2019 Sustainable Business Report

SAFARICOM SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS REPORT 2019 INTRODUCTION OUR BUSINESS OUR MATERIAL TOPICS STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT CONCLUDING REMARKS 12 with energy, together with the potential use of carbon offsets. As a result, we are not looking simply at getting our network sites off generators and on to the national grid, but at powering them using renewable energy. We are also exploring how to consume energy more efficiently. We have started focusing in earnest on the role carbon offsets will need to play in order for us to achieve our net zero commitment as well. By the time this report is published, for instance, we expect to have announced our intention to plant a forest of one million trees as part of our carbon offset programme. Why is addressing income inequality such an important ambition for you? The second biggest challenge facing the world is inequality. It is on the rise globally. We can see the reality and negative consequences of this all around us in Kenya. Inequality weakens the socio-economic fabric of society. Income inequality has been linked to lower levels of education, poorer public health, higher rates of crime and lower GDP growth rates. The impact of inequality is a really important issue for us because it is clear that the ongoing success of a company is directly linked to the success of the society within which it operates. Business has a vested interest in creating inclusive growth, as well as an important role to play. If you help your consumer base gain access to more opportunity and success through becoming more educated, healthier and productive, it is obvious that your business will thrive. In an ideal scenario, the public sector provides the enabling environment, the private sector delivers opportunities, and civil society deepens the links into the community and ensures accountability. Safaricom is a top collector of e-waste in the Kenyan private sector. Why do you argue that this is not enough? I am proud of the fact that Safaricom is the one of the largest private-sector collectors of e-waste in Kenya. We collected another 217 tonnes during the year and have collected over a thousand tonnes since 2015. We have begun collecting other recyclable and compostable waste as well. I maintain that this is not enough though, because we need to stop the waste being created in the first place. In that regard, I am pleased that we have committed ourselves to eliminating all single-use plastic at our facilities, along with minimising the amount of plastic used in our retail packaging and SIM cards. I am pleased with the start we have made, but we need to get other companies and organisations to follow suit. My understanding is that it is difficult to recycle efficiently the comparatively small amounts of e-waste and plastic that are being collected at present. As a society, we urgently need to collect more. It is the kind of challenge to which we need to apply Shared Value thinking. How can we scale up our efforts and incentivise large numbers of socio- economically challenged Kenyans to collect waste for recycling, for instance? You have suggested that sustainability at Safaricom is “bigger than the CEO”. What do you mean by that? Exactly that. I am delighted at how the team here at Safaricom continued to drive the sustainability agenda during my absence this year. It is a measure of how far we have come in terms of embedding such ideas institutionally within the company. The importance of being a sustainability-led business appears to have been embraced enthusiastically by our people and this fills me with confidence and optimism. Yet we need others to join with us. We cannot succeed alone. The world appears to be becoming more divided and unequal rather than less. Our country and continent face pressing challenges that can only be solved if we all work together. Business has a vital role to play — perhaps a more important role than any other player in the theatre — and the time to unite to address the challenge of reducing inequalities is now. Bob Collymore Chief Executive Officer Safaricom PLC