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dtac discloses human rights due diligence findings, reinforcing its commitment to the highest governance standards

Total Access Communication Public Company Limited or dtac reports its sustainability progress in 2022, reinforcing the mobile operator’s commitment to responsible business that brings together digital upskilling, diversity and inclusion, health and safety, integrity, climate change, human rights, supply chain sustainability, and data privacy compliance. The responsible business principle is in line with guidelines of its major shareholder Telenor and other international standards, including UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ILO Core Conventions. 

SET’s Sustainable Stocks

This year dtac is listed as a Thailand Sustainability Investment (THSI) by the Stock Exchange of Thailand, with impressive score improvement in environment. The THSI list consists of listed companies that conduct sustainable business operations and pass the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria. The company’s social and governance scores also grew from the previous year, thanks to the privacy policy that respects and protects consumer rights and strict and transparent guidelines for handling authority requests.

Moreover, dtac has been granted the Certificate of Membership of Thailand’s Private Sector Collective Action Coalition Against Corruption (CAC). The company has been a member of CAC since 2016, being recognized for its practices which emphasize on transparency and zero tolerance for corruption.

Human Rights Due Diligence Findings

In the digital era, the two basic human rights that are directly related with mobile operators are the right to information and freedom of expression. As a mobile operator, dtac promotes human rights by ensuring affordable and inclusive access to mobile devices and connectivity services as well as providing digital upskilling for the vulnerable groups.

Internally, dtac continues to uplift its governance and human rights standards through the promotion of freedom of expression among its employees. The company also conducts due diligence every two years to identify and address human rights challenges in its business operations. The due diligence helps voice out concerns of every stakeholder, including employees, customers, suppliers, and the community it serves. 

In 2022, dtac conducted a human rights due diligence based on reports and studies about human rights challenges in the telecommunications industry worldwide as well as the assessment framework of Telenor, a major shareholder of dtac.

According to the findings, the top three concerns shared by all its stakeholders are 1) data privacy, 2) the right to information and freedom of expression, and 3) health & safety at work and in the supply chain. 

The findings also show that, aside from human rights challenges that are unique to the country, such as authority requests, the overall situation in Thailand is mostly in line with global trends. To tackle its challenges, dtac has established strict guidelines for handling authority requests based on Thai law, universal human rights principles, and the principle of necessity and proportionality. It has also increased transparency in its work processes by publishing an annual authority request disclosure report.

Meaningful Connectivity for All

Under its digital inclusion strategy, dtac is committed to bridging the digital divide and helping people achieve meaningful connectivity through affordable, secure, and high-quality connectivity and digital services. This is ingrained in the company’s core business strategy. dtac also promotes equitable access to digital skills, especially for the vulnerable groups, through its two flagship social initiatives:  

  1. Beyond Mobile Connectivity Strategy: dtac provides affordable high-speed mobile connectivity nationwide and inclusive beyond mobile connectivity services, such as e-insurance, financial service, and cybersecurity solutions. These services are offered through the dtac app, which was designed with inclusivity in mind to reduce barriers to digital inclusion. For example, the app is available in four languages and open to everyone, even if they are not yet dtac customers. It also comes with the “dtac app lite” feature, which allows lower-ended smartphone users whose phones usually come with limited storage capacity to enjoy an app-like experience without having to install the dtac app.

    Thanks to this digital inclusion and dtac’s beyond connectivity strategy, dtac has seen 3x growth of prepaid customers on the app from the year 2020, with 124 percent growth coming from upcountry customers. Currently, dtac has about 7.6 million monthly active users on its digital platforms, and the number of users continues to grow.
  2. Social initiatives: Under the Safe Internet Initiative, dtac teaches digital resilience to schoolchildren to boost their immunity to online threats, helping ensure that they can safely benefit from new technologies. In 2022, the initiative has reached more than 300,000 students. The mobile operator also provides digital upskilling for small-scale entrepreneurs and vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, former prisoners, and the elderly, to help them gain an online presence and grow their income. So far, the average revenue increase of those who participated in the dtac Net for Living program is at 51 percent.

The Road to Net Zero

dtac has prepared a greenhouse gas emissions report called Carbon Footprint for Organization (CFO) for analyzing and monitoring the company’s greenhouse gas emission reduction performance to comply with its environmental sustainability policies. This includes collecting and calculating data from the Company’s business operations and all eight affiliates under the company’s operational control, with the collected data being verified by an external assurance provider. The CFO is useful for future strategy planning and environment management in the supply chain.

As the energy consumption is likely to accelerate with the roll out of 5G, dtac has committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 through renewable energy, data-driven solutions, and by boosting energy efficiency across the network infrastructure and data centers. The mobile operator is also committed to achieving zero landfill disposal when it comes to its solid and electronic waste by 2022.

Sharad Mehrotra, chief executive officer of dtac, said, “We are delighted to be listed as a Thailand Sustainability Investment (THSI). dtac believes connectivity is a powerful enabler of meaningful change and digital inclusiveness in Thai society. Connectivity allows people to access critical information and essential services and empowers freedom of expression in the digital era. dtac recognizes human rights challenges in the market we operate, and we put our utmost efforts to integrate highest governance and human rights standards in all our business operations.”

Gartner survey finds 87% of business leaders expect to increase sustainability investment

‘Beyond the Elephant in the Room’- MIT Media Lab Southeast Asia Forum

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