Sustainability and MTN’s business context
Like any other business, our operating context is shaped by global and local issues
in business and society, our socio-economic landscape and environmental pressures
and commercial opportunities.
As an information and telecommunications company operating in developing economies
across Africa and the Middle East, we continue to learn from the experiences of
our peers globally. In many cases, we set the trend, given the unique opportunities
and challenges we face in the markets in which we do business.
The social and economic landscape in which MTN operates continues to develop at
a rapid pace. A Cisco Networks study predicts that the mobile network will break
the electricity barrier in more than four major regions by 2015.
In sub-Saharan Africa alone, more people will have more mobile network access than
access to domestic electricity.
MTN operates under licence from regulatory authorities. Pressure to keep communication
prices down while continuing to invest in new infrastructure is an on-going feature
of business for all network operators.
Globally and within MTN’s markets, the Arab Spring and social and political developments
in a number of MTN’s markets indicate the changing perspective on freedom of expression
and the right to communication and access to information including the internet.
Governments in both developing and developed countries are placing further curbs
on information privacy and security.
Increasing guidelines, laws and requirements around energy use, greenhouse gas emissions,
water and the impact of environments on society, especially poor and vulnerable
communities with little economic resource to cope with the consequences of climate
change, pose complex challenges and require integrated partnerships.
Most businesses report that being sustainable ‘is a journey, not a destination’.
This means that ultimately the business that prioritises the top sustainability
issues is able to address, sets about implementing solutions to these matters as
part of its growth, and then moves on to the next set of sustainability opportunities,
risks or challenges. This is again due to the large number and complex nature of
issues any business must address.
We see an opportunity to continue doing business in a way that makes a meaningful
economic, environmental and social difference in the markets in which we operate.
MTN Group is no different. For a few years now, we have worked towards making sustainability
part of our core business activities. Using the Forum for the Future’s
Five Capitals Model, we determined what the most important impacts, risks
and opportunities are to MTN. We establish what this may mean to our stakeholders
if we implement solutions to challenges such as energy and climate, e-waste, invest
in schools and universities which help develop human capital, close the digital
divide, innovate and develop enterprises in a socially responsible manner.
Our position as an ICT service provider in developing economies shapes our sustainability
strategy. We know first hand the particular economic, social and environmental challenges
and opportunities in emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East.
For MTN Group, sustainability is about the way we conduct our core business. We
work to integrate economic, environmental and social issues into our product development,
how we run our network and how we manage the different needs of our people, customers,
investors and the communities in which we operate. Through this commitment, we aim
to protect and create value for our stakeholders.
Why MTN cares about sustainability:
We operate in some of the environmentally and economically vulnerable countries
in the world, and our customers are drawn from these markets.
Affordable and widespread access to telecommunication and information services is
a catalyst to socio-economic development.
Consumers, communities and governments expect businesses to operate in a way that
reduces harm and negative impacts and helps build socially, economically and environmentally
We know that integrating sustainability and core business activities can help save
costs over the short and longer term and help us earn revenue from new applications
of ICT services.
MTN’s sustainability priorities:
Energy cost, carbon and climate management across networks
Integrated ICT to help other businesses, customers and communities manage environmental
and socio-economic issues
To support our sustainability vision of protecting and creating economic value for
MTN through responsible environmental and social practices, we have linked our sustainability
initiatives to four Group-wide goals. These are set out in the Group's
MTN 2011 integrated Business report (3.26 MB)
We spent time assessing what our main environmental, social and sustainability economic
issues are, what poses the greatest threats and opportunities to our business and
what we are most able to influence positively through our actions. We ultimately
narrowed our sustainability focus down to three big goals and are now working to
implement solutions that can address these.
The sustainability projects that we implement are all designed to support at least
one of MTN’s high-level goals of focusing on ICT convergence, costs, market leadership
and the customer experience. Our sustainability goals are complemented by high-level
key performance indicators, and in 2012, stricter, quantifiable and time-bound targets
will be set for our energy and e-waste projects.