Eradication of poverty and extreme poverty in particular, slowing down global warming, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals are some of today’s world’s most pressing problems. In poverty eradication, plans and goals have been formulated and implementation attempted but there are still over 350 million people living in extreme poverty globally, with majority of them living in sub-saharan Africa. Although most of the global warming causing activities happen in the West, those who are adversely affected by the consequences of global warming also live in sub-saharan Africa. With these pressing problems in mind, Ericsson’s Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (SRC) Report for 2015 revealed that Ericsson’s Technology for Good can solve some of the world’s pressing problems.
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Ericsson’s Technology for Good are initiatives by Ericsson used to address world’s pressing problems such as climate change, poverty, education, health, human rights, and humanitarian issues such as refugees, peace and disaster response. According to the just released Ericsson’s SRC Report, by 2015 Ericsson’s Technology for good had impacted over 20 million lives. Some of the Ericsson’s Technology for Good initiatives have been:
Connect To Learn – This is a global education initiative by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, Millennium Promise and Ericsson present in 22 countries and is actively benefiting over 76,000 students. Nine of the countries benefiting from Connect to Learn Initiative are in sub-Saharan Africa and include Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Cape Verde.
Mobile Financial Services – It has been established that mobile financial services can be a game changer for advancing financial and social inclusion. Under the Ericsson’s Technology for Good initiative, in 2015 Ericsson supported ASBANC, Peru’s National Bank Association to provide next-generation mobile financial services to 2.1 million Peruvians – about 7 percent of the total population – within five years. Ericsson is also doing a pan-African rollout in several countries with operator MTN including Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Swaziland. Work is ongoing with operator Millicom’s Tigo platform in Senegal. In 2015, Ericsson Mobile Financial Services was also launched in Ghana, Cameroon, Benin and the Ivory Coast
Managed Rural Coverage – This is a new commercially viable business model that makes it possible to provide mobile coverage to areas most in need of it, where people have to survive on less than two dollars a day. Through this solution, Ericsson enables operators provide mobile coverage for a set period according to service level agreements and defined key performance indicators. In 2015, Ericsson joined mobile operator MTN to deploy Managed Rural Coverage to parts of central and northern Benin where there was none previously.
Global Warming – On the global warming front, a research by Ericsson revealed that ICT solutions can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 15 percent by 2030, more than the current carbon footprint of the EU and US combined. Ericsson has taken its own findings seriously according to the 2015 SRC Report, Ericsson met the target to offset twice the amount of CO2 from its own carbon footprint with solutions such as smart grids and intelligent transport. Further, for customers, hardware platforms like the Ericsson Radio System, new software and rural coverage solutions are all designed to help customers optimize energy performance. The report also revealed that Ericsson exceeded its goal to reduce CO2e emissions per employee by 30 percent – two years ahead of schedule. This amounted to a 42 percent reduction compared with the 2011 baseline.
Responsible Business and Work Ethics – In order to achieve the goals under Ericsson’s Technology for Good, responsible business and work ethics are key. Under this guideline, the Ericsson’s SRC showed that 99 percent of active Ericsson employees have acknowledged the company’s Code of Business Ethics. In 2015, the Ericsson Compliance Line – which enables secure reporting of suspected violations – was reinforced to support industry anti-corruption best practices. Demonstrating its commitment to respecting human rights, Ericsson reported according to the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights framework for the second year in a row, and continues to be the only ICT company to do so.
Overall, Ericsson’s SRC Report highlighted how Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can enable all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and even has the potential to accelerate their achievement. Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson explained, “The SDGs lay out a clear path to a more sustainable world, and ICT is a powerful lever to make that happen. We intend to build on our momentum from 2015 so everyone can benefit from the opportunities afforded by the Networked Society.”
Commenting on the Ericsson’s Technology for Good initiatives, Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Region, Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “The impact of our sustainable business practices and corporate responsibility initiatives in this region is bearing fruit and we remain inspired to work with our stakeholders to create a positive impact in society. With fully leveraged connectivity, we connect the unconnected, improve livelihood, and help cities become more sustainable, creating value for the continent as a whole.”
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, added his voice by saying, “By embedding sustainability and corporate responsibility into our business, we have a strong platform for progress and positive impacts. We will continue to work in public-private partnership and advocate Technology for Good to drive change for the better.”