Material issues

Criteria of materiality

With regard to materiality, Swisscom defined and applied the following qualitative criteria for the report in the year under review:

  • Importance of topics addressed by Swisscom’s mission statement
  • Significance and relevance of sustainability issues for stakeholder groups
  • Effects on the company’s financial position, results of operations and reputation

Classification of issues / materiality matrix

The issues can be identified based on their relevance to Swisscom’s business strategy and the concerns of stakeholder groups. They are examined and dealt with internally according to level of importance and scope either by specialist departments or by those bodies that act as contact partners for the respective stakeholders. The issues are also discussed by other bodies such as division management or the Group Executive Board. If necessary, these bodies initiate the appropriate measures. The issues are arranged alphabetically within the boxes of the materiality matrix.

New classification levels

The matrix topics and their classification were validated by representative target groups in a survey conducted in October 2013. In the survey, government authorities, partners and NGOs such as the WWF and myclimate commented on ecological aspects, while the Swiss Association for Audiovisual Learning (SSAB) and the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO), which are jointly responsible for the National Programme for the Promotion of Media Skills, commented on social aspects. The survey concluded that Swisscom should increase its efforts in promoting products and services aimed at reducing customers’ CO2 emissions. Customers, after all, could make a substantial contribution towards combating climate change. These findings are also confirmed by the most recent study of the International Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI smarter 2020) as well as Swisscom’s latest evaluation. The topic of reducing customers’ CO2 emissions is therefore classified as highly relevant within the matrix.

Issues highlighted by the FSIO and SSAB surveys, such as the shortage of specialist staff and generation management, have also been incorporated in Swisscom’s materiality matrix under diversity and personnel training and development. There is consensus as regards the rating accorded to the other issues.

The new CR strategy, which will be in place until 2020, was drawn up during the year under review. In connection with this, the collaboration of different divisions within Swisscom resulted in two new business activities being identified as material: healthcare and corresponding health-related offers, and offers for flexible working models and the promotion of a mobile working culture.

In a symbolic move toward increased stakeholder involvement, Swisscom reviewed its strategic “2:1 target” in collaboration with its long-term partner organisations WWF and myclimate. As part of the “2:1 target”, Swisscom aims to work together with its customers to save twice as much CO2 as it emits throughout the entire company including the supply chain by 2020. Specifically, this dialogue with partner organisations helped set both the target amount and find a plausible calculation method. Swisscom incorporated many suggestions throughout the process which helped improve the calculation method and communication of the target. Swisscom formulated targeted expertise requests for both partner organisations in order to rectify the shortcomings. Thanks to the transparent approach – all assumptions and calculations were disclosed to partners – they succeeded in defining the “2:1 target” in more precise terms. This does not, however, bring Swisscom’s dialogue with its partners to an end. Moreover, Swisscom also wants to continue to consult myclimate and WWF for its annual interim reports in order to obtain a neutral opinion.

The issues are arranged alphabetically within the boxes of the materiality matrix.

Swisscom materiality matrix 2014


Resulting Corporate Responsibility strategy

Swisscom carefully monitors all of the issues in the materiality matrix and handles them according to priority. The issues in the three particularly material boxes represent the foundations of the corporate business and Corporate Responsibility strategies. Those with the highest priority and of major relevance to both stakeholders and Swisscom are positioned in the top right-hand box. Cross-cutting issues such as “Innovation and development” and “Social and cultural commitments” are also represented in the matrix and are related to Swisscom’s mission statement. Other topics such as noise, water protection, wildlife conservation, violence and population growth are important from an ecological and social point of view, but are not pivotal to Swisscom’s activities. As a result, these are not included in the matrix. Swisscom’s CR strategy is detailed in the next section.