Vodafone’s approach to CR is underpinned by its business principles which cover, amongst other things, the environment, employees, individual conduct and community and society. The business principles are available on www.vodafone.com/responsibility/businessprinciples and are communicated to employees in a number of ways, including induction processes, websites and face to face meetings.
The Executive Committee receives regular information on CR and, for the last five years, the Board has had an annual presentation on CR. A CR management structure is established in each local operating company, with each one having a representative on its management board with responsibility for CR. For the purposes of this section of the Annual Report, “operating companies” refers to the Group’s operating subsidiaries and the Group’s joint venture in Italy. It includes information for the first time for Turkey and Arcor, Vodafone’s fixed-line business in Germany, but excludes the newly acquired operations in India and Tele2 in Spain and Italy. These newly acquired operations will be included in the 2009 financial year.
CR performance is closely monitored and reported at most local operating company boards on a regular basis. CR is also integrated into Vodafone’s risk management processes such as the formal annual confirmation provided by each local operating company detailing the operation of their controls system.
These processes are supported by stakeholder engagement, which helps to ensure Vodafone is aware of the issues relevant to the business and to provide a clear understanding of expectations of performance. Stakeholder consultations take place with customers, investors, employees, suppliers, the communities where the Group operates and where networks are based, governments and regulators and non-governmental organisations. In addition, the Group has continued the Vodafone CR Dialogues programme of in-depth discussions on specific, emerging issues. CR Dialogues this year focused on privacy, climate change, safe internet and emerging markets. More information on this can be found at www.vodafone.com/responsibility.
Vodafone’s CR programme and performance as reported on the Group’s online CR report has been independently assured using the AccountAbility 1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000 AS) by the Group’s auditors, Deloitte & Touche LLP. The AA1000 AS requires Vodafone to report its responses and performance on material issues. Deloitte’s assurance statement outlining the specific assurance scope, procedures and “reasonable assurance” opinion is published in the Group’s online CR report.
The Group’s CR reporting comprises an online report and a printed CR summary focusing on strategy and trends, while 12 operating companies also produce their own CR reports.
During the year, Vodafone’s 2007 CR report won the main accolade of the Corporate Register Reporting Awards for the best report and was commended by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (“ACCA”) for the best disclosure in Tax and Public Policy. Vodafone is included in the FTSE4Good and Dow Jones Sustainability Index and rated fifth in the Global AccountAbility Rating, published by Fortune.