Telenor is a global telecommunications services company headquartered in Norway, with roots tracing back to 1855. The company provides mobile, wired broadband and television services, as well as mobile financial services. Telenor has operations in nine countries in the Nordic region and Asia, and it served 182 million customers in 2020.
Telenor’s Khushaal Zamindar (Prosperous Landlord) initiative provides more than 8 million Pakistani farmers with free access to an agricultural information system offering weather reports and production techniques. The company’s Girls Create Tech Academy aims to reduce the digital gender divide in Norway by inspiring girls to challenge gender stereotypes and choose tech careers through mentoring provided by Telenor staff. Telenor follows best practices in reporting how the economic value it generates is distributed among stakeholders, disclosing income taxes paid and employment in the countries where it operates, and calculating its indirect economic impacts.
Telenor’s Bangladeshi subsidiary Grameenphone has trained around 685,000 children in Bangladesh on digital media in partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. The company’s Finnish subsidiary DNA offers training to small enterprises and entrepreneurs on digital marketing, online security and data privacy, to help them safeguard and grow their business. In Malaysia, the company’s subsidiary DiGi participates in Future Skills For All, a three-year programme that supports the Ministry of Education’s efforts to strengthen teaching and learning of computational thinking and computer science in national schools.
Telenor demonstrates strong support for open innovation through membership of standards bodies and sharing source code. The company is a leader in sharing big data for research. Telenor demonstrates support for the tech innovation ecosystem with start-up accelerators in several of the countries in which it operates. Furthermore, the company endorses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the EU’s Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI.
Telenor should report the number of people with disabilities that it employs and how the company adapts the workplace for them. It can also consider seeking a third-party assessment of its programmes that support digital opportunities for women and girls.
Telenor has opportunities to support technical digital skills development for vulnerable and underrepresented groups. The company can also consider seeking a third-party assessment for its skills development programmes.
Telenor should consider extending start-up support to social entrepreneurs and founders from underrepresented groups. It should also follow best practice and report how many of its women employees are engaged in technical roles.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Telenor commits to respecting human rights and the ILO core labour rights, and it has a publicly available policy statement that expects its business relationships to commit to respecting the ILO core labour rights. The company has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints. Furthermore, Telenor identifies and takes action to address the salient human rights issues in its own operations and in its business relationships. However, it does not publicly disclose its process for assessing its salient human rights issues. Moreover, the company describes the stakeholders it engages with in general, but it does not specify whether it engages with stakeholders whose human rights could be affected by its activities.
Telenor publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers, and it places health and safety expectations on its business relationships and monitors their performance. The company does not disclose a policy commitment stating that it does not require workers to work more than the regular and overtime hours. It also does not explicitly state that it requires its business relationships to make this commitment. Furthermore, the company provides no relevant evidence in relation to paying its workers a living wage. Telenor discloses that all of its employees in the Nordic region are covered by collective bargaining agreements, but it does not report this for its global operations. The company commits to gender equality and women’s empowerment and provides information on the number of employees per employee category by gender. However, the company has an opportunity to provide this information for more indicators of diversity.
Telenor has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with its business relationships. It also has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints on the topic. The company has a global tax strategy and discloses tax information for its main markets, but it does not disclose income tax payments for all of its individual tax jurisdictions. Furthermore, Telenor states that it does not make political contributions, but it does not disclose its overarching approach to lobbying and political engagement in a publicly available policy document.