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#0412: Sustainability in Telenor

Gjest: Ola Jo Tandre

Head of Social Responsibility

Telenor Group

Med Vert Silvija Seres

In this episode of #LØRN, Silvija talks to Head of Social Responsibility in Telenor Group, Ola Jo Tandre, about sustainability, diversity and tech. Technology can help the most vulnerable of us and give opportunities for a better life. Ola Jo Tandre from Telenor thinks our mobile phones is the best instrument to do exactly so. Ola has been the Head of Communications and Telenor Youth Forum guru since its inception in 2013. In this dialogue, he talks about exciting partners, such as Plan International and sights the birth registration project Telenor has with Unicef in Pakistan to help us understand further.

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.

Dette LØRNER du:

Sustainability Technology Diversity Recruitment
Reports show that mobile technology can help achieve all 17 sustainability goals.

Ola Jo Tandre

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Dette er Telenor Group

Telenor Asa is a Norwegian majority state-owned multinational telecommunications company and is one of the world's largest mobile telecommunications companies with operations worldwide, but focused in Scandinavia and Asia. They have extensive broadband and TV distribution operations in four Nordic countries, and a 10-year-old research and business line for Machine-to-Machine technology. Telenor owns networks in 9 countries and is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and had a market capitalisation in November 2015 of kr 225 billion, making it the third largest company listed on the OSE.


The mobile phone and the mobile technology can positively influence every one of those 17 sustainability goals that the government has. But we know, for every new solution made, there will be new problems. Find one or two examples in the mobile industry where we both have technology that are solving one problem and at the same time are making a new one.