As Safaricom PLC strives to provide connectivity and innovative services in a bid to improve the quality of life and livelihoods of all Kenyans, the telco giant’s vision is to transform beyond being a ‘telco’ to being a purpose-led technology company. This vision is based upon the twin pillars of responsible, ethical business and transformational products and services that support the aspirations and requirements of consumers, businesses, and public sector clients.
Since 2016, Safaricom has been in the front line in drafting, testing, and implementing sustainability ideas into meaningful and concrete plans, from overarching objectives to simple daily activities that could be put into practice into the day-to-day operations and functional responsibilities of the organization.
In line with that, Safaricom this week released its 2020 sustainability report giving an overview of what the company has achieved in terms of sustainability during the year.
As of 2020, Safaricom has incorporated nine of the 17 SDGs into its performance objectives, both as a company and at the individual employee level. Safaricom further reported that reporting on targets related to the SDGs is now central to its ways of working, and it seeks to empower everyone working with the organization from employees, partners, and other stakeholders to set their own.
One of the nine SDGs is Good Health and Well-being. Safaricom strives to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. To realize this, Safaricom leverages its mobile technologies to transform lives by improving access to quality and affordable health care services and by promoting well-being for all.
This can be seen through M-TIBA, M-Tiba is an e-wallet health payments solution that enables the users to save towards healthcare expenses from as little as KSh 10. So far M-TIBA has over 4.7 million users accessing health services at 3 499 approved health facilities countrywide and has paid out over KSh 1 billion to date.
Also, in the health bracket is Safiri Smart. Safiri Smart, a partnership between Safaricom and Korea Telcom is a disease and epidemic surveillance platform that gives travelers alerts on infections risk, it has 292 725 subscribers.
Besides health, Safaricom has also been keen on promoting quality education across the country and ensure lifelong learning opportunities for all.
So far, Safaricom has been able to expand access to education through innovative solutions, its network, and through partnerships. One notable project is the Shupavu 291, an unstructured service supplementary data (USSD) and SMS service that enables students and teachers to take quizzes, search subjects to study and access Wikipedia summaries without an internet connection. Since its launch in 2016, Shupavu has registered over 939,772 active subscribers and has been used by over 5 million learners.
Another project undertaken by Safaricom to promote education is the M-PESA Foundation Academy. The M-PESA Foundation Academy provides 669 economically disadvantaged students access to high-quality education through world-class learning facilities, focused on building leadership and entrepreneurship skills.
Over 106,208 learners have benefitted from projects funded by the Safaricom Foundation through its Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP), which focuses on constructing and equipping educational facilities with books and assistive devices.
Looking towards the future
Safaricom anticipates that by the year 2030, a great number of citizens should have access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services and also increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. While 2030 seems a bit far, Safaricom is actively and quickly transitioning to the use of clean energy and leveraging technology to provide clean energy solutions, including payment solutions for local and renewable energy solutions.
While at it, the company has also introduced science-based carbon reduction targets to help it plan its progress towards becoming a Net-Zero carbon-emitting company by the year 2050. It has also planted over 144,000 trees so far as part of its commitment to grow five million trees in five years to serve as carbon sinks for our scope 3 emissions.
In partnership with M-Kopa Solar, Safaricom has also provided access to affordable solar energy to over 660 000 households, improving the quality of life for 2.5 million Kenyans and avoiding 1.5 tonnes (tco2) in emissions.
Safaricom is one of the known organizations that have many individuals employed both directly and indirectly. This is in line with one of its SDGs which is to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
The telco has sustained 192,747 jobs directly and indirectly through its operations, including the livelihoods of 173,259 M-PESA agents and 440 dealers. Other notable projects are undertaken by Safaricom in a bid to promote economic growth through employment include; the Safaricom Foundation Wezesha program that has trained 1 883 youth on digital skills and jobs and 826 trainees secured work afterward; Blaze where 33 000 youths have been empowered; Chapa Dimba na Safaricom football talent exposure camp and Digifarm, an integrated agriculture platform that helps agribusiness and smallholder farmers access to credit, information and sell their farm produce. Digifarm for example has 12,037 active farmers using the service end-to-end and 188,350 farmers accessing learning content.
Safaricom has also been at the forefront with regard to responsible consumption and production. The aim is to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse. It also encourages companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.
Just the other day, Safaricom announced that it will work with partners and regulators to support the informal sector in e-waste management. The move will see 100 e-waste handlers and 15 electronic repairers get training on various best practices and eventually be licensed by NEMA. So far the company has collected and recycled 1 287 tonnes of e-waste.
Besides e-waste, Safaricom has also collected 299 910 tonnes of solid waste in its administration buildings this year, and 97% was recycled.
It’s evident that Safaricom has done so much over the years, not just providing connectivity solutions to its customers but also true to its Motto, touching and impacting the lives of many people across the country. The above SDGs are just a fraction of what Safaricom has done.