Zain publishes 13th annual sustainability report, titled “A Pathway to Value Creation”

Zain Group announces the publication of its 13th annual sustainability report, entitled “A Pathway to Value Creation,” which reflects the company’s progress and efforts to address deficits and challenges across its footprint while providing Meaningful Connectivity that leads to equitable systemic change through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Consistently publishing the sustainability report on how the company addresses its social, economic, environmental, and human rights related impacts demonstrates how the company continues to execute on its five-year, 2025 corporate sustainability strategy aiming to deliver meaningful and sustainable value across Zain’s operating companies and beyond.

The four pillars of the sustainability strategy – namely Climate Change; Operating Responsibly; Inclusion; and Generation Youth; embrace and emphasize the material importance to Zain of addressing issues related to preserving the planet and safeguard it for future generations; access to connectivity and reducing the digital literacy gap; displacement; as well as employee development and social well-being, given the rise in geo-political issues regionally.

Commenting on the publication of the 13th sustainability report, Zain Group Chief Sustainability Officer, Jennifer Sulieman said, “Zain is deeply embedded in the region, as the region’s successes and challenges are our successes and challenges. Everyday Zain works diligently to push the envelope towards digitalization and expand access to Meaningful Connectivity, aiming to uplift the livelihoods of our people and the communities we serve and beyond.

Suleiman continued, “The state of civil unrest across the globe brings home the importance of the need for equitable systemic change in order for larger proportions of populations to enjoy higher standards of living and human dignity. Zain is proactively embedding its shared values into its DNA to drive our business, sustainability, and inclusion agenda, while enriching our organizational purpose. We hope this latest report will aid in inspiring the roles other organizations can all play in uplifting living conditions, and on our part, it reflects our unwavering support and investment in the socio-economic development of our markets.

In 2023, Zain continued to place a high priority on enhancing the skills of its employees in line with the company’s 4Sight corporate strategy. The Zain Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion University (DEIU) was established in collaboration with the highly rated IE University in Spain, providing learning opportunities in Digital Transformation to 2,000 Zain employees.

In the extremely pertinent area of Climate Change, Zain followed through on initiatives to decarbonize the business and transition by re-affirming its commitment to setting emissions targets that are in line with the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) guidance to halve carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050.This commitment helped Zain successfully maintain its A- score with Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Moreover, Zain instigated the development of a water management plan to the unique conditions of each country operation in order to integrate water conservation practices per market.

In terms of Operating Responsibly, Zain reinforced Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles across its value chain, further scaling its supplier training program, and managing its Supplier Self- Assessment Questionnaire process to validate suppliers’ commitment and alignment to its sustainability policies and ethical principles. 441 suppliers Group-wide responded to the questionnaire, which is 23% of Zain’s total active suppliers.

Under its Inclusion pillar, Zain continued to look to reduce the digital inequality gap, and in Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, for example, the third cycle of Women in Tech was launched. Annually, the program evolves to better address the needs of the target community through focus groups, surveys, and feedback sessions. A total of 408 young women joined the program across the Group in 2023, showcasing a 6% increase over the previous year.

To better serve its customers from the disability segment, Zain provided bundles for this demographic across its markets as well as providing mobile phone subscriptions in sign language.

Sulieman concluded, “Humanity is going through challenging times and now more than ever it is important that Zain remains firm to its conviction to provide meaningful connectivity as one of the fundamental tenants of human rights. Zain employs tens of thousands of people directly and indirectly, and services over 50 million customers, and what we do as an organization is important as the impact we have on societies is substantial. As a leading regional digital services provider, it is our duty to stay true to our core values and build resilient societies with tools and mechanisms to allow never-ending prosperity.”

Zain’s Generation Youth sustainability pillar worked to build resilience across the company’s communities in 2023, by targeting 16 million children and youth with its various initiatives. The company scored 8.4/10 in the Children’s Right and Business 2023 Global Benchmark, being ranked fifth in the Telecom sector and 21st company across all sectors. Zain Group reached Leader position against a sector average of 5.8/10 and a regional average of 3.4/10.

Of note, Zain is part of the revitalized GSMA Mobile Alliance against Digital Child Sexual Exploitation, and during 2023, worked towards implementing its three-year MoU with Child Helpline International (CHI) to facilitate child helplines across its footprint.

The latest sustainability report is supported by numerous industry standards, including being aligned to the AA1000 Accountability Principles (AA1000AP) 2018; the Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) standards; the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), where it follows the ‘Telecommunications Sustainability Accounting’ standard; Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights Reporting Framework, as well as Global Compact (UNGC) principles; ESG Reporting Guide published by Boursa Kuwait; and for the first time, the GSMA ESG Metrics for Mobile guidelines.

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