With Broadband & mobility becoming basic needs of people across the globe, the world is witnessing a digital revolution. Be it education and healthcare or how we build our cities to how we run our businesses, a new society is emerging and we call it ‘The Networked Society’.
Networked Society brings an unprecedented opportunity to address global sustainable development challenges and at Ericsson we use our technology, solutions and advocacy to create positive impacts for our stakeholders and our business while managing environmental, social and ethical risks. We strive to be a responsible and relevant driver of positive change in society and include society as a key stakeholder alongside shareholders, customers, and employees. As a cornerstone of our leadership approach and a strategic priority, sustainability and CR is integrated across our business.
We work to ensure that everyone, everywhere can benefit from mobile communications. A prominent example is mobile money, where we are part of driving the enablement of financial and social inclusion.
Our Connect To Learn initiative which utilizes our core assets of mobility, broadband and cloud solutions to ensure access to a quality secondary education for girls in developing countries, is now benefiting over 76,000 students in 22 countries. With quality education, girls have a much greater chance to earn a decent living, raise a healthy, productive family and improve their quality of life. A World Bank study found that every year of secondary school education correlates with an 18% increase in a girl’s future earning power.
In India, we recognize the link between limited mobility of women and girls and accessing quality learning opportunities, we are leveraging Connect To Learn with Plan India to increase self-development opportunities for 15,000 girls aged between 15–25 years. Three ‘Ericsson Digital Learning Centers’ were inaugurated with Plan India in 2015 in Delhi as knowledge hubs for girls. Twelve more are being set up this year. Our other education projects with implementation partners seek to leverage technology to make a difference to learning outcomes as well.
ICT has emerged as a powerful tool to address poverty, health, humanitarian response, refugee reconnection, peace-building and gender equality.
On the humanitarian front, we marked the 15th anniversary of Ericsson Response, our employee volunteer program which has supported 40 relief efforts after disasters in 30 countries and is a pioneering example of public-private partnership in action. During 2015, employees around the world including India participated in donation drives supporting two of our long-standing UN partners. After the earthquake in Nepal, and in addition to the work done by the employee-volunteer program, Ericsson Response, a donation drive for the Emergency Telecom Cluster led by World Food Programme was launched. Employees donations and company matching raised USD 75,000. In response to the refugee crisis in Europe, employees donated generously and with company-matched funds raised USD 450,000 for UNHCR in support of their critical support for refugees in the form of essential items, shelter, food, water, and medical care.
We need to remember that the power of the Networked Society is not in the infrastructure but in the ability of each and every one of us as individuals, enterprises and Governments to use it for transforming the way we work, think, acquire knowledge and impact the society. It has the potential to help address some of the world’s biggest challenges, including reduction of carbon footprint, sustainability, and availability of education and health care and India can take a leading role in many of these areas. With it’s young population that is increasingly becoming digital, there is an immense opportunity for us to significantly transform the country’s future and influence the world.