Today, over half a million people in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are benefiting from connectivity in the Millennium Villages Project (MVP). This connectivity has made it possible to introduce a number of programs including Connect to Learn, a global education initiative that enables access to quality secondary education, in particular for girls, by providing ICT to schools in remote, resource-poor communities over mobile broadband. This initiative has launched in 21 countries, including nine in sub-Saharan Africa, benefiting 50,000 students.
According to Ericsson’s 2014 report focusing on Responsible Business; Energy, Environment and Climate; and Communication for All, the company surpassed targets for providing access to communication for all in the areas of education, banking the un-banked, and humanitarian response, and positively impacted four million people around the world with its Technology for Good programs.
Beyond its organization, Ericsson entered a partnership with the International Rescue Committee aimed at connecting and providing support for those impacted by health crises, natural disasters, and conflict-driven humanitarian crises. Initial deployments during 2014 focused on the Ebola response in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In the area of energy and environment, Ericsson reported improvements in its own operations, as well as products in operation. Ericsson, a company with more than 110,000 employees, is on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent per employee by 2017. The full-year reduction for 2014 was 10 percent per employee.
As Ericsson’s most significant environmental impact is the energy used by its products in operation, the company puts emphasis on helping customers optimize their networks. The new Ericsson Radio System enables a 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency, which will mitigate the increasing energy consumption required to meet growing demands for data.
In addition, Ericsson provides product take-back services to its customers globally as part of its Extended Producer Responsibility. Ericsson’s ecology management program has, since its start in 2005, taken back e-waste from over 107 countries. In sub-Saharan Africa earlier this year, Ericsson partnered with a customer to raise awareness around this initiative and take back telecom e-waste as well as mobile phones, personal computers, and other household e-waste from end-users.
“By working in partnership on a range of sustainable development challenges, we develop a true understanding of the trade-offs and impacts our business has in the world. With this insight and our commitment to technology for good, we can be positive change-makers in the Networked Society.” Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson.