Management approaches

Precautionary principle

Swisscom operates in a sustainable manner and uses established management systems and approaches to reduce environmental, business and social risks. Group targets and directives ensure that Corporate Responsibility requirements are taken into account in operations and projects. Another important element of Swisscom’s precautionary principle is staff training and the raising of awareness among employees, involving, for instance, a separate programme addressing sustainability issues at Swisscom.

Management systems adhere to ISO international standards. External audits confirm compliance with the following standard requirements through certification:

  • 9001 Quality management
  • 14001 Environmental management
  • 14064 Guideline on Swisscom greenhouse gas inventory
  • 20000 IT service management
  • 27001 Information security management system
  • 33002 Information technology – process assessment

With regard to the electromagnetic fields in telecommunications technology – particularly mobile phone use – Swisscom has a certified quality assurance system (QAS) in place. This system is designed to ensure compliance with the limits set down in the Ordinance on Protection from Non-Ionising Radiation (ONIR limits). Preventive measures are taken as part of the company’s operational risk and safety management system.

Management approaches and material issues

Swisscom has management approaches for the issues contained in the materiality matrix. Among others, the following requirements apply for the topics in the top-right quadrant of the matrix:

  • Group Directive on the financial management of the Group
  • Collective employment agreement covering the representation of employees, the relationship with unions and other matters
  • “Mobile working” guideline, which sets out the rules governing mobile working, and “management guideline”
  • Environmental management system in accordance with ISO 14001 and associated directives and guidelines on the issues of energy and CO2 (guideline on Swisscom greenhouse gas inventory in accordance with ISO 14064)
  • Big data directive on the topic of data protection
  • Purchasing policy
  • Compliance policy with the associated compliance management system (described in detail below) and directives (for example, on the issues of law and anti-corruption)
  • Investment guideline requiring Swisscom to assess the environmental and social impacts of significant investments

Swisscom supports the Digital Manifesto.

Compliance management

Swisscom’s wide range of business activities, coupled with the complexity of the applicable regulations, calls for an effective compliance management system (CMS). Swisscom’s CMS is based on the following underlying elements:

  • Culture: An effective CMS is founded on a culture of compliance. The Code of Conduct sets down the minimum expectations of the Board of Directors and CEO of Swisscom Ltd, which are communicated throughout the Group in the course of management work and day-to-day collaboration.
  • Objectives: The Board of Directors has defined compliance goals. All organisational measures and activities are aligned with these goals.
  • Risks: Swisscom identifies and defines compliance risks based on its business activities as well as on regulatory and legal requirements and any corresponding amendments. It assesses these risks and manages them using suitable measures.
  • Organisation: The Board of Directors has defined the minimum tasks of Compliance. The Group Executive Board and the management boards of the subsidiaries have defined further tasks and responsibilities and provide the resources required for an effective CMS.
  • Communication: Employees are informed of their tasks, competences and responsibilities. Regular reports are sent to the Board of Directors and the Group Executive Board of Swisscom Ltd, as well as the management boards and boards of directors of the subsidiaries and other internal units.
  • Monitoring and improvements: Swisscom monitors the CMS and eliminates any weaknesses on an ongoing basis.

The implementation of the CMS can be illustrated as follows using the example of the anti-corruption field of law. Group Compliance reassessed the risks relating to anti-corruption during the financial year based on the findings from audits, revisions to criminal law and changed customer requirements. It recommended to the Group Executive Board that it amend the anti-corruption directive and implement new processes in line with the prevailing risks. Employees were informed of the new directive by the CEO (“tone at the top”) and had to confirm they had read and understood its content by means of e-confirmation. To ensure that employees have absorbed the corresponding provisions of the directive and the need for compliance, Group Compliance instigated various other measures with a view to the respective risks, including the setup of specific risk-based target groups. These target groups completed a face-to-face training session, a webinar or an e-learning course. The existing IT invitation system was reconfigured to safeguard compliance with the directive and ensure the implementation of the streamlined processes. Group Compliance will reassess implementation during the next financial year, evaluate potential improvements and recommend appropriate measures.

Responsible marketing

Swisscom’s marketing is aligned to its mission statement and the principles of the Swiss Commission for Fairness (Schweizerische Lauterkeitskommission). These principles govern all of the relevant aspects of fairness and integrity in communication. The Brand Strategy team, which is integrated in Group Communications & Responsibility, is responsible for informing Swisscom’s various marketing units about any developments in these principles. Ensuring that the principles are adhered to is the responsibility of the communicating units, as they are in a position to recognise any breaches of compliance early on and to take preventive action.

Swisscom does not differentiate its customers by age or gender, but rather ensures that each customer can get to grips with an ever more networked and digitised world on an individual level. This approach ensures that Swisscom can support its customers without discrimination and according to each customer’s personal level of knowledge.

There were no infringements against fair trading in marketing and communications in the year under review.


The protection of human rights within the Swisscom Group and throughout the supply chain

The protection of human rights is an integral part of Swisscom’s corporate culture. Swisscom aligns itself with recognised standards, including the UN guiding principles forentrepreneurs and human rights, SA 8000 from Social Accountability International (SAI) and the company’s procurement guidelines. The principles were published in a new 2016 guideline on protecting human rights.


Practices in relation to copyright laws

Copyright is governed by the collective employment agreement. Employees assign any copyright and associated protective rights (in particular rights to software) and all shared rights to Swisscom if these rights were created while working for Swisscom. This applies specifically to all achievements made by employees either alone or in collaboration with others while employed by Swisscom. In the event that Swisscom has no interest in the rights transferred to it, the employee’s right to make use of them may be returned by contract.

The Swisscom product to be checked to make sure that it complies with F/OSS licence requirements must to the greatest possible extent be ready to go live and the decision to roll out the Swisscom product on other national markets must have been made. The duties and responsibilities involved in the process for checking F/OSS licence compliance (scan and analysis, consulting, audit) are subsumed as the F/OSS compliance service in the F/OSS Centre of Competence.

Further management approaches based on the six GRI categories (economic, environmental, labour practices, human rights, society and product responsibility)

There are Group directives governing the various GRI sustainability topics. Specific technical regulations and guidelines also exist, for example, on the cooling of telephone exchanges and data centres and the decommissioning of transmitter stations. For example, Swisscom uses a CR checklist to ensure economic, environmental and social criteria are taken into account in all projects relating to network infrastructure, services and products. In addition, guidelines govern the recycling and disposal of network infrastructure, which was previously carried out on an ad hoc basis.

Requirements based on environmental criteria exist for renovations and newly constructed businesses. Swisscom’s Swiss subsidiaries and its Italian subsidiary Fastweb use instruments tailored to their needs. These regulations are cited in the following sections.

Swisscom’s responsibility towards the public

As a responsible “corporate citizen”, Swisscom actively participated in discussions on the following issues during the reporting year:

  • Swisscom supports sustainable conduct in the ICT sector.
  • Swisscom provides ICT training places, promotes Switzerland as an ICT location within the scope of the 2016 CeBIT commitment, supports schools in the area of youth media protection and is continuing to develop the “Internet for Schools” project. It also supports the work done as part of the Digital Zurich 2025 project and its successor organisation Digital Switzerland.
  • Swisscom is improving customer service, for example, in the area of consumer protection through the Cold Calls project, which solved the problem of unsolicited sales calls at the end of 2016.
  • Swisscom is developing nationwide mobile and broadband infrastructure in Switzerland. In so doing, it is providing a solid basis for digitisation in Switzerland and helping secure the future of Switzerland as a financial centre.
  • Swisscom is continually improving its customer information systems, for example, with services such as “Swisscom Cockpit” for Swisscom customers who are travelling abroad.
  • Swisscom is working on various projects in the area of climate change, including the Work Smart initiative and the tiko service.

During the year under review, as in the previous financial year, Swisscom submitted statements as part of consultations at federal level. In addition, it took part in a hearing of the National Council’s Committee for Transportation and Telecommunications (CTT) in relation to the Federal Council’s Telecommunications Report, i.e. a potential revision of the Federal Telecommunications Act. It also had a say on the Ordinance on Telecommunications Services (OTS).


Lastly, it submitted a statement on the revision of the Federal Mail and Telecommunications Monitoring Act and was also involved in formulating the corresponding statement of the industry association Association Suisse des Télécommunications (asut). Both statements can be viewed on the websites of the authorities in question.

Ahead of the popular initiative “Pro Service Public”, which was unanimously rejected by the Swiss population with 67.6% of the vote on 6 June 2016, Swisscom weighed in on the debate in the capacity of specialist. Its aim in so doing was to advise the general public of the negative repercussions that accepting this initiative would have had on the company and on Switzerland as a whole.

Through its participation in the new advertising alliance Admeira, Swisscom was also involved in a hearing of the National Council’s Committee for Transportation and Telecommunications (CTT).

Swisscom’s statements are based on the principle of self-regulation and competition in an open marketplace. Numerous attractive new customer offers and large investments made in the reporting year underscore this principle.

Swisscom supports a solution-oriented approach, in the interest of the common good and in the interest of the company. The positions Swisscom takes are based on clear facts. Swisscom maintains transparent and trusting relationships with politicians, public authorities and the community. As part of this, it participates in public hearings and events and plays its part in the political process by issuing written statements. Based on the relevant ethical codes (the Code of Lisbon and the Code of Professional Conduct of the Swiss Public Affairs Society), Swisscom rejects unlawful or ethically questionable practices aimed at exerting influence on opinion leaders. Moreover, Swisscom is a non-denominational, politically neutral organisation and does not support any political parties financially.