Mood Booster: 10 Ways the Mobile Industry is Supporting Sustainable Development

Mood Booster: 10 Ways the Mobile Industry is Supporting Sustainable Development
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Image: Vodacom SA

If your newsfeed is anything like ours, you’re scrolling through a lot of anxiety-inducing content these days. While staying informed is imperative during a health crisis, we wanted to take a quick break from COVID content and shine a light on the progress being made in the world.

So here’s a list we hope will boost your mood: we’ve rounded up our top 10 favorite stats showing how the telecoms industry is supporting sustainable development and positive change worldwide.

The gold standard for global development are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the uninitiated, the SDGs were designed in 2015 as ambitious milestones to build a “blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet,” and have been focal points for action on public policy, commercial sustainability, and international development looking towards 2030.

According to the GSMA’s 2016 Mobile Industry Impact Report, telecoms are most impactful in driving 4 of the 17 SDGs:

  • SDG 1: No Poverty
  • SDG 4: Quality Education
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13: Climate Action

Telecoms help global communities generate economic opportunity, facilitate access the information necessary for a comprehensive education, build the infrastructure required for a digital economy, and take dramatic steps towards a climate-neutral future.

The GSMA report stresses that telcos have a key role to play in expanding access to information and services to the entire global populace, and that the impact of this contribution will continue to expand as innovation like 5G and the IoT become mainstream:

“The role of the industry over the last two decades has moved from serving the few with an additional communications device to providing the infrastructure and services that are at the heart of the work and lives of the majority of the world’s population” Source: GSMA

At Brigr we’re proud of the work we do helping enable telcos connect mobile users who otherwise would not have been able to use the services like banking and transport apps that power their daily lives. So without further ado here are our 10 bits of telecom positivity for your reading pleasure:

10 Ways Telcos Are Advancing the UN SDGs

  1. The mobile industry generated $4.1 trillion, or 4.7%, of global GDP in 2019, indirectly employing over 30 million people
  1. Ericsson has trained over 13,000 underprivileged youths in skills like English proficiency and computer literacy through its Connect to Learn digital education initiative in India, and has placed 5,500 of them in jobs in the retail and service sectors
  1. In 2019, and beyond “1.4 billion mobile subscribers use their phone to improve their education or that of their children – an increase of 140 million users since 2017”
  1. Over 1 billion people had registered mobile money accounts by the end of 2019, helping reduce the financial exclusion gap in low- and middle-income countries
  1. Vodafone has enabled 185,000 women in Kenya to switch occupations from subsistence farming to business or sales using mobile money services through M-Pesa
  1. Over 40 million people have taken AT&T’s It Can Wait pledge to drive distraction-free by not using their phone in the car, contributing to SDG target 3.6 of halving the number of road accidents by 2020
  1. In the US’s first green bond offering from a telco, Verizon raised $1 billion in February 2019 for renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, sustainable water management and biodiversity and conservation
  1. Through the Net Positive Project, “AT&T enabled greenhouse gas savings equivalent to approximately double the carbon footprint of its operations” in 2018
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  1. In Uganda, DIAL Data for Development (D4D), Dalberg Data Insights (DDI), FAO Uganda, and a leading telco are collaborating to develop an interactive dashboard to predict food availability and detect early signs of food insecurity
  1. Finally, in the age of COVID-19, mobile operators are actively working to ensure network stability, disseminate vital information and coordinate vital services, help with financial hardship, help professionals work from home, and leverage the power of big data to monitor and contain disease outbreaks.

Check out all the linked resources for more details and opportunities to get involved in these vitally important initiatives. We’re privileged to live in a digital age where connection and progress are unstopped by disease, and we largely have the telecoms industry to thank.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy April and beyond!

For more about what we do at Brigr, check out our website or our blog. We would love to hear from you!