Airtel Africa has launched a comprehensive sustainability strategy that sets out its detailed plans to improve the lives of millions of people across Africa through digital and financial inclusion and access to education. The strategy also includes specific goals around environmental protection and the ongoing development of a rewarding, diverse and inclusive workplace.
The report focuses on technical programmes needed to have a genuine and positive impact on people and communities across Africa.
The strategy is delivered through four sustainability pillars: ‘The business’ which reflects Airtel operations and the expansion of network, ‘The people’ which sets commitments around employee engagement, development, diversity and inclusion, ‘The community’ which details the dedication to improving access to education, and ‘The environment’ which is focused on reducing the environmental impact of Airtel operations.
The company has further identified six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in a bid to make a genuine and tangible contribution. They are SDG 4: Quality education, SDG 5: Gender equality, SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth, SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 10: Reduced inequalities, and SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production.
“Our new strategy provides a solid foundation for us to accelerate change for the communities we serve and the environment in which we operate. We have worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure that this strategy is ambitious, robust and credible. This partnership approach underpins all the work we will deliver through our strategy,” said Segun Ogunsanya, CEO, Airtel Africa.
Goals and commitments
The sustainability strategy includes nine goals and commitments, with corresponding programmes that address the business’ material topics and enable the Group to continue delivering sustainable growth and uphold the best governance standards:
- Data security goal: Establish industry-leading data security for customers through investments in technology and expertise, updated processes and consumer awareness – with focus areas around confidentiality, integrity and availability.
- Service quality goal: Provide underserved communities with access to reliable networks and connectivity through the rollout of new infrastructure and technology, improved fibre connectivity and capacity – with focus areas on service accessibility, delivery and reliability.
- Supply chain goal: Ensure all suppliers are aligned with Airtel sustainability agenda through programmes to increase supplier disclosure and audit ESG performance – with focus areas on enhanced supplier due diligence and ongoing ESG compliance.
- Commitments to the people: Provide rewarding employment opportunities and to achieve genuine diversity and inclusion at all levels across the business through training and advancement, upskilling and reskilling initiatives and health and safety for employees and contractors.
- Digital inclusion goal: Significantly improve digital inclusion across Africa by driving the penetration of mobile, smartphones and home broadband in rural areas through the provision of retail and support services.
- Financial inclusion goal: Significantly increase financial inclusion in Africa, with particular support for women through the development of affordable financial products to meet the needs of the un- and under-banked, a reliable service and financial confidence and literacy.
- Access to education goal: Helping transform the lives of over one million children through improving access to education – with programmes around connectivity, the provision of zero-rated education content under a five-year UNICEF partnership, connecting 1,400 schools to the internet by 2027, and the adoption and support of schools in all markets.
- Greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal: Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ahead of the 2050 deadline set out in the Paris Agreement. To do this, the company will identify, measure and reduce its GHG.
- Environmental stewardship: Eliminate hazardous waste from its operations, significantly reduce non-hazardous waste and minimize water consumption with programmes to replace damaging materials, expand recycling schemes and build employees’ awareness around the protection of natural resources.