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Director ESG & Philanthropy
Avaya believes that we have a responsibility to help create better experiences not only for our customers, but also for our employees and the global community. To that end, we have developed our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy to align with the priorities of our employees and stakeholders.
We started by assessing environmental, social, and governance topics, taking into account recent political, economic, and cultural shifts that alter the way people live and work. After evaluating a range of topics, we created a survey that we distributed to employees, customers, distributors, suppliers, and partners, asking them to rank the importance of topics.
Source: Avaya 2021Corporate Responsibility Report, page 9
We found that governance issues were the highest priority to both our employees and our stakeholders, followed closely by several environmental and social issues. With this in mind, we developed an ESG strategy that focuses on doing the right thing for all our stakeholders. Learn more in our 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries — developed and developing — in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth — all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
The hope is that global attention to these goals will once again provide the investment and development needed to make the world a better place.
Our activities most closely align with six of these goals. Let’s take a closer look:
SDG 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education. Education liberates the intellect, unlocks the imagination, and opens a world of opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic deepened a global learning crisis. In 2020, 46% of children in grades 1 through 8 were below minimum reading proficiency levels. In less developed countries, 33% of schools lack electricity and 40% lack handwashing facilities.
Learning benefits every human being and should be available to all. SDG 4 aims to achieve universal literacy and numeracy, free and equitable primary and secondary education, and an increased supply of qualified teachers.
Avaya contributes to this goal through our employee learning and development programs, and through our community partnerships. Through our India Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program and our partnership with Save the Children, we are enhancing the quality of education, utilizing technology to improve access to education, and supporting the construction of classrooms and associated infrastructure. Through these programs, we have enhanced education in India, Mozambique, Uganda, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.
SDG 5 aims to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, and ensure women’s full participation in leadership and decision-making.
At Avaya, inclusion is a Cultural Principle, one of the guiding values we live by, and we are committed to providing a work environment in which every employee feels respected and included in decisions, opportunities, and challenges. Our CEO is chairing our new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Advisory Council, which is setting our strategy and providing guidance, advocacy, and support. Look for more on this in an upcoming blog.
SDG 8 aims to support job creation; protect labor rights; end modern slavery, trafficking and child labor; and promote youth employment, education, and training.
Avaya strives to create a work environment where our workforce is agile and able to meet the needs of our customers and partners, while ensuring the employee experience is best in class. Avaya is committed to preventing the use of child labor, slavery, and human trafficking in our business operations and supply chain. The health and safety of our workforce is a top priority. We provide a safe and healthy work environment and respect the health and well-being of our workforce.
SDG 9 aims to develop reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure; promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization; and significantly increase access to information and communications technology. One specific target of SDG 9 is to provide universal and affordable access to the internet, globally, bringing the information age to everyone.
Our business model supports increased access to information and communications technology. Avaya provides affordable, reliable collaboration and communications technologies to customers in over 190 countries, including to those in lower income regions to support their economic development.
SDG 12 aims to achieve sustainable use of natural resources. Our planet has provided us with an abundance of natural resources. But we have not utilized them responsibly and currently consume far beyond what our planet can sustain. One million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, and five trillion single-use plastic bags are thrown away each year. Only 23% of electronic waste is recycled.
We must learn how to use and produce in sustainable ways. SDG 12 aims to achieve sustainable use of natural resources, halve food waste, and reduce waste generation.
Avaya complies with applicable regulations and partners with approved compliance organizations to ensure our collection and recycling obligations are met.
SDG 13 aims to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related disasters, raise awareness on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and implement corporate and national commitments to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is a real and undeniable threat, and its effects are already visible. The global average temperature is 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and the world is not on track to stay at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as called for by the Paris Agreement, an international pact signed by almost every country on the planet. Through education, innovation, and adherence to our climate commitments, we can make the necessary changes to protect the planet.
In March 2022, Avaya committed to setting company-wide emissions reduction targets in line with climate science. We submitted our near-term targets for review by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and began the validation assessment process in September 2022.
In the near future, we’ll share more about our ESG initiatives, including our efforts to drive our DEIB strategy. We take being a responsible corporate citizen very seriously and our activities are contributing to solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges. For these and many more reasons, I am proud to be an Avayan! Please read the full 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report.