Today, more than ever, business leaders are increasingly measured on the contribution they make to society. As part of our industry purpose to Intelligently Connect Everyone and Everything to a Better Future, our industry leaders are broadening their objectives to encompass the welfare of people and the planet, as well as profit, and positioning their companies to meet growing expectations from policymakers, consumers and communities.
Meet the mobile industry champions who are leading the way in responsible and sustainable business, and in turn, delivering impact for the societies and economies in which they operate. These committed leaders are inspiring joint commitment and direct action, uniting private and public sectors, and helping to improve the lives of billions of people. Together they are making a positive impact on how the mobile industry is achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Meet our Champions
CEO, Palestine Telecom Group
Palestine Telecom Group CEO and member of Paltel’s Group’s Board of Directors, Ammar Akar: “Sustainability is embedded in our business and sustainable development is the ability to meet the needs of today and the future generations through visionary leadership that manages resources and implement long-term goals. I am proud to be a part of a responsible and citizen-centric company, such as Paltel Group, that has played a critical role in enhancing sustainability by sharing information, resources, activities, and capabilities to address and achieve all 17 of the SDGs. We continue to bring together communities, passions, and technology to deliver value to the Palestinian society with ultimately making tomorrow a better place.”
Throughout Palestinian Telecom’s (Paltel) business strategy and policies, a strong emphasis is placed on humanitarian rights and creating stable and sustainable communities to create a better future for all.
Ammar Aker is the Palestine Telecom Group CEO and a member of Paltel Group’s Board of Directors. Notably, Paltel Group is the second largest employer in Palestine (after the Government). He is passionate about empowering Palestinian youth through education evidenced in a programme called the Code for Palestine launched in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 2015. Designed to utilise technology to offer young people greater educational opportunities, it offers young Palestinians the opportunity to learn code and entrepreneurial skills, with an emphasis on female and underprivileged students. The ultimate aim of the program is to create a thriving, sustainable technology sector in Palestine, and in the process boost employment and wages. This example highlights how Ammar Aker is creating a Better Future for all and is implementing responsible business leadership in alignment with the SDGs.
Mr. Aker is an active board member in many international, regional and local initiatives such as; Palestine for a New Beginning (PNB); The Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity and the Amideast Advisory Board in Palestine. He is also an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Palestine Branch and the Palestinian Businessmen Association (PBA).
CEO and President, Telenor
Telenor CEO and President Sigve Brekke: “At Telenor we believe that our services can strengthen and empower societies, and help reduce inequalities. Making sure we use the power of mobile technology in the right way means human rights considerations are part of my daily job as CEO. From helping digitalise Myanmar, to dealing responsibly with authority requests, and handling and turning big data into big insights and into social impact, responsible business and reducing inequalities is an integral part of Telenor’s business strategy.”
Connecting people, business and societies have been Telenor’s strategic priorities for more than 160 years. Telenor is committed to all UN Sustainable Development Goals but with a specific focus on goal #10 Reduced Inequalities. As CEO and President of Telenor, Sigve Brekke believes in making sure that customers are connected to what matters most in their everyday lives. For instance digital health services, delivered through mobile, providing better health solutions in both emerging and developed markets. In Asia alone, Telenor serves more than 165 million customers and aims to scale digital health services to provide a Better Future for all communities. To Sigve, sustainable services like this are more than good business. It’s about empowering societies. Telenor’s commitment to sustainability has been recognized by several, most recently in Forbes Magazine’s 2018 “Change the world” list.
Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Safaricom
Safaricom, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Stephen Chege: “Safaricom exists to transform lives; that is our purpose. We believe that if we put purpose and people first, then profits will naturally follow, supported by a sustainable business model. We strive to do this every day by innovating around our customers’ unique needs to deliver relevant products and services that are connecting people to people, to knowledge, and to opportunity. In doing so, we are confident that we can create the sustainable future we need for the shared prosperity of all.”
Safaricom believes that the role of business extends far beyond making profit, to transforming the lives of the communities we operate in. This is why the company sees mobile telecommunications and its related products and services as a unique opportunity to contribute to sustainable livelihoods for people throughout Kenya. Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Safaricom, is responsible for the co-ordination of the company’s sustainability agenda, and has been instrumental to ensuring that sustainability is integral to the day to day operations of Safaricom. To Steve, Quality education, SDG 4, is a very important goal for Kenya. Educating the youth with technology will empower them to be better citizens of the world. In fact, Safaricom, in collaboration with the Government and industry partners, is providing free connectivity to public schools so that students can have access to quality learning material, therefore reducing the inequalities (SDG 10) faced within the education system.
Director General, GSMA
GSMA Director General Mats Granyrd: “The mobile industry is having an impact on all 17 of the SDGs, across both developed and developing markets. The ability to meet the ambitious targets of the SDGs requires visionary leadership, and I am honoured to be part of an industry putting the SDGs at the very top of its agenda. Sustainability is becoming an even more critical element of our business – as well as a business opportunity – and we must continually deliver value to society and respond to the many challenges facing our world.”
Mats is a dedicated proponent of sustainability and led the mobile industry in becoming the first sector to broadly commit to the SDGs in 2016. He is now spearheading initiatives to amplify and accelerate the mobile industry’s impact on all 17 of the SDGs, across both developed and developing markets. One such initiative is the Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future, a shared ambition from the CEOs of leading Nordic enterprises to speed up the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mats is a member of the B-Team, and serves on the Broadband Commission, which is focused on leveraging ICT and broadband-based technologies for sustainable development. Within the Commission, he chairs the Working Group on Digital Gender Divide. Mats is also a Commissioner on the Business and Sustainable Business Commission, and a Member of the new United Nations Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Executive Vice-President, External Affairs, Millicom
Executive Vice-President, External Affairs, Millicom, Rachel Samrén: “At Millicom, we recognise that the success of our business goes hand-in-hand with the long-term sustainable growth of our communities… and every time we look at how we can build a better digital future for people, Responsible Leadership is what guides our decision-making.”
One of Rachel’s core passions is harnessing the power of mobile to close the gender gap. She believes that operators have a unique opportunity and a responsibility to foster social and economic development in the societies where they operate. Rachel is a Champion for a Better Future as she has taken a leadership role on GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative, which aims to reduce the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money across low- and middle-income countries In fact, Millicom has committed all of its Tigo mobile operations in Latin America and Africa to this initiative, and with more country operations than any other mobile operator, this is evidence of Millicom’s dedication to achieving gender equality.
Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group
MTN Group, Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter: “MTN is passionate about the difference we can make in our communities… We aim to leave a legacy and transform lives…it is important for the company to be responsive to its stakeholders’ needs, including working with local and national governments to address the socio-economic issues they face.”
Mobile money services have become an essential, life-changing tool across Africa; providing millions of people access to safe and secure financial services but also to energy, health, education and employment opportunities. Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO of MTN is committed to accelerating the penetration of mobile services in Africa, aiming to have 60 million active mobile financial services customers by 2020, up from 25.8-million.
A recently announced venture between Orange Group and MTN Group, “Mowali” will make it possible to send money between mobile money accounts issued by any mobile money provider, increasing the usage of mobile money by consumers and merchants.
Partnerships such as this help accelerate the pace of development and overcome the scale, scope and complexity of the key challenge’s society faces. They also ensure MTN continues to play a meaningful role in supporting the UN SDGs related to eliminating extreme poverty and enhancing socio-economic development in the markets they operate in and beyond.
Chief Executive Officer, du
du Chief Executive Officer Osman Sultan: “We have worked tirelessly to put in place a robust sustainability framework within our business; this is built on three pillars – delivering the benefits of ICT to everyone; making our people and communities happier; and operating ethically and responsibly. These pillars set the foundation for us to reaffirm our core strengths and our top priority areas, and establish new strategies for more teams and departments within our business to consider how telecoms can play a role in meeting our priority sustainable development goals.”
As the CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company’s innovative brand “du,” the UAE’s second telecom operator since 2005, and the Mobile Services (Mobinil) in Egypt from 1998 to 2005, Osman Sultan set during the course of his career several strategies translating the profound transformations that the Telecom and Technology sectors have been creating in our lives.
As an influential figure in the telecommunications sector, he is proud to have mentored close to 20 talented individuals who became CEOs of various operations across all continents. Osman Sultan is a visionary leader and a notable public speaker in this constantly evolving telecom field. His distinguished achievements ranked him as one of the most powerful executives in the telecoms industry in the world twice on “GTBPower100 List” in 2010 and 2011.
He brings 35 years of leadership, rich with achievements in the telecom business, while his vast knowledge and expertise in the field as early as the pre-internet period, place him as one of the pioneers in France, Europe, the USA, Japan and the entire MENA region.
Osman Sultan is a firm champion of developing sustainability from within the business, of creating partnerships, products and services that help meet the UAE’s ambition of being one of the most technologically advanced, socially developed and sustainable countries in the world.
He is currently focusing on establishing the right platforms to allow the emergence of the new conversations needed for the expanding ecosystems; in order to tackle the intersections between the technological, economical and societal dimensions and make way for a more technologically efficient and humanly rewarding future in the midst of all these rapid changes.
Turkcell CEO Kaan Terzioğlu: “One of the aspects that motivate me the most about being in the telecoms industry is the fact that we are capable of making a serious difference in the lives of the people that we serve and in the well-being of our planet. In our case, “Responsible Digital Leadership” takes the form of serving Syrian refugees with our connectivity and digital services, or helping disabled individuals lead more autonomous lives with our mobile apps. It means supporting entrepreneurs with crowd-funding platforms, or providing remote and flexible employment opportunities to young women that we employ as UX testers. It leads us to deploy environmentally friendly solutions internally and through our footprint, and to create sustainable solutions for our customers. More fundamentally, it motivates us to define the rules of the digital world in a way that respects privacy and accountability of the consumers within law, and empowering young generations to improve their DQ – to become fully aware and skilful citizens of the digital world.
I sincerely believe that it is a privilege to be in an industry that touches every aspect of human-focused development and environmental sustainability. We need to show the necessary leadership and rise up to the challenge, and lead all members of our organizations and of our broader ecosystems by example in order to contribute this vision. ”
Under Kaan’s leadership, Turkcell is providing connectivity in humanitarian emergencies and disaster areas. This includes services for over 1.4 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. The company’s Hello Hope app for Syrian refugees and My Dream Companion app for visually impaired individuals have received international recognition for their empowerment. Kaan is also involved with efforts to bring technology-enabled classrooms and other critical resources to refugee villages in his native Turkey. In 2017, at the Global System Mobile Association’s Mobile World Congress, the international organization of 800 mobile operators and 300 ecosystem players, Turkcell received the GSMA’s “Outstanding Contribution to Mobile Industry Award” for its work with Syrian refugees.
Prior to joining Turkcell, Kaan Terzioğlu was a board member of Turkey’s leading financial, insurance and retail companies.
The GSMA welcomes new Champions for a better future. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.