supply chain and retail distribution networks.
This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainable Business Report by Vodafone published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database 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.
With an estimated 71 million young people unemployed worldwide and 156 million young workers currently living in poverty, helping young people globally develop their digital skills and access learning and employment opportunities is a top priority for Vodafone Tweet This!. In order to increase employment opportunities for young people through its business Vodafone took action to:
- offer work experience and insight into work events
- provide entry-level training
- offer internships
- implement the Discover graduate programme
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Vodafone has identified;
- How Vodafone proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Vodafone to support the communities in which it lives and works
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2017 Sustainable Business Report Vodafone identified a range of material issues, such as digital rights including privacy, data protection and security, corporate taxation and total economic contribution, health and safety, business conduct and ethics, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Among these, increasing employment opportunities for young people through its business stands out as a key material issue for Vodafone.
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:
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 Vodafone engages with:
|Consumer and enterprise customers|
|Suppliers and partners|
|Governments and regulators|
|Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and
civil society activists
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
To identify and prioritise material topics Vodafone engaged with peers, NGOs, civil society activists and sustainable business specialists, gaining their insights on the most important social, economic, environmental and ethical issues for both Vodafone and society as a whole.
In its 2017 Sustainable Business Report Vodafone reports that it took the following actions for increasing employment opportunities for young people through its business:
- Offering work experience and insight into work events
- Vodafone’s work experience activities include week-long work experience placements, with job shadowing and development opportunities. In addition, Vodafone encourages its employees to bring young people into Vodafone so they can gain an insight into working life, through ‘bring your kids to work’ days. In some markets, Vodafone also offers secondary school-age girls the opportunity to learn key digital skills, through, for example, 500 places on a one-week coding programme available during the school holidays.
- Providing entry-level training
- Vodafone is expanding vocational training and apprenticeships across all the countries in which it operates, focusing on its technology and customer care divisions. These programmes enable apprentices to join Vodafone in permanent roles while being supported through continuous learning, in order to gain a formal qualification in their chosen fields. In the UK, Vodafone’s apprenticeship programme offers young people practical work experience and job-specific skills while being paid a competitive salary (at the UK Living Wage or above) and studying for an industry-recognised foundation degree qualification. Every apprentice is supported by a line manager and mentors, Vodafone’s Future Talent Team and Human Resources Business Partners, and has a personal tutor for their academic work. Currently, Vodafone has 90 apprentices in the UK and during the last four years over 120 young people participated in apprenticeships, in areas ranging from business administration and customer services to IT.
- Offering internships
- Vodafone’s internship programmes provide opportunities for undergraduate students to join the company for between one and six months in full-time positions across Vodafone’s businesses, as part of their degree. Involvement in challenging business-critical activities and projects allows interns to gain relevant business experience as part of their studies, also encouraging them to return to Vodafone post-graduation under Vodafone’s Discover graduate programme.
- Implementing the Discover graduate programme
- Vodafone’s Discover graduate programme offers young people with bachelor’s or master’s degrees a series of assignments across Vodafone’s business areas and local markets. Approximately 900 graduates are recruited worldwide every year, providing Vodafone with a strong pipeline of future talent. The Discover programme is also highly diverse, with more than 55% of new entrants being women, and recruits drawn from 55 different countries. During the last five years, Vodafone offered permanent roles to over 3,500 Discover Those who did not progress into a full-time role with Vodafone at the end of their training, were well placed to secure good job opportunities elsewhere.
Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?
The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 203-2 Significant indirect economic impacts
Disclosure 203-2 Significant indirect economic impacts corresponds to:
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Business theme: Availability of products and services for those on low incomes, Economic development in areas of high poverty
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Business theme: Changing the productivity of organizations, sectors, or the whole economy
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
- Business theme: Access to medicines
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Business theme: Changing the productivity of organizations, sectors, or the whole economy, Indirect impact on job creation, Jobs supported in the supply chain
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Business theme: Economic development in areas of high poverty, Foreign direct investment
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
- Business theme: Foreign direct investment
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1) This case study is based on published information by Vodafone, 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 original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:
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