Sustainability is key to how we operate in Telenor Group. Ensuring sustainable business will be an important part of all our activities in Myanmar. Extending the benefits of mobile technology, while at the same time remaining mindful of how to manage any negative impact, is the essence of our approach.
Creating shared value is at the heart of Telenor’s Sustainability strategy. We create shared value by combining Telenor’s skills in telecommunications with the expertise of capable partners, in order to provide affordable and meaningful services across the nation.
ICT and mobile phones are key drivers of development in any society today. Myanmar’s telecoms sector is rapidly evolving, and we estimate that approximately 65% mobile subscribers in the country are on smartphones. Close to 60% are smartphone users. Delivering affordable connectivity to the Myanmar population will in itself have a significant social and economic impact.
Myanmar has for many years been isolated, and there is huge need for capacity building and access to new technologies. The success of ongoing reform and peace processes will be imperative to secure continued progress. When the international community removed its sanctions in 2012, there was widespread agreement that the international business community would play a crucial role in generating much-needed growth and further accelerating the reform processes.
At Telenor we recognise that doing business in Myanmar will entail significant sustainability risks and companies that are entering the country need to be aware of these risks. In autumn 2012, Telenor started mapping the risks and since then, we have worked systematically to address the challenges that were highlighted through our due diligence processes. Key focus areas include: anti-corruption, responsible supply chain management, safety & security, environment, and human rights – particularly related to privacy and freedom of expression, land rights, children’s rights and conflict areas.
Telenor operates in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, and internationally recognized human rights standards. Telenor is committed to respecting human rights as set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Global Compact 10 Principles, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Telenor has adopted a governance framework, including the Telenor Code of Conduct and a set of policies and manuals, processes and systems on monitoring and reporting. This framework provides Telenor Group with a common approach as to how we treat each other, serve our customers and run our business.
Telenor has established a hotline to compliance throughout the Group. All communications are treated confidentially. Telenor does not tolerate reprisals or retaliation against those who in good faith report an apparent incident. Telenor Myanmar has also established a local hotline and an internet contact address to which external parties may report grievances related to sustainability issues.
Telenor believes that dialogue with stakeholders, including government and civil society, is crucial to productive sustainability work. As part of our preparation for entering Myanmar, we have engaged with a range of stakeholders and will continue to do so as we start our operations.
Measuring our social and environmental performance is vital for understanding the impact of our operations and in driving continuous improvement. We will report on our performance, and as with all Telenor Group business units, information from Telenor Myanmar will be included in the Group’s sustainability reporting.