Other BT PLC sections

Being a responsible business

We run our business responsibly

For us, being responsible means doing all the things you’d expect from an ethical business.

Our customers know they can trust us to protect their privacy and data. And our people know that at every step along the supply chain, and in everything we do, they can trust us to look after them, and the environment.

We never forget to listen to each other and to experts outside our business, either. We think it’s these fresh perspectives that help us learn, grow and prepare for the future. They’re why we created our Better Future Forums.

Tackling topical issues with our Better Future Forums

These forums help us bring global experts together to explore and share the latest thinking on some of society’s biggest challenges. Two of our recent forums were Making Waves and Net Positive Mindsets:

Making Waves: The rising tide of data for social good

In July 2014 we, our partner GlobeScan, and hundreds of experts from around the world, including Jeff Sachs from The Earth Institute, Dame Ellen MacArthur, and Unilever’s Keith Weed joined forces. Together, we explored two big questions: how can digital connectivity speed up our journey towards a sustainable consumer society? And how can we use digital data to improve society and the environment?

We looked into:

  • digital influence
  • purposeful data
  • connecting skills with need

To see what we found, download our full report: ‘Making waves: The rising tide of data for social good’ (2.6Mb, PDF)

Net Positive Mindsets

Dame Ellen MacArthur also joined us in July 2013, along with Accenture’s Peter Lacy, Save the Children’s Jasmine Whitbread and hundreds of other sustainability experts.

The question this time was how can businesses make a ‘net positive’ contribution to the environment?

To tackle it, we investigated themes including:

  • transforming ‘value chains’ into ‘value loops’
  • finding better ways for companies to work together
  • using new technology to solve problems
  • measuring success and letting the world know when new ideas work 

The next day we summed up our first findings as a highlights report and video. And we shared our next steps. Those steps will help us work with other organisations to develop principles and approaches to ‘net positive’ that we can grow in the future.

We’ve also written a full report, which includes details of all our discussions and findings on three key insights:

  • engage consumers
  • big ideas, big energy
  • innovate and collaborate

Download the full report: Net Positive Mindsets (2.75Mb, PDF)

Ethics and human rights: we do the right thing

This is about more than simply doing what the law says. It’s about being responsible.

Ethics: taking a global view

Attitudes to business vary around the world. We know there’s not a single ‘right way’ to do things. That’s why we run an ethics programme to help our people understand and appreciate cultural differences. So wherever we are, we always work with respect and integrity.

Our statement of business practice, The BT Way, is available in several languages and guides all our people around the world on how to behave in different situations they might encounter. We all sign up to it, and we train everyone to be aware of their ethical responsibilities. Senior directors and finance people also sign an extra code of ethics.

And we have policies for specific ethical issues, including: 

If any of our people are worried about an ethical issue, we have a confidential hotline they can call. It’s run independently and it’s available in 67 countries and 21 languages, serving 98% of our people. They can also file a report online.

Human rights: protecting people, supporting policies

Our respect for human rights comes through in everything we do. We look after our people at every step along the supply chain. We keep our customers’ and each other’s data private and secure. And we make sure people use our products and services in the right way.

We were one of the first companies to sign up to the United Nations Global Compact, a set of 10 principles in human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. And in our statement of business practice, The BT Way, we use the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions.

We support the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect, Remedy’ policy framework on business and human rights, and the Guiding Principles that go with it. These help companies make sure they’re correctly respecting human rights. And we talk to lots of experts to explore how we can best put the Guiding Principles into practice. For example, we contributed to the European Commission’s ICT sector guide and we spoke on a panel at RightsCon in March 2014.

We also use our skills and technologies to help more people claim their human rights – for example, a more connected society can improve everyone’s access to education, employment, health and wellbeing.