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Supply chain integrity

We spend approximately €22 billion a year with more than 10,800 direct suppliers around the world to meet our businesses’ and customers’ needs. We are working to ensure integrity in our supply chains by managing risk and building supplier capability.

Compliance is a key element of our supply chain, particularly around issues such as safety and human rights. Our robust systems, including our Code of Ethical Purchasing and our Code of Conduct, ensure ethical, labour and environmental standards are upheld by all our suppliers.

Supply chain risks

Some of the most material risks in the information and communications technology supply chains include injury to people working in field operations, the harmful effects of working long hours in electronics factories, and corruption and human rights abuses in the mining of cobalt or other metals and minerals.

Safety is a critical priority throughout our supply chain, and in particular during the installation, management and maintenance of our mobile and fixed-line networks. There are grave risks for our employees and suppliers when carrying out this work, including those related to driving, working at height or dealing with high-voltage equipment.

We have developed robust systems to seek to ensure that our suppliers meet our mandatory ethical, labour and environmental standards. We expect all our suppliers to follow our?Code of Ethical Purchasing?and uphold the?Business Principles?in our Code of Conduct. We expect our suppliers to be accountable for managing risk in their operations and to understand that we expect them to hold their own suppliers accountable to the same high standards.

When choosing a new supplier, or continuing to work with a current supplier, we assess the supplier’s compliance with our rules on health, safety and responsible behaviour, just as we assess commercial factors such as quality, cost and their ability to deliver on time.

Our supply chain involves thousands of suppliers around the world

Our businesses rely on international supply chains that span multiple tiers. We work with our suppliers, partners and peers to drive responsible and ethical behaviour and high standards across our supply chain, and do our utmost to keep everyone working in our operations safe from harm.

Our robust systems set out clear expectations for our suppliers

We have robust systems and standards, based on our values, which we expect our suppliers to share. These standards set out our minimum expectations and requirements across a range of areas where risks can occur.

Improving supplier performance and building capability

Engaging directly with suppliers is one of the most effective ways of improving performance in our supply chains. From monitoring non-compliance to carrying out assessments and employee surveys, we work to help suppliers strengthen their own compliance and processes.

Learn more about operating responsibly

Human rights

Our business is about connecting people and through this we promote positive outcomes for a range of human rights-holders.

Our commitment to workplace safety

We take safety extremely seriously in our operations. Keeping the people who work for us safe is one of our most fundamental responsibilities.

People and culture

We strive to create an open, diverse and inclusive environment in which all employees feel equally valued and understand that ethical conduct is critical to our business...

Download our Annual Report 2020

which provides detail on our sustainable business strategy, approach, focus areas and progress