Creating positive change, one act at a time: why corporate volunteering matters
Louise Hughes, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson Europe and Latin America
“I've always believed that people remember how you made them feel, not just what you do or say. At Ericsson, our volunteering program entitles every employee to one working day per year for volunteering, helping them to feel connected to their communities and a part of something meaningful” emphasizes Louise Hughes, Head of Sustainability & CR, Europe & Latin America.
For her, corporate citizenship involves connecting colleagues, fostering a sense of belonging and advocating for causes that need support.
Though Louise joined Ericsson just eight months ago, volunteering has long been her passion, driving her to a company focused on genuine impact: “I was drawn to Ericsson by my desire to make a real impact. Here, sustainability isn't just a campaign or about reporting; it's a longstanding commitment reflected in our pioneering actions that have been steadily growing for decades. The data-driven approach, possibly influenced by the engineering focus, guides everything we do. Our substantial investments in sustainability, which I’m thrilled will be further supported by the recent sustainability green bond, aim to enhance energy efficiency and reduce our energy footprint passed on to customers."
"With a background in the corporate world, I am familiar with the skepticism that sometimes surrounds the implementation of sustainability programs. Ericsson's authenticity and foundation in research and development convinced me. This grounding allows me to engage confidently in impactful initiatives rooted in reality. Personally, my interest in sustainability, especially in education, was shaped by my previous role at Vodafone. I witnessed the profound impact of digital education, especially during the COVID era, underscoring its importance worldwide,” she says.
Louise has actively participated in various volunteer initiatives, contributing significantly to Ericsson's response to flooding in Libya and her team have led virtual volunteering programs in Mexico. She highlights the versatility of volunteering, transcending physical limitations and connecting like-minded colleagues globally.
"As part of the communications function, we used our skills to create STEM-focused videos for young people, covering diverse topics like space exploration and media. Our Connect to Learn programs, reliant on volunteers, offer a range of educational experiences, from lessons in robotics to discussions on 5G standards at universities. Accessible quality education for everyone drives these initiatives."
The commitment to corporate citizenship is reflected in employee satisfaction and future workforce needs. Recent graduate recruits like Charlie bring valuable experiences and a passion for volunteering, creating a ripple effect. “It's about genuinely driving initiatives, appealing especially to the younger workforce, beyond mere checkboxes!"
Highlights from 2023
Libyan Flood Response: Ericsson deployed Ericsson Response volunteers in Libya, partnering with the United Nations World Food Programme to provide two months of assistance after floodings. The team provides ICT support to responders and relief efforts. This deployment exemplifies the dedication of Ericsson Response, a global volunteer program within Ericsson. This program collaborates with UN agencies and various humanitarian partners, aiming primarily to support connectivity services during humanitarian crises. With a track record of supporting over 70 missions across 40 countries, including responses to natural disasters and refugee contexts, Ericsson Response supports communication in crisis-hit areas. This facilitates coordination among humanitarian organizations, enabling them to efficiently deliver vital relief to affected communities.
Empowering Women in STEM: Partnering with Solas Project in Ireland, volunteers participated in an educational webinar aimed at creating STEM-based educational videos. These videos were specifically designed to simplify complex concepts, making more accessible for young girls. The goal was to inspire and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM fields. The initiative impacted 60 individuals.
Climate awareness through virtual volunteering: Ericsson Volunteers collaborated with Fundación Montecito in Colombia, engaging 900 colleagues to create conversation cards on climate change. The objective was to raise awareness, inspire action, and foster discussions about the impact of climate change on our planet. One of the volunteers commented: “Every effort, no matter how small, can make a significant contribution towards creating a better world. Each small action adds up to create change, and together we can make a meaningful impact on the environment and our communities.”
Colombia Reforestation: On December 16th, 180 Ericsson Volunteers in Colombia will plant 360 trees near Bogotá, contributing to environmental sustainability. In compliance with local law, which requires Colombian companies to plant at least two trees per employee per year, Ericsson will contribute to the restoration of a native forest in the Tenjo Cundinamarca municipality, supported by volunteer activity partner Goodera and non-profit organization, Saving the Amazon.
Autonomy of Choice: Through the Ericsson Volunteers portal, employees can dedicate one day a year to volunteering, and by choosing causes aligned with their values can get a sense of fulfillment beyond their regular job. The initiative serves as a gateway for employees to actively participate in meaningful causes and initiatives, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.
Charlie Stubley, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Graduate, Ericsson Europe and Latin America
Charlie embodies a fervent drive for bringing about concrete results and sparking meaningful change. With a background in sustainability studies, Charlie's journey reflects a profound desire to move beyond theories and dive into hands-on efforts that drive impactful initiatives. "The need to contribute directly to impactful initiatives was why I joined the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility team," Charlie explains.
“Tangible impact and contributing to real change were the driving forces for me. My background in sustainability studies and my deep-rooted passion for making a difference led me to actively seek opportunities beyond theoretical understanding – to move beyond the university classroom to the real world. I was keen to be part of an organization where my values aligned, emphasizing practical actions for sustainability – a key component for the next generation. We are often labeled as the 'Greta Thunberg generation,' and I believe there is some truth in that, as we are passionate about joining companies that prioritize tangible on-the-ground actions and witnessing genuine, concrete impacts.
Notably, I am very interested in being a part of the Tech for Good movement, which strongly resonated with me. I'm excited about participating in a global virtual mentorship program Technovation, where we will dedicate time towards mentoring girls in STEM to use technology to be leaders and problem solvers. It's an annual event where a collective effort toward meaningful change takes shape.
I honestly believe that the power to effect real change lies within each of us – embracing corporate volunteering as a cornerstone of our professional journey, and collectively striving towards a brighter, more impactful future. If you work to empower, you’re empowered to work!"
Fueling change agents: Unleashing corporate citizenship's power to empower the workforce
At its core, companies hold the key to unlocking the immense potential of corporate citizenship, transforming professional trajectories into dynamic avenues for societal impact. Embracing volunteerism not only signifies a dedication to community advancement, but also injects a profound sense of purpose into daily work life. Through championing initiatives like the Ericsson Volunteers portal, the company cultivates an environment where individuals actively champion causes that resonate with their values, elevating their sense of fulfillment and magnifying their contributions beyond conventional job boundaries.
Read about previous Ericsson Response initiatives:
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