Telecoms firms cooperating on CSR

Cooperation among business competitors is the way forward to tackle CSR challenges, a conference was told.

Paolo Baldo, deputy group CPO at Russian telecoms provider MTS, said it was a member of Joint Audit Cooperation (JAC), a group of 16 telecoms companies that share the cost of supplier audits.

Speaking at ProcureCon Indirect in Copenhagen, he said: “It’s possible to cooperate among companies that compete. It’s very logical to cooperate in CSR.”

Baldo said the JAC was an association of telecoms operators “aiming to verify, assess and develop CSR across the manufacturing centres of ICT suppliers”.

The JAC was set up by Orange, Deutsche Telecom and Telecom Italia in 2010, when 21 audits were carried out. In 2018 that figure reached 116 and there have been “almost 500 audits over the years”, said Baldo.

“The target of JAC is to find and solve problems,” he said, adding that 90% of suppliers’ factories were in Southeast Asia.

Since 2010 3,062 issues have been raised, with 44% relating to health and safety, 16% business ethics, 14% working hours and 9% concerning the environment. “Almost 86% of cases are closed,” said Baldo.

Audits are carried out in a standardised way by third party companies. Baldo said each audit cost €3,000, but this was born entirely by JAC members. “Spend is consolidated and then we split it,” he said.

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