Bharti Airtel strongly believes that power of communication can bring in multi-dimensional transformations, ensuring smooth functioning of life and businesses, and helping society to become sustainable and inclusive. Hence, Airtel devoted its core competence, technological solutions and innovations to “enriching lives” by catering to the emerging needs of millions in countries like Asia and Africa.
Back in year 2011, Airtel made social inclusion as the cornerstone of our sustainability programme to ensure that more and more people get included in the benefits of a sustainable and enriched life. Today, a comprehensive and structured ‘Sustainability Plan’ is in place that defines our corporate citizenship and how we aspire to act in the world. It is our endeavor to use our business for the larger good, and catalyze change in the community so that everyone we touch can endure and thrive.
As the stakeholders have played a crucial role in its sustained success over the years, Airtel’s sustainability approach has been carefully developed through systematic engagement with stakeholders worldwide. The Company continuously strives to provide long-term sustainable value to all our stakeholders including investors, customers, employees, business partners and suppliers, Government and regulators and communities. This is performed through systematic stakeholder dialogue to gauge their expectations, share information and sustainability priorities, practices and performance and explore avenues of partnerships to achieve the goals.
The following chart sums up our stakeholder expectations:
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- Faster financial Inclusion
- Invest in green IT
- Reduce fuel consumption
- Continue the rural drive towards social inclusion
- Enhance network capability
- Stimulate digital inclusion
- Focus on alternate source of energy
- Adopt green technologies
- Contribute to healthcare, education, financial services and agriculture
- Reduce fuel consumption
- quantify long term social development initiative
- Focus on network quality and expanding
- Enable social and digital inclusion via community participation
- Maintain affordability for larger section of the society
- Contribute toward quality education
- Energy and Climate change
- Assess impact on communities
- Stimulate employee engagement
- Digital inclusion
- Effective customer service
- Energy and waste management
- Increase focus on financial inclusion
- Contribute and take mobile health and education to a new level
- Compliance to radiation norms and green telecom
- Increase network coverage
- Improve customer services
- Entertainment and value added services
The four material issues that Airtel focuses on emerged basis those that were most important to stakeholders, best aligned with the business and on which Airtel operations had significant impact. In order to address these issues through its governance structure, Airtel has formulated policies and management approaches around each issue. Every material issue is governed by a member of the company's Management Board.
Airtel’s sustainability strategy is focused on its most significant or ‘material’ issues. Several hours of discussions and analysis enabled us to give a clear insight to the stakeholder’s expectations. These expectations were then mapped with our business priorities, which resulted in the following materiality matrix:
Airtel ensures compliance to the highest standards of corporate governance through numerous policies, guidelines and standards.
The company adheres to the highest levels of ethical and transparent business practices as articulated by the "Bharti Code of Conduct" which covers ethics, bribery, corruption and human rights. This embraces all employees, suppliers and contractors, service providers, channel partners and their employees.
Airtel also has the Ombudsperson and Consequence Management policies for identifying unethical conduct or the breach of the Bharti Code of Conduct. The Consequence Management Policy prescribes action in cases of violations of the Code of Conduct, or of company policies and guidelines. Employees have to annually reaffirm their compliance to the code of conduct, and this compliance is strictly monitored.
Other Airtel policies have evolved in order to effectively engage with the community to maximize positive impact, e.g. the CSR policy, the Employee Philanthropy Policy etc. To ensure the health and safety of the community at large, Airtel also ensures that it is aligned with national and international guidelines on EMF.
Airtel believes that risk management and internal control are fundamental to effective corporate governance and the development of a sustainable business. It has a robust process to identify key risks across the group and prioritize relevant action plans that can mitigate these risks.
The Airtel brand essence of enriching lives embeds sustainability into its mainstream business agenda. A robust system of governance is in place and stakeholders help derive material issues to work towards. Compliance is ensured through numerous policies, guidelines and standards. These are the foundation on which the Airtel sustainability and governance agenda is built.
The Board of Directors (‘the Board’) represents the core of our Corporate Governance practices and oversees how the management serves in the best interests of our widening fraternity of stakeholders across the world. The CSR Committee of the Board reviews the Company’s Business Responsibility performance twice a year. The Committee supervises and supports the Company’s corporate social responsibilities and share growth management activities.
The CSR committee is supported by the Airtel Management Board (AMB) lead by the CEO who is also a member of the CSR Committee. AMB oversees the performance and provides a strategic approach to the Company’s Sustainability & CSR initiatives. The AMB is supported by a cross-functional Core Sustainability Group, whose role is to put the sustainability framework in motion by driving implementation of strategy and policy across Airtel. This group comprises of nominees from across all functions and is led by a dedicated Sustainability Officer