Corporate Social Responsibility Report – TELUS
TELUS is a Vancouver-based telecommunications company that offers a wide range of telecommunication products and services such as Internet access, home entertainment, phone service, and IPTV service across Canada. Being one of Canada’s biggest telecommunications companies with millions of customers, TELUS runs a corporation ownership style in which its operations run distinctly from its owner in legal terms. This organization structure is necessarily efficient with multiple sub-companies and departments handling specific tasks. This gives TELUS a great competitive edge over smaller competitors due to economies of scale.
Being among the leading companies in the industry, Telus is known for its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility by having several initiatives and continuous reinvestments that benefit its employees and local communities. More importantly, Telus’ core operation has undertaken many key societal and business issues which create significant positive impacts on their public image and reputation. In their published code of ethics and conduct, TELUS outlines the importance of making ethical decisions for all levels of their business structures, from frontline employees at retail stores to corporation leaderships. They also state that the company is strictly committed to only collaborate with suppliers who share similar CSR vision and values.
TELUS incorporates a CSR perspective within their organizational culture and strategic planning processes. The company is committed to ensuring that they provide support for the communities in which they carry out their operations while pursuing the profitability of their business, thus being global leaders in Social Capitalism (Telus, 2020). As signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, TELUS reports progress on “human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption practices, which demonstrates their responsibility to the communities in which they live, work and serve” (TELUS, 2020). TELUS does this by investing in sustainability and through its for good programs i.e., Mobility for Good, Internet for Good, and Health for Good (Silcoff & Posadzki 2020). During the recent COVID- 19 crisis, TELUS has been instrumental in providing a quick response by committing $150 million to support Canadians during these unprecedented times (Inc T., 2020). TELUS has set up a Medical Advisory Council with specialists in pandemic leadership, public health, mental health, primary care, occupational health, infectious diseases, digital health, and health economics, to help guide their response to the pandemic (Inc T., 2020). TELUS business strategy and culture are grounded in the premise that doing well in business is not only dependent on providing their customers unmatched speed, reliability, and coverage of world-class broadband networks but also doing good for the community (Telus,2020). Putting customers and communities first has earned TELUS unparalleled client loyalty and has led to their outstanding industry-leading results.
TELUS aligns deeply and broadly its business strategies with social initiatives as a tactical development approach that could be beneficial for both business and social responsibility. The following are some examples of some CSR programs that directly related to its core operations:
Mobility for Good
Since 2017, TELUS has launched one of its most famous programs called “Mobility for Good”. It is a collaboration between TELUS and Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada to support children who are in their transition out of foster care programs with free phones and plans so that they can stay connected with their foster parents, find accommodations and job opportunities (TELUS, n.d.). Annually, the program helps thousands of young Canadians who age out of temporary or permanent foster care adjusting to adulthood. “Mobility for Good” is meant to get them through difficult and overwhelming time a bit easier and its purpose has become even more meaningful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Espri Mental Health App
TELUS appreciates frontline workers such as law officers, firefighters, healthcare workers; and pays great attention to their mental health and wellness. For that reason, TELUS has developed a mobile application called “Espri” which allows organizations to help their members dealing with high mental stress and issues. Users can access different features such as one-on-one sections with therapeutic consultants, goal-setting tools, and wellness-content library. More importantly, these tools can be tailored to the specific needs of each organization (TELUS Health, n.d.). This application is essential for frontline workers. The reason is that, in their nature of works, showing weakness or asking for help are the stigmas preventing them from coming forwards about their health conditions (Martin, 2020).
Within the telecommunications industry, TELUS shows a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship. TELUS has a dedicated department responsible for the integration of environmental frameworks to its day-to-day operations in order to reduce the negative impacts on climate. TELUS thrives to reduce its energy footprint from corporate assets such as plants, cell tower sites, and vehicle fleets. Its business processes are also designed with thorough continuity planning and readiness for risks of climate changes. More importantly, the company tries to educate customers about those goals through its many products and services (TELUS, n.d.). For example, last year, TELUS surpassed its climate goals and reduced over 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions reduction from its operations in Canada (Canada Environment Week, 2020).
No wonder TELUS won Social Responsibility Award in Canadian General Counsel Awards in 2015, and Frost & Sullivan CSR and Environmental Leadership Award in 2019. Telus recognizes and prioritizes its organizational stakeholders over economic stakeholders and societal stakeholders. In TELUS’ website, they have a non-exhaustive prioritized list of stakeholder groups they committed to prioritizing for the purpose of their sustainability strategy. This list includes community partners, responsible investment organizations, indigenous peoples and their communities, TELUS alumni and retirees, governments, and NGOs. TELUS has different programs and initiatives that are collected under the name of “Connecting for Good” which aims to build healthier, and more equal communities and ensure that the most vulnerable among us don’t get left behind. Connecting for Good make endowments to over 4000 charities so far.
As we know and acknowledge, CSR is not a peripheral exercise, it’s just a good business. With the acknowledgment of this fact, TELUS seems to try responding to the varied interests of its different stakeholders by relating CSR to all aspects of the company’s day-to-day operations.
TELUS’ Mobility for Good program is equipping young Canadians leaving foster care with free smartphones and plans to allow them to stay connected to the people, resources and opportunities they need to succeed. Health for Good program is building mobile health clinics around Canada that allows Canadian nurses to improve the way to provide care for the most vulnerable in our society. Internet for Good program is connecting people and families in need or with disabilities with high-speed and low-cost internet as they believe everyone should have online access. Tech for Good program is helping differently-abled Canadians who face challenges in using smartphones, laptops or tablets with customized technology solutions to allow them to live more independently.
Giving Where We Live initiative encourages thousands of TELUS employees and retirees around the world to volunteer over one million hours to CSR activities each year. The TELUS Friendly Future Foundation commits to helping build brighter futures for Canadian youth through charitable health and technology programs, and it donated $120 million only in 2018 to the Canadian youth. As you can see from the examples of their programs and initiatives above, TELUS has a multi-stakeholder perspective where they seek to understand and respond to the needs of their different stakeholders such as youth, people with disability, foster care children, people with different vulnerabilities.
TELUS uses data collected from digital guides to ensure that they make data-driven decisions and strategies that are in line with their customer’s interests (Booth, 2020). TELUS provides record-breaking 4G & 5G download speeds which beats South Korea’s 5G network. TELUS ‘globally unmatched fibre infrastructure and technology are not just benefiting Urban Canada, but also to ensure rural Canada’s Mobile Network Experience is top-notch (Telus,2020). In 2019 a report titled “The state of rural Canada’s Mobile Network Experience” ranked rural Canada’s broadband network as faster than every urban market in America, this is as a result of TELUS network technology.
TELUS is leveraging various healthcare partnerships to build innovations to grow the best healthcare ecosystem. In the last 10 years, TELUS has invested $3B in the Canadian healthcare system (TELUS, 2020), TELUS’s digital platform system, TELUS Health Exchange (THX), enables collaboration and the exchange of healthcare information between health professionals and patients. THX allows its users access to several vendors and more services because of its neutrality. This has changed how healthcare providers interact with their patients (TELUS, 2020). TELUS has also recently launched a new Mental Health app for frontline workers, which provides access to a wide range of professionals who can provide psychological assistance during these difficult times (COVID-19).
Furthermore, TELUS launched a business unit in 2020 called TELUS Agriculture and this business unit provides innovative solutions through technology for food production, supply, and distribution around the globe. It also connects and empowers farmers and those in agri-business industries to leverage in advanced data systems that helps provide healthier produces to consumers (TELUS, 2020).
Medium and Long Term
In other to strengthen their commitments to its stakeholders, TELUS will continue to improve its CSR over the years. Their 2019 sustainability report shows that the company has surpassed it 2020 energy and greenhouse gas goals by 50% and by 2025 they hope to on obtain 100% of its electricity requirement through renewable sources (TELUS Sustainability report, 2019). TELUS also plans to achieve net carbon neutral operation by 50% in 2030 and also divert 65% of its waste from real estate assets and network materials by 2025 and 80% by 2030 while maintaining waste minimization. TELUS team members and retirees also plan to also plan to allocate 12 million hours within the next five years to volunteering for TELUS Days of Giving and workshop for youth on cyberbullying and safeguard online security and privacy. Over the years, TELUS has invested close to $181 billion in network technology, infrastructural development, and operations, and plans to invest additional $40 billion into sustainability plans (Healthcare, education, community, environment etc.) within the next three years (TELUS Annual Report, 2019).
TELUS is a good illustration for CSR not being a peripheral exercise but a good business, and also a key essential for a successful one. Their commitment to only collaborate with suppliers who share similar CSR vision and values is remarkable as it shows that TELUS values CSR beyond cost or convenience. The company tries to encompass every vulnerable part of our society by its initiatives and different programs such as Tech for Good, Mobility for Good, TELUS Days of Giving which are rewarded by various organizations such as Social Responsibility Award by Canadian General Counsel Awards in 2015, and Frost & Sullivan CSR and Environmental Leadership Award in 2019. Our recommendation to TELUS would be to keep doing what they are doing! TELUS is a role model for all other Canadian firms with its efforts in building healthier, more equal communities in this country. We believe it’s already inspiring businesses to holistically embed CSR into their core operations as they did, and give back to community while profiting.
Booth, A. (2020). Optimizing the End-to-End Customer Experience with Personalization and Content Strategy. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from https://www.telus.com/en/digital/blog/customer-experience-personalization
Inc, T. (2020, May 07). TELUS CEO Issues Open Letter to Shareholders, Customers and Communities. Retrieved from https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/05/07/2029616/0/en/TELUS-CEO-Issues-Open-Letter-to-Shareholders-Customers-and-Communities.html
Martin, S. (2020). First of its kind mental health app for police officers launches in Halton Region. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/first-of-its-kind-mental-health-app-for-police-officers-launches-in-halton-region-1.5443603
Silcoff, S., & Posadzki, A. (2020, November 24). Telus launches $100-million fund for ‘socially responsible’ investing. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-telus-launches-100-million-fund-for-socially-responsible-investing/
TELUS (n.d.). Helping youth achieve independence. Retrieved from https://www.telus.com/en/about/company-overview/community-investment/how-we-give/cause-campaigns/mobility-for-good
TELUS Health. (n.d.). Enable access to resources for Canada’s frontline. Retrieved from https://www.telus.com/en/health/organizations/health-authorities-and-hospitals/patient-and-consumer-engagement-solutions/espri
TELUS (2020). Launch of TELUS Agriculture. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from https://www.telus.com/en/bc/agriculture/news-and-updates/launch-press-release?INTCMP=tcom_agriculture_news-and-updates_to_launch-press-release_blog_featured-article
TELUS (2020). Digital health solutions and technology in Canada: TELUS Health. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from https://www.telus.com/en/health?linktype=ge-supernav
TELUS. (2020). Leading the World in Social Capitalism. Telus Sustainability Report. Retrieved from https://www.telus.com/en/about/sustainability?linktype=nav
TELUS Annual Report (2019). Annual Reports, Investor Relations – About. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from https://www.telus.com/en/about/investor-relations/reports/annual-reports
TELUS Sustainability report (2019). TELUS 2019 Sustainability Report: Caring For Our Planet. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from https://www.telus.com/en/about/sustainability/key-priorities/caring-for-the-planet