GSMA: Forty CEOs back launch of digital declaration at Davos

Declaration Unites CEOs Committed to Responsible Leadership in the Digital Era.

24 January 2019, Davos, Switzerland: The GSMA today launched the ‘Digital Declaration’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The declaration captures key principles that serve as a guide to acting ethically in the digital era, helping companies deliver what matters most to digital citizens, industry and governments. The 40 business leaders who have already committed to the declaration span several industry sectors and include representatives from: Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, IBM, KDDI, KT, LG Electronics, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, SK Telecom, Sony Corporation, STC Group, Telefónica, Turkcell, Verizon, Vodafone and Xiaomi.

The initiative has arisen against a backdrop of businesses and consumers experiencing unprecedented change in the digital world. It is expected that by 2022, 60 per cent of GDP will be digitised1. The imminent arrival of 5G networks will further accelerate this change. At the same time consumers are rightfully expecting more from digital services, while their trust in businesses is being tested.

The Digital Declaration is a cross-industry movement of CEOs confronting these shared challenges. Its principles call on businesses to; respect the privacy of digital citizens; handle personal data securely and transparently; take meaningful steps to mitigate cyber threats; and ensure everyone can participate in the digital economy as it develops whilst combatting online harassment. Taken together, these commitments will ensure the internet is kept as an open platform for expression and a driver of innovation.

“Social, technological, political and economic currents are combining to create a perfect storm of disruption across all industries,” said Mats Granryd, Director General GSMA. “A new form of responsible leadership is needed to successfully navigate this era. We are on the cusp of the 5G era, which will spark exciting new possibilities for consumers and promises to transform the shape of virtually every business. In the face of this disruption, those that embrace the principles of the Digital Declaration will strive for business success in ways that seek a better future for their consumers and societies. Those that do not change can expect to suffer increasing scrutiny from shareholders, regulators and consumers.”

“A positive and enabling digital future is integral to a truly empowered and inclusive society,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel – the first business leader to sign the Digital Declaration. “Such a future can only be built through constructive collaboration and continuous dialogue among key stakeholders. It is imperative for industry to make the required investments to build a sustainable digital ecosystem and maintain citizen’s trust through transparent and responsible conduct with regard to privacy and data.”

“Backing The Digital Declaration fits into our vision to enable a progressive, free and enlightened society,” said Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orange, and Chair of the GSMA. “Orange fights digital exclusion with innovations that are accessible to the greatest possible number of people. We secure and facilitate our customers’ digital lives thanks to our expertise in cybersecurity and in digital identity. Joining the Digital Declaration provides us with a shared vision of acting responsibly as we help our customers enter the eras of artificial intelligence and of the internet of things.”

Mobile is one of the most widely deployed technology platforms ever with more than 5 billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide, representing approximately two-thirds of the world’s population – forecast to grow to almost 6 billion (71 per cent) by 2025. Representing the mobile industry globally, the GSMA is at the heart of many of the technological innovations already shaping tomorrow’s digital society, including 5G. The industry body has worked with business leaders to shape the declaration to demonstrate the private sector’s commitment to responsible leadership at a time when policymakers are facing new challenges from the evolving digital ecosystem.

As we move into an era of Intelligent Connectivity, the combination of endless connectivity enabled through 5G and the Internet of Things, with the powerful intelligence delivered by big data and artificial intelligence will further transform entire industries. Through embracing the Digital Declaration, CEOs are showing their commitment to acting responsibly as they keep pace with this rapid rate of technology change.

The GSMA is inviting business leaders from any sector to join the Digital Declaration and ask themselves what role they can play in creating a better digital society. Further information on the Digital Declaration, including details of CEOs that have already joined can be found here.