How does sustainability work at Telenor?
For Telenor it’s about being a responsible business throughout the supply chain. To make sure there’s no child labour, that safety and health are looked after and preventing the countries they work in to not have an environmental impact. “You also have issues related to how technology is used and potentially abused by governments that are over-broad with surveillance or extracting data” Tandre tells. The company works hard on mitigating the negatives and to see the wonderful opportunities they have with mobile technology to improve the quality of people’s lives.
“We got some exciting partners, such as Plan International and Unicef. They would know where the pressure points are in the countries we operate in and we can see how to apply the technology and perhaps help them address those issues” One of Telenor’s project with Unicef is based in Pakistan. The country has for a long time struggled with birth registration. With a population of 190 million people, approximately 60 per cent of the population aren’t registered. Pakistan has been doing work on addressing the situation, but it has been a troublesome path since they’ve been doing it in a traditional way. However, if you dig deep enough with technology you’ll find solutions.
“We’re trying to use technology through smart phones with an app that allows healthcare workers and marriage registration officers to do registrations out in the field. Even in a place without coverage, it’ll be sent and the data will be processed” This is important because children who aren’t registered are more vulnerable towards trafficking and child marriage, because they can’t show a document with their age on. "They were able to register 30 per cent of the population before we started to use this technology, and now with our pilot project we have moved this number up to 90 per cent of the population. It’s with good reason to think this is the right way of doing birth registrations in the future” Tandre tells.
“It’s making the system more effective and safer. It’s a way of getting money out quickly”. Seres calls it kickstarting a banking system for a non-banking country. Tandre tells the banks only saw a vast of the majority population as interesting customers, but once you have the mobile phones as the means of delivery, suddenly everybody becomes an interesting customer. “The mobile phone can help you overcome barriers because it connects you with the services you desperately rely on as a human being. The most essential things in our lives, the mobile phone can build a bridge towards” Tandre says.