Since inception in 1993, Safaricom PLC has grown to be among the leading telcos in Kenya. A company that has grown in revenues, coverage and service delivery. Since the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Kenya, many corporates decided to take up some goals that fitted into their mission statement and promote a better future for the world. Safaricom was no exception given that it’s a company that believes in transforming lives. Since 2012, Safaricom integrated sustainable business practices and SGDs into their corporate strategy and business model. It strives to achieve a socio-economic and environmental impact and value for the Kenyan Society.
Safaricom took up a few SDGs that applied with their business concepts, the major ones being;
Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Goal 3: Good health and well being
Goal 4: Quality Education
Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
Goal 16: Peace , justice and strong institutions
Goal 8: Decent Work and economic growth
The Safaricom SDG Purpose Statement is :
“We commit to deliver connectivity and innovative products and services (SDG9) that will provide unmatched solutions to meet the needs of Kenyans by enabling access (SDG10) through our technologies and partners (SDG17) and by exploring opportunities in Health (SDG3), Education (SDG4) and Energy (SDG7). We will do so by managing our operations responsibly (SDG12) and ethically (SDG16). This will stimulate growth and generate value (SDG8) for our company, society and economy.”
Projects in which the Safaricom Foundation participated to enable access to quality education included the construction and equipping of classrooms, kitchens, dining halls, latrines, libraries and science laboratories. Safaricom Foundation contributed to classroom renovations, computer and ICT equipment, autism therapy, manual skills training in electricity, assistive devices for the visually impaired and equipment for differently-abled persons, school learning materials and solar installations.
In accordance with the promise made with the signing of the Disability Charter for Change, Safaricom strived to employ and integrate more and more disabled persons into the company. They set a target of having five per cent of their workforce to comprise of differently-abled people by the end of FY21. Currently, Safaricom has 2.1 per cent of employees that are differently-abled and hopes to grow the number to 2.9 per cent in FY 20. Safaricom equally committed to eliminating stigma and discrimination; economic empowerment; and accessibility and affordability of assistive devices and technologies.
Safaricom believes empowering women-owned businesses has a significant impact on society and reducing inequalities. In FY 19, Safaricom established a mentorship programme wherein experienced Women in business (WIB) volunteer to mentor start-ups and SMEs, providing guidance and technical expertise. At the start of FY19, saw 113 active suppliers of women-owned businesses to Safaricom. Once Safaricom encouraged applications from women-owned businesses specialising in technology, the list of WIB suppliers grew to 178 by the end of FY19. This increased expenditure to WIB suppliers from KSh 1.9 billion to KSh 2.4 billion, that represents 3.2 per cent of the total amount of goods and services purchase expenditures. This has equally encouraging growth in the number of WIB in technology from 5 to 50 suppliers.
Safaricom has been tracking the progress of its integrated waste management programme (IWM). In FY 19, they partnered with a local waste management company, Takataka solutions to separate their waste for recycling. They collected 258,250 kg of recyclable/organic waste in which 97% of it was either reused, repurposed or recycled. 217 tonnes of e-waste was collected over the same period of time. Safaricom opted to reduce the size of sim cards thus reducing the number of plastics used during production by half. The whole process saw 2.52 tonnes of plastic removed from the organisation and conserving 8.64 tonnes of paper, this led to saving Ksh. 46.8 million. Environmental consciousness and waste reduction led to partnering with suppliers who are environmental compliant only.
Safaricom Foundation initiatives to improve health and well-being included access to cancer screening, medical camps and the renovation and equipment of health centres and maternity wings. With strategies to enhance maternal health and prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases. The M-PESA Foundation established a number of programmes including Uzazi Salama (“safe pregnancy”). These interventions saw immunisation figures increase from 49% of children to 60%. Furthermore, 6,000 mother-baby packs were given to women delivering at facilities in Samburu County. Safaricom Foundation also partnered with the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMI), and offered free medical services to Kenyans as part of Safaricom Twaweza (“we can”) Live, a seven-month-long programme of life-transforming community engagement across Kenya. Services offered at the medical camps included diabetes and cancer screening, dental and eye checks, family planning, voluntary HIV counselling and testing services, deworming and general check-ups. This saw about 8,905 people received treatment over the seven-month period. You can further access the 2019 Safaricom Sustainability report here.