During the year we continued to strengthen governance of sponsorships and donations. All sponsorships and donations shall be evaluated, approved and conducted in an ethical manner, including partner due diligence. They should also clearly support both our brands and business objectives, and contribute to social value creation through alignment with the All In strategy.
A total of SEK 41 million was reported spent on non-commercial sponsorships and donations. The activities are normally chosen by TeliaSonera’s local companies that best understand the local context, expectations and needs. In many cases, activities were approved by either region or group functions, ensuring that their rationale was aligned with the sponsorship and donation policy and that proper due diligence was carried out.
Activities in 2015
Some activities carried out in 2015 were:
- Omnitel in Lithuania sponsored and partnered with a number of organizations and authorities to teach children at summer camps about mobile internet safety in a child-friendly way. During this first year of involvement, 750 children aged ten to twelve participated in ten events.
- Sonera in Finland continued to support the digital learning concept “Me & MyCity” (www.yrityskyla.fi), which helps sixth-graders learn how society works.
- During the year Ucell in Uzbekistan worked together with representatives from the national Children’s Sports Development Fund to ensure transparent use of donated funds to construct parts of a sports complex serving school children in the Fergana region.
Cotton harvest in Uzbekistan
We have previously stated that Ucell’s involuntary support to Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest, which is not linked in any way to our business, is problematic and undesirable.
During the year, we have had an extensive dialog with many stakeholders, including NGOs and relevant parts of the UN system, the ILO, the World Bank, the European Union and representatives of the Uzbek administration. We officially made our statement clear that in view of our sustainability policies, TeliaSonera is not in a position to support directly or indirectly the cotton harvest, and that the company’s ambition is to concentrate its contribution to the economic development of Uzbekistan by focusing on developing information communication and technologies.
During this year’s harvest season Ucell received a few requests for participation isolated to a few regions. Referring to the official statement of non-participation these requests were turned down. At the end of the harvest season it was confirmed that Ucell had not supported, directly or indirectly, the harvest efforts.
Support to rebuild Nepal
In April and May, Nepal was struck by two large earthquakes causing nearly 9,000 deaths, injured close to 22,000 people, and displaced several million people.
Working telecommunications networks are vital to coordinate disaster relief. According to the UN World Food Programme which coordinates emergency telecommunications, Ncell and the other operators were highly proactive and cooperative in supporting the relief efforts.
TeliaSonera and Ncell responded to the disaster by committing to short and long-term support:
- A donation of USD 1 million to the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund was made, accompanied by a letter clearly stating our expectations of transparency on how the funds are used. Dialog on how the money is being utilized is ongoing.
- Ncell pledged approximately USD 10 million to help rebuild and develop the most affected regions over several years. The ambition is to develop renewable energy powered community buildings. By also extending the network and providing connectivity in these communities, it further supports inclusive digitalization.
- Research foundation Flowminder (www.flowminder.org) uses anonymized user data from Ncell’s mobile network to analyze the displacement of people. Their reports are used in UN situation reports to facilitate relief efforts and have attracted significant interest from the aid community.