New technology must earn trust and transform life for the better

Harnessing the power of tech to connect for good.

Health hub exhibition

BT Group touches the lives of nearly every person in the UK in some way – and thousands more around the world. That’s why it’s important that we make the most of the opportunities that new technologies bring. That could be supporting healthcare, AI, security or the shift to a low carbon economy.

Successful adoption of new tech depends on public trust in both the technology and the organisations developing and deploying it. 

We aim for our tech to empower people and improve their lives.

Using a tablet in a manufacturing factory

Guided by our responsible tech principles, we’ve committed to consistently develop, buy, use and sell tech in a way that benefits people and minimises harms.

Applying responsible tech principles across the value chain

Our responsible tech principles help us think carefully about how to benefit people and minimise harms – every time we develop, use, buy and sell tech.

Our responsible tech principles are:

For Good

We design and deliver tech to empower people and improve their lives.


We are accountable for our actions and take care to avoid, and protect against, tech misuse.


We work hard to ensure everyone is treated fairly and with respect.


We listen, collaborate and are transparent about our actions.

We follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These principles form the basis of our Human Rights Policy Commitment and is part of our risk management framework.

Our updated Being trusted: our code is our mandatory training for all colleagues and spells out our commitments on responsible tech and human rights.

And as part of our commitment to identify and remedy harms, we encourage anyone with concerns about human rights in our operations to contact our Speak Up helpline.

Our Responsible Tech Steering Group oversees how we implement our tech principles. This year it continued looking into our emerging risks and strategic growth areas. It invited external experts to help define our approach to topics like children’s rights, evolving high risk markets and customers, and new products and innovation.

The Responsible Business Committee – a BT Group plc Board committee – oversees progress on our human rights programme. At a day-to-day level, our human rights team works on the integration of the UN Guiding Principles in our business, including through training and supporting the teams which implement our policy in our business units and regions. Our Group Corporate Affairs Director (a member of our Executive Committee) makes decisions on any human rights matter which can’t be resolved at an operational level. 

We recognise situations can change. That’s why we periodically engage with internal and external stakeholders and conduct regular human rights due diligence and impact assessments to identify and assess emerging and enduring human rights risks. Based on these, we make changes to our processes and operations to mitigate our impact. We track the measures we put in place, from product development through to the point of sale, and beyond.

For example, in 2023 we concluded a group-wide child rights impact assessment and two country-specific human rights impact assessments. We are acting on the findings and tracking our impact.

Responsible business - Human rights due diligence
Responsible business - Human rights due diligence

Putting our principles into practice when we…

  • We apply our principles right from the start when we design new tech and we work to systematically build human rights due diligence into product design processes. 

    Our data ethics team and responsible tech steering group lead our thinking as we work to systematically build ethical decision-making into product design processes. 

    This year we:

    • launched an AI accelerator – shortening new AI rollout time by over 90%, and built with security and ethics in mind
    • started embedding responsible tech by design into new product development – to build trust and drive growth
    • carried out a group-wide child rights impact assessment on how to protect and empower children in their digital lives, and made an action plan for the year ahead.
  • We strive to only buy products and services from responsible companies – suppliers are required to meet our standards, and we monitor risks and compliance through assessments and audits.

    Our procurement company, BT Sourced, has responsibility and sustainability criteria set into its processes – giving our buyers clarity on supplier risks and opportunities. This year we:

    • started embedding our ‘Responsible AI for Buyers’ guide into our supplier onboarding processes
    • continued to do due diligence on our suppliers.

    See our Modern Slavery Statement for our responsible sourcing approach, supplier assessments, audit findings, and how we’re tackling modern slavery and conflict minerals.

  • We want to make sure our products and services are used for good. We focus on protecting privacy and free expression and helping to prevent online harms. We support the Global Network Initiative (GNI) Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy. 

    We have a due diligence process to identify where we use higher risk technology in BT Group. A cross-functional team assesses and acts on identified risks. Where appropriate, we consult colleagues through our Colleague Board.

    In 2022, we completed our first external GNI assessment. They said we were "making good faith efforts to implement the GNI principles with improvement over time” and also confirmed our strong commitment. They also showed us opportunities to improve our policies, oversight in overseas jurisdictions and related training and tools.

     We’ve developed sets of standards in two key areas: data ethics and AI.

    • Our data ethics standard sets out how we use responsible tech principles to determine what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when deciding why and how to process data (personal or otherwise).
    • We created our Responsible AI standard for building, buying and using ethical AI. It will help mitigate risk at every AI lifecycle stage – from conception to real world monitoring.
  • We sell to customers around the world.

    Through our sales due diligence process, we work to make sure that our customers use our products and services in a way that benefits people and minimises harms. 

    We look at what we’re selling, who the customer is, and whether our product is likely to directly or indirectly support high-risk activities. Based on what we find, we may decide to conduct a more detailed human rights impact assessment, sometimes with external support.

    This year we:

    • further enhanced sales due diligence in our Business unit. This will help us better identify and address potential human rights impacts of our products and services
    • delivered training to our sales colleagues to help them understand the enhanced process
    • reviewed our approach to evolving high risk markets and customers, and strengthened our ability to respond to them.

Protecting privacy and freedom of expression

In a digital world built on data, questions of privacy and freedom of expression become ever more complex. We’re all leaving data trails every minute of the day through our interactions online, how we reveal ourselves on social media, where we travel with our mobile, the surveilled streets that we walk and drive down, even the routes that we take when we’re meandering around the supermarket aisles. 

Fighting modern slavery

Modern slavery is one of the scourges of our age. We go to extensive lengths to make sure we don’t work with suppliers that engage in this abhorrent behaviour. And we delve deep into the different layers of our supply chain in our efforts to uncover any unsavoury practices that might be feeding into our products, services, or operations. 

Child rights in the digital environment

As a company serving families and those caring for children across the UK, we understand that children’s lives are increasingly playing out in the digital world.

While many child rights issues are also human rights issues affecting everyone, children merit dedicated attention because they are still developing, and they need support to protect their rights and encourage their empowerment. That is why we continually review our impact on children’s rights and safety in the digital environment.

Responsible AI

At BT Group, our ambition is to be the most trusted connector of people, devices, and machines. We are clear on the role we want to play in harnessing AI for a brighter future for everyone:

Combining human intelligence and artificial intelligence, we want to use the power of AI in a safe and ethical manner to unlock value for our customers and colleagues in alignment with our purpose to ‘connect for good'.