With 5.3 million customers, Vodafone plays an important role in society. We are aware of this role and are constantly looking for opportunities to make a relevant contribution. This usually fits in with our commercial objectives, but that is not always the case. We also invest in projects that do not directly yield a financial profit. These are projects that we believe to be important as they make a contribution to society and, at the same time, to our reputation. Alternatively, they may create scope for innovation.
mHealth, for instance, is an important topic for the Vodafone Foundation. We want to stimulate innovations for the healthcare sector that are made possible through the use of mobile technology. Take, for example, mobile applications in the healthcare sector that enable doctors to monitor patients remotely.
Or our projects for people who are not able to make use of our products and services as a matter of course - people with a hearing and/or visual impairment, for example. This is a relatively small group of people and therefore, from a commercial viewpoint, a less interesting target group. For them, however, communication is hugely important. That is why we believe it is important for these groups to be able to make use of the advantages offered by mobile communication.
Innovations in the healthcare sector and accessible communication are therefore two social issues in relation to which we believe that Vodafone can play an important innovating role thanks to the expertise and technology that we have at our disposal. The fact that the projects are so closely aligned with our core business means that we are able to make a greater impact. As a result, the benefits are also greater in terms of employee satisfaction and our reputation. There is no direct financial benefit to us immediately, although it is possible that there will be in the long term, and we see this as an opportunity to increase the longevity of the projects that we have set up. That means that we also view the Vodafone Foundation as an incubator for new developments. Our focus on these areas does also mean that there are certain social issues that we are not tackling. We believe, however, that it is better for us to focus on an issue where we can achieve maximum impact rather than supporting initiatives here and there.
Ten years of the Vodafone Foundation
The Vodafone Netherlands Foundation was set up ten years ago. It forms part of a network of 27 Vodafone Foundations across the world. The aim of these foundations is to make a contribution towards social innovations and, in doing so, to improve people's lives using mobile technology. In the Netherlands we focus specifically on the health and well-being of people. Our programme is therefore called 'Mobiles for Good'. In addition, we give our employees the opportunity to work as volunteers for social projects.
I consider Vodafone to be one of the real leaders when it comes to corporate social involvement. Their investment in society is an extension of their products, services, expertise and innovativeness. In this way they create the best possible CSI business case for themselves and achieve the maximum impact in society. I hope that many other companies will follow their good example.
Eerde de Swart, Senior CSI Project Manager, MVO Nederland
- Over the past financial year the Vodafone Foundation invested EUR 860,394 in social projects
- 1,703 voluntary hours worked by Vodafone employees
- Every employee is entitled to spend one day a year of his or her working hours doing voluntary work
- 1.2 FTEs work for the Foundation
- 5 paid jobs made possible at: ZoBeter, Hoogstraat, Enviu, dance4life, Plan, SOS Kinderdorpen, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cordaid and JINC
- 27 Vodafone Foundations are active worldwide