The Contribution the ICT Industry Can Make to Sustainable Development

This report determines the sustainability issues that are of highest consequence to the ICT industry

In response to rapid advances in communications technology and the rise of new and complex international marketplaces, GeSI organized a series of stakeholder workshops to discuss Technology Convergence and Sustainability in the Fall of 2005. Subsequent to this effort, in 2007, GeSI commissioned Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to identify the materiality of key sustainability issues and prioritize the relative risks and opportunities. The results of BSR’s investigation are captured in this report titled, “The Contribution the ICT Industry Can Make to Sustainable Development.”

This report determines the sustainability issues that are of highest consequence to the ICT industry and creates a guide that allows GeSI to design our future strategy to address the issues of greatest significance to the ICT sector. This information will also inform decision making and strategy development in GeSI member companies and highlight opportunities for ulti-stakeholder collaboration. Additionally, these findings can enhance investment analysts’ understanding of the ICT sector and support their engagement with ICT companies.

In preparation for this report BSR undertook a materiality analysis for the ICT industry, categorized by Service Providers, Equipment Manufacturers, Consumer Electronics and Internet and Software.
In line with an agreed definition of materiality (described below), BSR used a range of criteria to rank issues according to their “influence on the success of ICT businesses” and “influence on stakeholder decision making.

Influence on Success of ICT Businesses:

  • Strategic priority for the business
  • Significance to successful delivery of products and services
  • Risk to the business
  • Coverage in investment analysts’ reports
  • Company issues management

Influence on Stakeholder Decision Making:

  • Significance to achievement of Millennium Development Goals
  • Inclusion in Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Significance to achievement of environmental sustainability
  • Issue raised during stakeholder interviews
  • Inclusion in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) surveys
  • Media profile
  • Inclusion in Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting guidelines
  • Inclusion in more than 50% of ICT sustainability reports surveyed
  • Public policy profile 

Supporting Tools developed to support GeSI member companies to determine most relevant material issues:

  • GeSI Materiality Tool - Consumer Electronics
  • GeSI Materiality Tool - Equipment Manufacturers
  • GeSI Materiality Tool - Internet & Software
  • GeSI Materiality Tool - Service Providers

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