The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: Hello, everyone. Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, I think we have some folks joining, but we have a quorum to go ahead and get started. I'm Megan Roberts, director of policy planning at the United Nations Foundation, and I'm really just thrilled to be here today to moderate this conversation on corporate action on digital inclusion: progress and prospects. I want to make sure you all can hear me. Is there competing sound? Okay.
>> NICHOLAS SEWE: Greetings from Poland.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: For the other confirmations on the line, thank you, really appreciate that.
Our conversation is cohosted but the World Benchmarking Alliance and the United Nations Foundation is a proud partner of the WBA, and we know its work is just transformative for achieving the sustainable development goals.
We are here Todd to discuss how government, civil society, international organizations, investors, how we can all work together to leverage the 2021 findings of the digital inclusion benchmark to drive inclusive digital transform which will be key for achieving the SDG's. It is timely, we are meeting at the Internet Governance forum, the second to take place, underscoring that meaningful participation in policy life requires being online.
New data from the ITU shows a mixed picture on how we are doing on digital inclusion, incredibly over the last two years, nearly 800 million people went online for the first time. The ITU calls this a COVID connectivity boost. It's incredible, the ITU data shows nearly 3 billion people have never used the internet. It is far larger if we are talking about meaningful, affordable internet access, the data details meaningful gaps across geography, gender generations. Essential commitment of the sustainable goals is to leave no one behind, these are exactly the people at risk of being left behind.
Once people get online, that you need the skills to navigate the digital world and face important threats to their rights and soft online. We need to ‑‑ safety online. We need to think about it in a holistic way, not just about getting online once, it's about consistent and affordable access, having the skills to navigate the digital world, it's arriving to an online world characterized by trust and by safety. And this is exactly the type of global challenge and really incredible global opportunity that requires action and leadership from all stakeholders and sectors. I want to encourage our speakers and participants to focus on how we can work together using the incredible resource of the digital inclusion benchmark to make progress and think about what we can do over the next 12 months, what can we achieve together and be really ambitious and who else do we need to bring along.
We have an incredible lineup of speakers and panelists that will explore these issues in our conversation today. Before I introduce our first speaker, I want to share a few quick housekeeping notes. Our event is on the record, recorded, please be sure to stay muted when not speaking, we want to hear from you, your reactions and thoughts on how to use the benchmark and how we can work together to make transformative change, use the chat box, ask any questions to share your thoughts on how the benchmark can be used in your own work and for others.
Please join the conversation own social media, using the hashtags that you should see in the chat already. Just quickly on how we'll use our hour together, we'll soon hear a presentation on the findings of the 2021 classes benchmark and then have two panel sessions, the first focused on multi‑stakeholder collaboration for digital inclusion and the second will focus on private sector action. We have a lot to cover in 60 minutes, I'll try to keep us online and be ready to enforce time limits where needed. Panelists, consider yourselves warned. With the housekeeping out visit the way, I am delighted to introduce, Lourdes months. She's going to share with us the findings from the 2021 digital inclusion benchmark, Lourdes, over to you.
>> LOURDES MONTENEGRO: Thank you for that wonderfully warm welcome. We are very excited to be here today at the U.N. Internet Governance forum 2021. I think it's really right that we are at the IGF to launch the second round of the theme being internet united. We are happy to be here with various stakeholders from private sector, government, civil society, investors, working together in a united way towards an inclusive and trustworthy digital transformation. Very excited.
To get us started, let me try to share my screen first.
So to get us started, you would like to gun with a reflection on the U.N. Secretary General's speech yesterday for the Internet Governance Forum, it was a sustained and touching message to all of us working together on these issues. He reflected on the speed, you know, that digital technologies are shaping history, shaping the future, but he asked three very crucial questions. One was will our societies become more equal or less equal. Will our dignity and routes be enhanced or diminished? He worried in his speech that invention is outpacing policy setting. Resulting in a governance gap.
The governance gap is worrying because we ‑‑ as Megan has mentioned, we are undertaking digitalization at breakneck speed. While it's good news more and more of the world is coming online, latest figures say 63 percent now of all individuals are using the internet, there are also risks and things that we need to think about in how we want to shape that kind of transformation. So that's why we are here today. Our role as an organization is to provide that accountability mechanism to ensure that the private sector is accountable for its actions, that we have accountability, and the private sector are key actors towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
So what we do at the WBA, World Benchmarking Alliance, we are a global initiative, we have allies all over the world from different parts of society, from investors to multilateral organizations, and we provide the data freely and publicly on how companies are doing towards the sustainable development goals, especially in terms of actions that are closest to our core business, what we called the seven systems transformations. What I will talk about briefly, shortly, is really to provide everyone here with a tool, we want to equip everyone with the tools, knowledge and information and data to think about where the gaps are, to look at where our focus should be, where policy should be, which part of the world are we missing? Which sectors, which industries still need to be encouraged to do more and to do better?
So the digital inclusion benchmark is really a race to the top for inclusive and transformative digital transform. It evaluates company performance across four related areas, enhancing universal access to digital technologies, improving all levels of digital skill, fostering trustworthy use by MIT going risks and harms, ensuring open, inclusive and ethical innovation.
We cover, we assess 150 companies for this year, the number will grow to 200 companies by 2023. These companies are across the whole digital ecosystem, the digital sector chain, from hardware, to semiconductors, telecommunication services, IT software, IT services and software, and most of these companies are familiar to all of you, they include all the big names, as well as the not so big names that are operating in key national and regional areas where we immediate to see improvements across the digital divide.
So these companies obviously have a global reach and cover the entire world. There are, of course, some continents and regions where we see less of them, and that's because there really are less of them, and we will see that the private sector is quite concentrated in the global north, and that's part of our mugs. We hope this will not be the picture in the future, that we will see more representation across various countries, especially in the global south.
Before I go on to tell you the good news, let's start with the bad news first, bad news and then good news. So the bad news is that we found in our latest ‑‑ at the latest round this year, in 2021, that industry, the digital sector still has a long way to go, really a long way to go. The top company, and I'm very happy to congratulate Telefonica, number one in the benchmark this year, are well ahead, out of all the 150 companies, the lead is very large, but there are very few companies like that, very few who are leading the sector. Over two dozen companies show really if we call it passing marks, 50 percent, really that's only 27 companies. The vast majority are below 50 percent.
So while there is some improvement in comparable scores from last year's benchmark, progress is still too slow because why do we say progress is too slow? Because we know that the model in this industry is to move fast, and therefore they're not moving fast enough on issues that matter to human societies, to people everywhere.
We need to take note as a whole, we have our work cut out for us.
The other alarming finding, alarming and chilling and many other adjectives, what we are seeing from the research is the sector is extremely enthusiastic about AI benefits, and we read that on every company disclosure, every company report, how wonderful, what are the potential benefits. But what's missing is a concern over the risk. So that is what is scary. We found that only 19 of the 150 companies that were being benchmarked this year commit to publicly available ethical principles.
So that's a very small number for a very huge group of companies, and that's particularly alarming because that means that we are driving into a future where people with all have less agency, face job loss or we will exacerbate all the discriminatory biases in society. Once again, we have our work cut out for us.
Another issue, big issue that we found is that, and that is what is unique about this benchmark, we look at the company's positive contributions, what they're doing to bring digital technology access to vulnerable groups, improving digital skills, making sure women and girls are digitally included, disabled, people in rural areas, et cetera, and we see the companies are extremely proud of their initiatives from discounted services to vulnerable groups and digital skills training. Unfortunately, many of these are one‑off interventions.
Just 8 percent of company publish an impact assessment for one or more of their initiatives. Very few numbers of companies that actually go out there, look at their initiatives and say, who are the beneficiaries, did this improve their lives, did what we do in our tech for good initiatives actually have any positive impact on Saturday?
So very few actually have something that looks at the impact of their own initiatives, which raises the question really on how good these initiatives are and if these are just a form of impact washing.
We really need to look into the quality of these tech for good initiatives to encourage companies to do better, because they are capable of doing better, as we always say, the Spiderman quote, with more power comes more responsibility.
For the 4th key finding that we found this year, and I'm pretty sure none of you will be surprised, everyone knows this, but it is just confirmed but the data very clearly that we still need more women in tech. The good news is more companies disclose this information compared to last year, and we count that as a win. In fact, a lot of the increase comes from companies headquartered in the Republic of Korea and Japan. So there's an increasing attention towards gender involvement in technical roles in east Asia, and that's great, only 1/3 of companies report how many women they employ in tech roles, this means women in research and development, doing coding and engineering.
Among the companies who are reporting on average, 77 percent of tech roles are still held but men. Again, we still have our work cut out for us.
Finally, this is the big shocker, big bombshell, I would say, we found ‑‑ so when we did, you will say later, I will speak about the core social assessment very briefly in a short while, the industry still needs to pay attention to Human Rights recent impacts. We all know the big headlines since last year, since a few years ago, from online hate speech, that really has implications on genocide, to children, child labor in mining materials for SmartPhones, these are very serious issues that the sector, many companies in the sector have faced.
So we can really say tech companies have a devastating impact on Human Rights, yet only 15 of the 150 companies in the benchmark disclose that that you have the very basic, very minimum requirements for what is called human rights due diligence as outlined in the U.N. guiding principles for business and human rights. These are processes to identify, assess and integrate human rights risks and impacts in their business practices.
So these are very few companies, once again. That's the bad news. But I'll say something about the good news later on. There's also good news, so we don't have to be depressed, just getting the juices flowing so we can think about action and what we can do to improve this situation.
So this year, what we did, we also assessed companies on what we call the core social indicators. This is part of the World Benchmarking Alliance's commitment to assess all the 2,000 companies in its bench MAG university on SDG 2000 on three social expectations, acting ethically, respecting human rights and providing and promoting decent work. These are just very basic expectations that society believes, you know, many, many stakeholders believe at least should be committed towards or should do something about. This year, this is not yet included in the ranking and score for the digital inclusion benchmark. We publish them in the scorecard. That's where we got the data for human rights. We hope that's a wakeup call for many companies in the true.
And the results, of course, from that assessment are also quite interesting. We see differences by industry and differences by geography. So by industry, we see hardware companies leading, and that might be surprising to many, but hardware companies have been exposed to a lot of supply chain usuals, which has led them to take their human rights due diligence processes a lot more seriously.
So they lead the industry on many of the core social issues, from acting ethically to improving and promoting decent work especially on human rights. Geographically, we see a vast disparity, which can also be reflective of different policy and market environments. And finally, the good news, there is also good news, not just bad news, there are actually companies who take their responsibility towards digital inclusion very seriously, and we see this in the benchmark, the top 15 companies, which I'm very happy to congratulate especially Telefonica, then we have Orange, Telstra, Apple, Cisco, Samsung, Alphabet, Deutsch Telekom, HP, Microsoft, Telia, it's a long list, there are differences by industry, a lot of the telecommunications companies have a longer history thinking about digital inclusion and considering it as an important and core part of their business. Then we have the hardware companies, IT and software service companies are famous platforms, big tech, e‑commerce, gig economy platforms, they are way behind and still, if we think about them in terms of digital inclusion, they are teenagers, they still need to grow up and mature. By region, we see differences in geography.
You know, the good news is that the companies who are actually headquartered in areas of the world where we see huge digital divides, like in the African continent, the companies who are in these areas actually they are doing very well in the benchmark, which means I would interpret as being close to the ground, close to the community, understanding the issues and therefore considering it to be very important.
So that's the silver lining in the cloud, I would say.
Another thing is that we have also seen a lot of companies improve this year, and one of the companies who has shown a lot of improvement is here with us today to share on their experiences, I would also congratulation them, first of all, for embracing and beginning this journey towards digital inclusion. So that's a very important first step.
Of the 150 companies in the benchmark, more than 50 percent have been seriously participating and engaging in the benchmarking process, for me, whatever your score, if you engage, you're already taking the first step, that's what is very important. We will share a list of who this engaged and nonengaged companies are and make that public so all stakeholders will know which companies are not paying attention to digital inclusion and who are paying attention.
So please feel free to share the findings. You can go to the website, it's online, all the rank, the score, you can download the spreadsheets. If wow yawn more dolled data or you want to co‑publish thought leadership articles, research pieces, just let us know, help us amplify and, again, we hope to work together with all of you to ensure that we can progress on these key issues we found in this year's digital inclusion benchmark, thank you very much.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: Thank you so much, Lourdes, really appreciate that whirlwind tour of this incredibly important work, congratulations on the second iteration of the benchmark, it's helpful to see both the good news and the bad news.
And digging into some of that data and building on some of the findings Lourdes shared with us, you'll turn to our first esteemed panel that's focused on multi‑stakeholder action for digital inclusion. Allow me to quickly introduce our speakers, they all have very impress of bios you should have received with the event if toss, and I think we'll be putting in the chat, but because of the time tight timeline today, I'll introduce them in their current roles. So we are joined today by I believe we are joined today by Philippe‑Andre Rodriguez, Deputy Director of the Center for International Digital Policy at Global Affairs Canada, but Philippe, I wanted to see if you're in the room or if ‑‑ to check if you're online, we may be waiting for Philippe to join us. We are also joined by Yu‑Ping Chan, Senior Programme Officer United Nations Office of the Envoy on Technology. And last but not least, Nnenna Nwakanma. I am going to engage each of you with a question. We'll start with you, and ping and come back to Philippe if he's able to join. Yu Ping, you personally and your office are working regularly across sectors on some of these very questions on digital inclusion with stake holders across the gamut. Looking at the findings from the digital inclusion benchmark, how can they collaborate with the United Nations to address these issues and really advance digital inclusion.
>> YU PING CHAN: My congratulations for the World Benchmarking Alliance, we are proud to have them as our partners this agreement the roadmap which has the elements of inclusion, connectivity and in some ways responsibilities by tech companies for their policies and what they actually do to promote better use of technology. In some ways yes o, we have been very gratified but the fact that the World Benchmarking Alliance is putting forward a tool that can measure progress being made by tech companies towards digital inclusion and we really see this as a Hallmark of the multi‑stakeholder community calling big players in the digital sphere to account.
In terms of how we can further this collaboration, there are two areas where I raise this for consideration of stakeholders as well as the World Benchmarking Alliance to take this work further, in the digital inclusion is a priority, we are looking at establishing a universal definition for digital inclusion, and that's an area of work I think Philippe and ‑‑ that if you leap will come back and talk about as Canada is the chair of the round table on digital inclusion that was part of the process of following on the Secretary General's roadmap and I do think this area of work will be very important in terms of how the international community defines digital inclusion, which can be the basis of taking this work further and from the United Nations perspective, particularly important in terms of supporting countries in actually promoting digital inclusion.
Even though the index and the benchmark is for companies, the area in which it can actually resonate with national policies and what countries are doing in your own national spheres domestically and international policies is very important, it puts out the idea of having scorecards that will help companies measure their progress towards digital inclusion. A lot of the themes in the benchmark itself will be resonant there. As we look forward to the future, this area of national support to countries could be potentially a way that stakeholders and the World Benchmarking Alliance can continue to collaborate with the United Nations. The other area I want to mention is the proposal by the Secretary General in his recent report for a global digital compact, a coming together of not just governments, but private sector tech companies and civil society about a more open, free digital future for all. I emphasize for all, that's precisely the point of inclusion, it cannot be leaving out segments of society, but truly is for everyone. That's why digital inclusion is so fundamental to this vision of the Secretary General and the United Nations that we are working to achieve.
So here again, perhaps the World Benchmarking Alliance's work here and the benchmark itself could point our way towards holding digital tech companies accountable for their practices and we could generalize some principles of digital inclusion that could be used to hold the international community to account for this important area of work, we could think about how we measure over time a as a way of holding tech companies accountable. It is a way to see what the private sector should be doing. In this area of digital inclusion, I see the benchmark as very important in this way as well.
I think Lourdes has laid out very clear recommendations based on the findings of this year's report. This idea of available ethical principles for AI, need for impact assessments for projects, sustainable in the long term, that particularly in the area of human rights, risks and assessments, there needs to be some kind of concrete process in place, finally, this one I particularly am fond of, the percentage of women engaged in technical roles, could there be a specific percentage that technology companies are asked to commit to and we measure their progress against the specific commitment year by year, these are some ideas I think how the stakeholder community can come together to promote digital inclusion and use the benchmark as a very important tool in this work forward. Thank you.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: I love your thoughts on kind of the wider resonance of a lot of the elements of the benchmark and how that you speak for private sector but a broader set of stakeholders and identifying the broader areas where a wide set can be working together to advance digital inclusion in a positive digital future.
That sets us up perfectly for me to turn to our next speaker, and then I'd love to turn to you for your perspective on the rule of civil society but knowing your deep knowledge of the actors, the players, the dynamic on questions of digital cooperation, so really eager to hear your thoughts. I'll ask you specifically, how can civil society actors such as the web foundation address issues that are highlighted in the digital inclusion benchmark findings and use the benchmark to advance digital inclusion I am interested if you have any reaction to the specific ideas that Yu Ping raised.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: To those online, thank you for coming. I know you have kept up, the Worldwide Web Foundation is that organization founded by the leading vendor of the worldwide web, the vision of the worldwide web itself is that it will be technology that is available, accessible, affordable and inclusive of everyone.
If you forget everything you've said today, remember these two words, for everyone. And the other word is for good. So those are the two main things captured by the report. How is it inclusive and how is it ethical? For good and for everyone.
A policy tool that summarizes that is called the contract for the web, which was launched about three years ago. And it is of no surprise to us that Telefonica is the golden winner, congratulations, to Telefonica, because Telefonica was one of the earliest companies signed up to the contract for the web. I sent out a tweet to congratulate you on behalf of myself, my organization and my board.
Now, coming to the question, what can we as web foundation and other organizations that are not aligned to government or industry do? The first thing we want to do is keep raising evidence, that's exactly what the alliance is doing, ask the questions, give data, speak about them, that's my role, I'm an advocate for a reason, and the people that like me, I will keep speaking until I lose my voice, I train my voice so I don't lose it. You'll keep hearing from me and seeing tweets from us.
The first thing we have to do is raise evidence, share the data, keep speaking about them, keep raising dust until everyone what can hear us, hears us.
Scorecards, we have been providing scorecards, especially in the gender digital data divide. That's very clear, because inclusion today, when we talk about for everyone, it shows more men are online, 21 percent more men going online. This is thing, we need to keep shedding lawsuit where we don't have light. So it is very easy to say, half the world is connected. We want to go deeper down, know who is out there. Talking about leaving no one behind, we want to bring in detailed data. That's one thing we can do and the web foundation has been doing that through our women rights online network we do publish gender digital scorecard. I'm happy to get in contact with anyone who wants to see deeper into this. Now, since my good friend, Yu Ping is here, when we are near, we are not friends because I keep giving her trouble. We work with the Office of the U.N. tech envoy on at least three things, first on global connectivity, because we need to describe what it means to be connected. It is not enough to say someone is in coverage area, it is not enough to say someone has a phone, it is very important that we have phone connectivity, meaningful connectivity is what allows me to do what I'm doing with you, connect, have the right device, be connected every day, have the right speed, have the right connection.
So it is not enough to say connectivity. It is enough to say meaningful, affordable connectivity, and that's one of the things we are leading as the Worldwide Web Foundation. Yu Ping talked about the global digital compact. One role we have played in the spirit of everyone is that the other half of the global population not connected needs to be heard, needs the experiences to be understood so when organizations like Telefonica, having their policies made, they will think and understand how best to be inclusive. So what we want to do in the global digital compact is, yes, give trouble to the office of the tech envoy, yes, give trouble to the secretary's office of the Secretary General himself, but tech trouble of to the U.N. general assembly itself, including its presidency, by knocking on the door and saying that internet access should be a basic human right, but then we want to go further. We want to make voices heard, especially voices from the global south, voices from Tanzania, from Sudan, from Egypt, from Jordan, voices from Bangladesh, voices of the blind, voices of students, voices of people who are physically challenged.
We want to make all of these voices heard. It is not enough to sit in Poland be nicely connected and make great speeches. It is enough that it is for everyone, it is for good, and when it is for everyone, I think that's where the U.N. got it and said leave no one behind. I'll stop there.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: Nnenna, I think if we can keep that spirit of for everyone and for good, even if that means making a little trouble along the way, I think if we embrace that spirit, that would be incredibly powerful.
I do want to check again if Philippe is joining us virtually or perhaps he's in the room. So just give us a second for that.
Make sure we aren't skipping him.
All right, looks like he may have had some trouble joining us. I want to thank our two fantastic panelists, I want to encourage all of our participants to make use of the chat function here because we can keep this conversation going, I think they both brought so many concrete and specific and inspiring and challenging ideas for all of us to be working toward. So thank you so much. I could ask so many more questions, but our time is quite tight today.
We have heard some great thoughts from the civil society perspective, from the U.N. perspective. It's now time to hear insights from some of our private sector leaders on digital inclusion, I'm really delighted to introduce our three panelists, again without sharing their full and very impressive bios which you should have received. I'm so pleased to be joined by Prajna Khanna, head of sustainability at Prosus and Naspers, Eduardo Navarro, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at Telefonica and so pleased to be joined by Christine Brueschke. Thank you all so much for being here. I'll first turn to you, Prajna, you registered some really impressive results in the 2021 benchmark and important progress over the last year. What approaches has your company taken to improve its efforts to advance digital inclusion, how is the digital inclusion helped your company in this journey and what do you think your peers might be able to learn from your experience and your journey.
>> PRAJNA KHANNA: Thank you for having me. Those on the call who don't really know what Naspers and Prosus, we are one of the few South African companies registered at the Dutch stock exchange. We are primarily in digital technology platforms. Digital inclusion to us is absolutely the core materiality to our business. We focus on financial solutions, and all of our investments are 90 percent plus of our investments are in the global south.
So when we go in from a commercial perspective to uncover new digital innovations, entrepreneurs who are striving for breaking barriers and really innovating for enables for digital inclusion, that's where we step in with our financial and nonfinancial resources, it's incredible material, it's unfortunate that a positive outcome for us, because of the COVID situation, there's been a massive growth, hockey stick growth across all the companies we invest in Latin to China to India and Southeast Asia.
What's very critical to understand is that there are several adjacencies underpinning digital inclusion, the first of them universal access to energy, as it is with all the SDG's, there are a building people in the world who do not have access to energy, what we have done is really understand what are the barriers that are keeping ‑‑ let me give you a statistic out there. 16 percent of England women use digital technology platforms to meet their financial service needs. 26 percent of men do the same.
The delta between the 1.3 billion people and the 16 percent of them actually women using digital technology for financial inclusion, because that's a very clear ‑‑ what ‑‑ is digital inclusion for the sake, I love Nnenna, a pleasure to hear you and your passion, not just what classes enables the vows, it is access to health and education, in the way that people can receive education where they are. It's a solution for climate change. Through digital technology we are investing in, we are enables farmers across the world to understand the biome of their soil so they can plan for better, and better supply chain.
So it's not just digital inclusion for itself, but the end enablement of multiple other developmental needs from our perspective are absolutely critical. Including access to livelihoods, gender equity, all of those, I think that, to your point, Lourdes, from before, I think the private sector has been innovation and, yes, you come up, not just digital inclusion, but responsible digital inclusion, and that's what we find very, very important for ourselves, congratulations, Eduardo to the Telefonica team, I think one of the critical things for us has been this year to really understand how we can articulate the narrative better. It is, for us, it is very much in the commercial mind set. That's where the gap lies between the private sector and public sector. Phrasing the same in a way that fits in with the way you're expecting to hear that narrative as well, because I don't think the private sector, such as us, are not cognizant of the risk, it is risk to our business continuity if there are data breaches, if it's unethical AI use, it is reputational risk, it is very much risk assessment and management.
There is very often a gap between articulating the way we map those risks and the solutions and whether it is the impact that we have to digital inclusion to just commercial activities in a way that fits in with the way that civil society organizations are also viewing it. And I think that's critical for us. So it's been a great learning curve this year to try and bridge that gap through the process, and yeah, on the energy access, we need to have ‑‑ there are a billion people, very critically, if we would bring all the 3 billion people, how many Lourdes who still need to be enabled access to digital platforms or digital inclusion, in traditional ways, it would be devastating for the climate. It's not just AI and ethical, responsible digital inclusion, it's about enabling energy access, which is decentralized systems and bringing people onto the grid, leapfrogging from traditional ways of doing this, it's also digital platforms enabled for solutions for banking, for example, traditional brick and mortar banking, the if you had to bring the 1.7 billion people un‑banked people into the banking grid, it's going to be devastating for the climate. It's those adjacencies one has to capture. That's what we are looking to better articulate for you going forward.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: Thank you so much, Prajna, I appreciate you bringing that perspective and underscoring the importance and foundational need for universal access for energy, to think about digital inclusion as an enabler for other development need, really an accelerator, and its relationship with climate. Really appreciate you bringing. This is not simple, this is really complex set of questions that we need to be asking ourselves. I now will turn to you, Eduardo, first, we have your name and Telefonica throughout this conversation, just want to give you a big congratulations for achieving the top spot on the benchmark, it's a wonderful achievement.
Looking at the findings, Telefonica is among those not only at the top spot, but really leading in best practices across the four measurement areas of the benchmark, access, skills, use and innovation. What are you doing right, how do you think about these issues as a company and how can other companies learn from your experience?
>> EDUARDO NAVARRO: Good morning, good afternoon, where we are, name visit the Telefonica team, I would like to thank you very much for your very kind words about Telefonica. You have to say it's a real honor for all of us at Telefonica, especially working on this to give the organizer this year the benchmark alliance, I support our commitment to addressing digital inclusion.
I think that we are trying to do many things right at the least. First of all, the most important thing, we have a great team and have a very committed chairman, CEO and board. To move in the direction we are trying to go.
We have ‑‑ very important, we listen, and we learn, and we have learned a massive amount of information from the World Benchmarking Alliance. Now, everything that we learn from you help us not ‑‑ to move and try to be a little best every day, but if I may, I think we have an advantage, to have a real commitment to society and one that goes back a long your way
Our company is going to accomplish 100th anniversary three years from now, and I'll say in this history, there is a strong commitment to topics like this. Maybe this is new when you talk about the utilization, but if you believe our mission is to approach people who have been doing in the less hundred years, digital inclusion or connecting people is part of our purpose. Our company's DNA. We identify as our mission as make our world more illuminating by connecting light. Connecting life, then the internet. What to believe, it all has to be our mission here, to make a better world by trying to connect lives. You know, it's a way to promote more inclusive society. Utilization of 5g, I don't know, 20 years from now, different technology, but for me, the purpose, the mission is, it is going to stay for a long time.
During last year, in the face of the current health and social crisis, our purpose has become more relevant. We have learned that connectivity has been crucial for utilization in the crisis. No, I think that from one day to another, how to work, how to learn, how to put our people in the digital life. We know our work has great potential to contribute to agenda. We always used to say, like you saw here, we are not part of the green of the climate problem. You think we are convinced we are part of the solution, our sector in general, and our universe, and I say that that's why I have to be incentive to be working on this.
This is the reason why you view the purpose as an opportunity more than ever, our responsibility more responsibility, no, you see it as a approve. We want to see a world where nobody is going to be left behind, this is clear. Our strategy around the sustainable development goals, resilience infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable utilization and foster innovation. Having said that, I think it's necessary to emphasize, that goes beyond the development of our structure, we are learning by mistakes in many cases, going into a very poor area and provide connectivity and provide tablets to children, it's not enough. Have to go much more than this.
The digital device requires a holistic approach, accessibility, trust and innovation. In terms of infrastructure, the stable infrastructure means bringing connectivity to everybody. I think we cannot take ‑‑ access to drinkable water or to food.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: I'm sorry, Eduardo, if I can why ask you to wrap it up, I'm so sorry.
>> EDUARDO NAVARRO: Sorry, sorry. For me, this infrastructure, accessibility, we provide accessibility, how we can access. Trust, for me, it's absolutely essential, no, in this world of fake news. For me, it's we can assure different wases that everything you see in the digital world can be trusted. Finally, innovation. How we can permanently innovate in order to help everybody have access to this. You think in shear, you think that we are very, very happy for your recognition for this, the Telefonica team, it is in our DNA, it is our purpose, and what I can assure you, this recognition gives us more incentives to move forward now, to try to go faster, and thank you, thank you very much because everything that you listen and learn from you is helping us to move fast.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: That's great, thank you so much. Eduardo, I love the listening, learning, the line, the understanding that this is a complex undertaking and part of the purpose and the mission of Telefonica, thank you so much. Congratulations again. Really excited to turn to Christine now to give us some perspective from the investor angle, we have heard how private sector companies are thinking about these issues, making digital inclusion a priority. How can they act on driving systemic change and drive digital inclusion?
>> CHRISTINE BRUESCHKE: Thank you, Megan, I would quickly like to congratulate Telefonica on their number one rating. As an investor, I think I can see it's well earned, we got a lot of invitations to speak with Telefonica, learn more about what they're doing, I am glad to see, part of having the benchmark is to elevate companies working hard and dedicating so much resource to this. I want to acknowledge and thank the World Benchmarking Alliance because they've done amazing work on this benchmark if you're not very familiar with it, it's worth digging into. This is such an important topic of digital inclusion. Fidelity International, we are committed to incorporating sustainability across all areas of the business and our investment decisions, and one of these things we are taking seriously is the access to digital inclusion, which we think is not considered first at hand when you think about ESG. With the help of the WBA we are able to focus on aspects within what we call digital ethics, it overlaps with what the WBA has called digital inclusion, which is not, as you've heard, just about access inclusion, but everything from access through the skills, gender diversity and even all the way through ethical AI.
So, you asked specifically how investors can incorporate the benchmark findings, and I say we do this mainly through engagement, we do there's one to one, when we meet with companies, and we do it collaboratively with other investors.
I'll say a word each of those and try to be quick, I know we are almost out of time. And in terms of the one to one discussion, we have used the benchmark findings since released last year with the first 100 companies, Suns then when we have meetings with tech companies, we are able to see what are the company doing well and missing, what can we ask them about and say, hey, that's great, and it's nice to be able to acknowledge companies doing well, and then also, what we tend to do more, say something that we as investors think you could do better and pay more attention to. One to one, we have been doing that already. That's really important, and any investor can do that, you think it's really important that we work in terms of driving systemic change to work collaboratively, particularly with other investors but all stakeholders, I think the total will be greater than the sum of individual parts if we work on this together, that's why me benchmark data is so helpful for us to work with and take to companies as a collective effort.
You've probably heard about it a little bit in the past and I think Lourdes will take about it in the next couple of minutes, we are excited for fidelity to be one of the lead investors on a collective engagement or collective impact coalition focused specifically on this really leading edge aspect of ethical AI. As you heard well from Lourdes, it's something that only 19 out of the 150 companies have publicly addressed, and it's really at least a very interesting conversations that we have been having already with companies. We think we can have a lot of impact in a really important area, pretty relatively early on before it gets way out of control. Hope flu that's something that we'll hear more from Lourdes, I'm happy to speak more about in the future as well.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: Thank you so much, Christine, and teed us up perfectly to discuss, you know, what are the opportunities of how we can take forward some of the momentum, Lourdes, we started out with you sharing the key findings, we have done the equivalent of did digital expert speed dating over the last 35, 40 minutes, my apologies to the speakers for needing everyone to be brief. But Howard, how can we take this forward, where are we going next? I know Christine mentioned the coalition. Eager to hear more about that.
>> LOURDES MONTENEGRO: Thanks, Megan, as we said, all this data is really just data unless we act on it. And the key is really in the SDGs itself. SDG 17, partnership and collaboration. As the U.N. Secretary General himself said yesterday, the answers to the questions on whether our rights will be enhanced, societies will be more equal or we become more safe or secure, depends on our ability to work together across all these national, political divides, across all different sectors, from civil society and investors. That's what we are aiming to do at the World Benchmarking Alliance, setting up an accountability mechanism of digital inclusion in the private sector, not only the metrics, publication on disability and where companies are, but all of us working together in coalitions across different divides, globally. So that we can act together to ensure that the private sector keep its eye on the prize.
Digital inclusion. Let's make sure that digitalization is indeed inclusive and trustworthy. It is our collective responsibility.
So we invite everyone who is here listening, whether you're from civil society or from multilateral organizations, you're investors, and together, with a wonderful ideas from Yu Ping, extremely exciting on the upcoming digital compact, and we can weave together this work on different coalitions so that we can elevate the sector performance from where it is now where we worry about where we are heading as humanity itself being led by technology or are we leading technology towards the betterment of our own lives.
So please get in touch with us, feel free, e‑mail me, e‑mail my colleagues, Nicholas over here, our wonderful organizer, I have to say, thank you very much. Get in touch and next year, let's collaborate on actions that will really lead progress on many specific issues, such as AI ethics. We are now where climate was in the 1990s, let's not get to the point where it's irreversible. That's all I have to say.
>> MEGAN ROBERTS: I want to underscore something that Nnenna said in the chat, this is for everyone, and that we need to keep that in mind as we are building this inclusive digital future and as we are thinking about inclusive digital transformation. This has been a fantastic conversation, I really want to thank all of our speakers and experts today, you are offered such rich thoughts, and I'm very excited about the momentum we have here and looking forward to working with the World Benchmarking Alliance and with all of you on the coalition, and to really achieve some important progress over the next year.
Thanks so much to all of you for joining us, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day and rest of your IGF.