The sustainable development strategy for Beeline Kazakhstan means primarily an opportunity to solve social and economic problems with the help of modern technologies. This includes development or support of new digital products, sharing the expertise, provision of platforms for development. Technologies are essential for collaboration and positive transformation of the world, so the company will focus on their further development, including for the purposes of sustainable development. Beeline's corporate social responsibility is more than just social and charitable projects. This is a systematic work on sustainable development and strengthening the reputation of a reliable and innovative business.
COVID-19 pandemic has proved the relevance of this approach. In 2020, the telecommunications sector became a competence center for many sectors of the economy: business continuity and uninterrupted access to all online services provided by the government authorities, business companies and the NGO sector have become a guarantor of social and economic stability. From providing mass access to remote employment and distance learning to the deployment of telemedicine services, from online ordering of goods to access to the most important information on countering the coronavirus epidemic. To ensure the sustainability of all processes in 2020, Beeline Kazakhstan has implemented a large number of digital solutions based on its own developments in the field of video analytics and Big Data. Thanks to Beeline services, the company's clients were able to work remotely. Furthermore, with declaration of a state of emergency in the country, the issue of tracking the movement of citizens has become acute. As part of the pilot project, the Big Data department has created a service for processing a large array of depersonalized data. Then this project was used to monitor and assess the situation related to state of emergency throughout Kazakhstan. The service also helps to show the effectiveness of measures and the risks of new foci of the disease.
All companies of Veon international telecom holding, including Beeline Kazakhstan, have two main focuses in CSR. Those are support of digital education and support of youth digital entrepreneurship. We continue our work in these areas, but the pandemic has made its own adjustments and expanded our social activities. Thus, during the quarantine period, we provided free communication and Internet to medical workers, granted free access to more than 250 educational and state resources, and introduced “Awesome” special tariff allowing teachers to use communication services at discounted rates. We have provided private schools, universities, institutes and training centers with MS Office 365 software package and 1 TB of cloud space. The remote learning platform includes options for virtual classes, video tutorials, an interactive whiteboard and video conferences.
Beeline didn’t charge pensioners and people with disabilities: all users of the "Social" and "Co-communication+" tariff plans received voice and Internet traffic for free. Our subscribers located outside the country received free Beeline communication packages. To ensure smooth operation of company’s network, the company paid its construction contractors ahead of time. This allowed to keep the jobs in contracting organizations. We have provided our corporate clients with semi-annual free access to a virtual office - a set of software programs for remote work.
House-call has become were in high demand during the pandemic. It was also important to ensure that both doctors and patients observe the stay-at-home restrictions, and Beeline created the Doctor Online mobile application. Every citizen of Kazakhstan could receive round-the-clock consultations, doctors' recommendations, and medical prescriptions.
Beeline helped fellow citizens affected by floods in the Makhtaaral area, Turkestan region in May 2020. The company allocated more than KZT 800 million for construction of 50 houses in Myrzakent new neighborhood.
Beeline Kazakhstan continues to develop 4 strategic directions of its ESG strategy: with the help of new technologies and products, we improve the quality of life and development, education of children and adults, including those with disabilities, help young people, support partnerships with NGOs for sustainable development. Since 2014, 25 social organizations throughout Kazakhstan have been using Beeline's free unlimited high-speed Internet under 'Unlimited Opportunities' project. The company has been allocating grants to Enactus student digital startups for four years. There is Zhyly Zhurek corporate volunteer program, awarded EMBRAS 2020 international award. In general, the company allocated more than KZT 1.5 billion for CSR activities in 2020, outside the budget. Beeline was nominated in "Platinum Partner" award for supporting the National Office of the international student organization Enactus, holding a competition of digital projects among students with the allocation of cash grants.
For over 6 years treatment, education, development and adaptation centers for children with disabilities equipped by Beeline Kazakhstan within the 'Unlimited Opportunities' project are conducting webinars, master classes for parents with participations of doctors and teachers, from Kazakhstan and other countries. During the pandemic, the free high-speed Internet was in a high demand in these social organizations.
Within the framework of Beeline's ESG agenda, Kazakhstan also focuses on improving energy efficiency, combating climate change through appropriate approaches and technologies, including those developed for corporate clients, rational use of resources, and waste management. Best corporate governance practices, integrity, transparency, and information disclosure are among the main focus areas of Beeline Kazakhstan.
The growing interest of key stakeholders of the company to social and environmental aspects of companies' activities became the basis for including ESG reporting in VEON 2020 Annual Report. The company continues to implementation of compliance practices, integrated risk management, responsible supply chain and attention to human rights. The company has also developed and successfully implemented a set of measures for social support of employees during the pandemic and improved procedures for interaction with stakeholders.