The COVID-19-induced global crisis has clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of businesses to the negative impacts of a pandemic on people’s social lives and, consequently, the global economy. In these difficult times, ESG performance is becoming even more important for companies, as it provides a lens through which to assess the relevance of the current developments for future development.
The challenges faced by businesses today are so numerous and profound that corporations need to do more than they ever have before. MTS is well-positioned to do this, and I am in no doubt that we have a lot to offer to society. For example, when lockdown orders took effect, we immediately reviewed our pricing policy to protect vulnerable customer groups, by making sure that our subscribers can stay connected regardless of their actual financial situation.
As a telecommunications and IT business, MTS continues to use all available engagement formats to communicate our corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles to all stakeholders. The technologies we now use are bridging the divides between countries and generations. We are integrated into a global mechanism that shapes our future, and it is more important than ever for us to act together.
In summer 2019, MTS employees participated in a global survey to measure engagement with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which was conducted by Yale University in 174 countries of the world. The survey findings suggest that the issues surrounding climate change, quality education and health are currently top priorities for the public. According to an employee survey run by MTS, in addition to health and quality education, economic matters such as economic growth, as well as responsible consumption and production are also given precedence.
In promoting responsible business conduct, MTS pays particular attention to engaging and educating its partners on sustainable development and CSR, organizing practical public conferences and offering a free educational program on Sustainable Business Development.
These projects include a Russian sign language video guide to the Victory Museum on Moscow’s Poklonnaya Hill and a series of shows performed in sign language by the MTS puppet theater and shown on the Visiting a Fairytale TV channel with support from MTS Info, reaching over 6,000 hearing-impaired children across Russia.
The “MTS – A Company for Everyone” project was run in 67 regions of Russia to hire older candidates who would facilitate engagement with our older customers.
We take particular pride in our employee volunteer movement, with MTS’s offline social projects alone reaching 10 million Russian citizens in 2019. Our employee volunteers participate in environmental, educational and donor programs, as well as social events held by the Company for veterans, children in social institutions and people with disabilities. This allows them to feel that they a part of a wider team, a powerful social movement capable of addressing the issues that are important to society.