Jan Kristensen Published Date: 2018-03-08,

GeSI has dedicated its member organization to see how the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges can also be looked upon as business opportunities for the ICT industry. These global challenges are often very complex and inter-related – and one ICT solution for the social area could lead to a positive impact also for the environmental area. Here is one example from Telenor Group: Project Drawdown.

It has been a huge surprise for me personally: the number one solution to global warming, in terms of potential impact, is a combination of educating girls and family planning. Together the two focus areas can reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by 2050 — more than either all the wind power or solar energy solutions.

Project Drawdown is a climate change mitigation project initiated by the American environmentalist Paul Hawken. Central to the project has been the compilation of a list of the “100 most substantive solutions to global warming.” The list, encompassing only technologically viable, existing solutions, was compiled by a team of over 200 scholars, scientists, policymakers, business leaders, and activists; for each solution, the carbon impact through the year 2050, the total and net cost to society, and the total lifetime savings were measured and modelled.

On Project Drawdown’s top ten list for solutions with the greatest carbon impact you will find renewable energy solutions like wind turbines (9% of the total impact potential) and solar farms/rooftops (6% of total potential), food-related solutions like reduced food-waste/plant-rich-diets (7% of the total potential) and gender gap-reducing solutions such as educating girls/family planning (11% of the total impact potential).

Project Drawdown states that gender gap solutions focusing on securing women’s rights to voluntary, high-quality family planning around the world would have powerful positive impacts on the health, welfare, and life expectancy of both women and their children. It also is one of the most powerful levers available for avoiding climate gas emissions by curbing population growth. Educated girls also realize higher wages and greater upward mobility, contributing to economic growth.

So how does this relate to Telenor Group?

Responsible business and sustainability is an integral part of Telenor's business strategy. It is about how we do business.  We are committed to all UN Sustainable Development Goals, but with a specific focus on goal #10, Reduced Inequalities. Our purpose is to empower societies. Telenor wants to help unlock the benefits of the digital revolution and demonstrate how more can be achieved with connectivity. We have made access to financial services more available and affordable. Our internet services have opened possibilities to interact, learn, participate, and grow both socially and economically. More women are using these services than ever before.

How can mobile technology play a vital part in reducing gender inequalities? Here’s how Telenor works with partners to provide official identities for Pakistan’s ‘invisible’ children.

Telenor’s mobile birth registration initiative in Pakistan

There are approximately 1.1 billion people across the globe who are invisible: they were not registered at birth and lack an official form of identification. Of the 366 million children unregistered globally, around 60 million are estimated to live in Pakistan. The problem of low birth registration rates in Pakistan is due to a combination of social and economic factors. In many areas, registering a birth can be difficult, in some cases nearly impossible – especially for children born at home, in remote locations, or in displacement. The ability to prove one’s identity is crucial to social, political and economic inclusion and enables greater access to basic services such as healthcare and education.

Our efforts to register the births of thousands of invisible children are ongoing in Pakistan and will soon commence in other Asian markets. We have set targets for this work: by 2020, we will facilitate access to identity for 7 million children.  You can read more about this on our website.

Telenor believes that widespread and affordable access to digital services will be a game-changer for millions of women and girls. And thereby - according to Project Drawdown – we also are supporting the number one climate solution!

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