Even though ESG projects in Belarus still seem to be rather an exception to the rule, A1 Belarus is one of the most active in the group implementing dozens of projects in accordance with the principles of Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance. Sustainability defines the quality of life and helps to improve it.
Standards of Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) have quickly become a very relevant topic for A1 Belarus as a socially responsible business. The company launches numerous environmental initiatives, supports inclusive startups and educational projects, and employs people with disabilities.
Sustainability grows from the inside
In the last six months alone, we opened A1 Garden on the roof of A1 HQ, united more than 2 thousand sports fans to help children, allowed dozens of Belarusian schoolchildren to present their ideas to the whole country, supported a large-scale performance of the inclusive theater that engages children with autism. All these achievements became possible thanks to the personal contribution of each person in our team.
ESG has become an indispensable part of our daily activities and a personal matter for each of our employees. Every, absolutely every A1 employee started with himself or herself: from changing their habits in the workplace in order to become more environmentally friendly to making proposals for the implementation of individual initiatives – every A1 Belarus team member has the opportunity to share his or her vision!
#ionline – moving towards mobile technologies use
One of the greatest joys is being part of something greater than your own life and personal experiences. It was the case of creating a large-scale volunteer movement #ionline, which is aimed at introducing mobile technologies to the people who are just beginning to take their first steps in this direction. Volunteers can teach anyone – parents, grandparents, their friends, their acquaintances. To help them, a special telegram channel “IanOnline” was launched on behalf of 27-year-old Ian, who teaches his parents and grandparents to use smartphones and mobile Internet. Helpful instructions are also gathered in the #ionline guide for internet beginners. And from July to September, project volunteers and social workers from different regions of Belarus took part in online training – digital literacy lessons. Today, more than 843 users are registered at ionline.a1.by – not only residents of Belarus but also volunteers from Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, Russia, the USA, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic are interested in the project.
Small steps that lead to a milestone
By the way, I believe that it is not always necessary to start huge projects. This was our reasoning when we created the first Inclusive Barista in our flagship store in Minsk. Just a few square meters and job opportunities for five people: four wheelchair baristas and the first director in Belarus with Down syndrome. This was the case in November 2020. But this year in July we opened another coffee shop in Brest, which is the first one in the region, and in August we expanded the network again: the third coffee shop also operates in Minsk, on Kuibyshev Street. We were not mistaken: the development of the “Inclusive Barista in A1” coffee chain was an important step for A1 to ensure equal opportunities for people regardless of their physical characteristics.
I sincerely believe that those ESG projects that we are actively developing are truly important and meaningful for everyone. Sustainable business cannot succeed without considering the interests of society and its surrounding, as well as a modern person cannot move ahead without thinking about where he or she lives, what he or she does, and who is nearby.