Human Rights Impact Assessments

Telia Company commissioned BSR to undertake HRIA’s for Telia’s subsidiaries in Lithuania and Sweden. Promoting transparency and shared learning, Telia Company today publishes BSR’s HRIA reports on Telia Lietuva and Telia Sweden. The reports outline challenges and provide recommendations as to customer privacy, freedom of expression, anti-discrimination and vulnerable groups, labor rights and public policy.

Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) provide us with insights into our local and group-level human rights impacts, risks and opportunities for people affected by our daily operations.

In 2015, Telia Company commissioned the independent non-profit organization BSR to undertake human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of six subsidiaries in region Eurasia as part of ensuring local human rights due diligence and a responsible exit from the region. BSR undertook those first six HRIAs between October 2015 and May 2016 using a methodology based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Telia Company in October 2016 published BSR’s summary of the Eurasia HRIAs, including BSR’s recommendations to mitigate human rights risks.

Telia Company further commissioned BSR to carry out equivalent HRIAs also for Telia’s operations in Lithuania and Sweden. BSR performed these additional two HRIA’s during the end of 2016 and concluded its two reports in May 2017.

The HRIA reports for our operations in Lithuania and Sweden outline challenges and recommendations as to customer privacy, freedom of expression, anti-discrimination and vulnerable groups, labor rights and public policy. The recommendations include proactive engagement with the government on regulatory issues regarding freedom of expression and customer privacy, undertaking discrimination awareness and unconscious bias trainings, paying particular emphasis on non-discrimination of vulnerable groups, and enhancing responsibility over the supply chain.

‘- We are also happy to note BSRs general finding that Telia Company has made substantial progress addressing human rights since the previous HRIA performed by the Danish Institute for Human Rights in 2013. Going forward, BSRs recommendations help and inspire us taking next steps in defining our own measures to promote the human rights of our customers and users’ says Kati Mattila, Head of Group Ethics and Compliance at Telia Company.

‘- We hope that Telia Company’s publication of these HRIAs serves three key functions. First, that it enhances Telia Company’s ambition to integrate human rights into business decision making. Second, that it informs further dialogue on human rights in the eight markets covered. And third, that it provides insights for the broader business and human rights community on how to undertake HRIAs’ says Dunstan Allison-Hope, Managing Director, who has lead BSR’s work on these HRIAs.

Next steps

Our work is inspired by BSR’s recommendations, but we continuously define our own action plans,  our own way of promoting human rights and mitigating human rights risks to our customers and other stakeholders. As examples, BSR recommends Telia to inform the development of regulations by defining an ideal legal framework for the relationship between law enforcement and operators and, also, to arrange workshops with judges and law enforcement agencies about best practices. Telia will continue to promote freedom of expression and privacy in other ways, as further and continuously informed on  

We are also looking into possibilities to undertake either HRIAs or similar reviews in other of our markets.

More information

BSR's Human Rights Impact Assessment reports on operations in: Telia Company Region Eurasia; Telia Lietuva AB; and Telia Sweden are available here.

Some of BSR’s general conclusions regarding operations in Lithuania and Sweden were included in the Telia Company Annual and Sustainability Report, pages 77-78 .