‘ICT Can Accelerate Sustainable Development Goals’

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Emma Okonji

Ericsson has released its 23rd annual Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (SCR) report for 2015, which highlighted the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in accelerating sustainable development goals of a nation.

The report also gave details of the company’s performance in responsible business such as energy, environment and climate change, as well as communications for all.

The report highlighted how ICT could enable all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and even has the potential to accelerate their achievements.

President and CEO of Ericsson, Hans Vestberg, said: “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.”

In the area of responsible business, the report explained that conducting business with integrity and transparency is at the heart of Ericsson’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility.

The report shows that 99 per cent 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.

For energy, environment and climate change, the report said ICT solutions could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15 per cent by 2030, more than the current carbon footprint of the EU and US combined.
In 2015, 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.

For customers, hardware platforms like the Ericsson Radio System, new software and rural coverage solutions are all designed to help customers optimise energy performance.

In the area of global communications, Ericsson estimated in its report that by the end of 2015, an estimated 20 million people would be directly impacted by ‘Ericsson’s Technology for Good’ initiatives.

Mobile financial services can be a game changer for advancing financial and social inclusion, the report said.

It explained that managed rural coverage 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, we joined mobile operator MTN to deploy managed rural coverage to parts of central and northern Benin where there was none previously,” Vestberg said.

Head of Region, Ericsson Sub-saharan Africa, Fredrik Jejdling, said: “The impact of our sustainable business practices and corporate responsibility initiatives 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.”

Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, said: “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.”