The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Vodafone supports working parents

Vodafone employs over 108,000 people and is one of the largest foreign investors in many of the countries in which it operates. Aspiring to become the world’s best employer for women by 2025, Vodafone seeks to make sure that working parents are encouraged and supported to return to work after the birth of a child  Tweet This!, confident that they can grow their careers while raising a family.

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.

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Research by KPMG shows that recruiting and training new employees to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after having a baby, could cost businesses worldwide up to US$47 billion every year. In order to support working parents Vodafone took action to:

  • introduce a global minimum maternity policy
  • implement flexible working policies
  • launch Vodafone Day Care

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, socio-economic benefits arising from products and services, health and safety, corporate taxation and total economic contribution, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Among these, supporting working parents 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:

“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 Vodafone engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Consumer and enterprise customers
Suppliers and partners
Governments and regulators
Local communities
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and

civil society activists

Industry peers

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, seeking their insights on the most material sustainability issues for both Vodafone and society as a whole.

What actions were taken by Vodafone to support working parents?

In its 2017 Sustainable Business Report Vodafone reports that it took the following actions for supporting working parents:

  • Introducing a global minimum maternity policy
  • In 2016, Vodafone became one of the first organisations in the world to introduce a global minimum maternity policy. The policy applies to employees at all levels in every country in which Vodafone operates, including countries with little or no paid statutory maternity leave. Over 4,000 of Vodafone’s female employees have gone on maternity leave during 2015-17 and all were eligible to benefit from the policy, which offers at least 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave, plus full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months.
  • Implementing flexible working policies
  • Taking advantage of its remote working technologies, Vodafone applies flexible working, part-time working and homeworking policies across many of its local markets, designed to make it easier for women and men to balance family and work commitments. Individual local market flexible working practices include the following:
    • Vodafone Italy employees are encouraged to work from home for one day each week;
    • Vodafone Turkey employees benefit from flexible working hours and can choose earlier or later start or finish times, to help them balance work and personal commitments;
    • full-time employees of Vodafone India can take an unpaid sabbatical (from 90 days to more than one year) to look after children or family members or to develop skills and interests.
  • Launching Vodafone Day Care
  • Vodafone Egypt aims to be the most family-friendly employer in the country and introduces policies to help retain female employees after they have children. In collaboration with one of the top childcare providers in Egypt, it has launched Vodafone Day Care, to provide an on-site childcare facility at its head office offering convenient and high-quality childcare for employees with young children. Vodafone Egypt currently has 22% women in management and leadership roles, and is actively working towards the goal of 30% female representation by 2020.

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

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 401-3 Parental leave

Disclosure 401-3 Parental leave 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.

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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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