Zain Group, the leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces the publication of its eighth annual sustainability report, entitled Time to Act, which stands as a call-to-action to address key global challenges.
The report for 2018 expresses Zain’s view that urgent action is required to address pressing issues that include tackling climate change; developing inclusive products and services; investing in building up communities, and addressing the ills of child abuse. Zain is taking major strides in its own right to address these deficiencies, and for example operates a rigorous program to assess the environmental impact of its core business activities while setting targets to reduce its carbon footprint, minimize the waste it produces, and promote greater environmental awareness.
The company has launched a Group-wide campaign on the threat of climate change, which has been communicated across its social media channels with images showcasing the negative impact of these developments such as the rise in sea level and pollution.
With respect to inclusive products and services, the report reflects on how Zain’s strategy is centered on providing digital services to businesses and consumers to create long-term positive value for all stakeholders. Key initiatives in 2018 include progress in the areas of smart cities; micro-insurance products; e-health; e-learning; and digital banking services. By investing in the digital landscape, Zain can unlock opportunities and enable positive social outcomes through services such as Zain Life in Kuwait; and AlTibbi and Salamtak microinsurance programs that target low-income and vulnerable segments.
Commenting on the release of the 2018 sustainability report, Zain Group Vice-Chairman and CEO, Bader Al-Kharafi said, “Our reports go beyond being an academic or philosophical exercise, and within them, we identify real problems that are afflicting the world and offering up real solutions on how to go about making in-roads into overcoming them. Time to Act means exactly what the title suggests, and it is important for a company with the brand and reputation as Zain to lead from the front and not only point out problems but suggest and implement lasting solutions. We are proud to carry this responsibility and shall continue to make our presence felt in a positive way across our footprint.”
The communities that Zain serves represent the heart of its operations and the sustainability report chronicles some of the activities the company is undertaking to foster significant and long-term value across its footprint. The company is addressing youth unemployment, which continues to be a critical challenge in the MENA region. With the rapid evolution of technology, young people are having to create new career paths and gain skills required to adapt to the global digital economy.
In 2018, Zain Youth (ZY) was launched, which is a youth empowerment platform that aims to capture, measure, and develop youth with necessary skills while providing them access to resources to help them grow and prosper in a rapidly changing environment. At a Group level, Zain set out stringent key performance indicators for the platform to evaluate the success and impact of the initiatives and programs.
Youth-oriented programs instituted by Zain include Zain Bahrain Technology Summer Camp; Zain Kuwait’s partnership with Makers Academy and the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs to offer a coding workshop for teens; Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) in Kuwait and Jordan; Zain Iraq’s training workshop for entrepreneurs called ZY waves; and Zain Sudan’s sponsorship of Global Entrepreneurship Week in Khartoum.
Zain Group’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Jennifer Suleiman commented, “In our eight years of publishing our sustainability reports, this latest one is arguably the most direct when it comes to identifying issues, and calling for actionable solutions to helping solve them. At the heart of what we are doing and saying as an organization is the belief that people have a right to live with dignity, and we believe this is an achievable ambition. We are convinced that the rise of modern technology embodied in the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the power and the reach to drastically improve people’s quality of life, and as a digital lifestyle provider we are on the frontline of this ongoing effort.”
The 2018 sustainability report also addresses issues related to the tragic problem of child abuse, with Zain having assessed that access to broadband and ICT is a tool for empowerment but also a source of threats for vulnerable groups including women and children.
The company believes that it must remain vigilant regarding this issue and established a working group titled Child Safety and Empowerment Online at the ITU/UNSECO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, which it is co-chairing with Childhood USA. The working group is focused on how broadband (ICT) can contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16.2, “to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children by 2030”.
The report is aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles adhering to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards reporting guidelines. In accordance with Zain’s sustainability agenda, the 2018 sustainability report is available only in digital format and can be downloaded for free by clicking here.