Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading total communications provider, today announced that the company has been officially recognized as a certified B-Corp. Roshan is the first company in Afghanistan to achieve this prestigious B-Corp status and leads the way for other Afghan businesses to gain recognition for ethical business practices. The status also highlights that companies can successfully invest in Afghanistan as a business as well as having a social conscience and positive socio-economic impact on a country. Becoming a B-Corp makes Roshan the first company in Afghanistan to join over 600 companies in 24 countries from around the world that have obtained the highly coveted designation.
The company is also collaborating with B Lab to make the B Impact Assessment more appropriate for developing countries as it expands internationally. Roshan’s collaboration with B-Corp is part of its heritage as an Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) Group company, where it is committed to bring best practice and world class standards wherever it operates.
The B Impact Assessment analyzes companies and reviews corporate governance, financial metrics, community engagement and environmental practices. And, it explicitly highlights Roshan for investing in the reconstruction of Afghanistan by increasing access to telecommunications services and mobile banking through M-Paisa. Roshan also scored high on the assessment for model human resources policies and workforce development practices including hiring and training employees from chronically underemployed communities including women. Today, almost twenty percent of Roshan’s workforce are women.
Since launching operations in Afghanistan ten years ago, Roshan has made a significant contribution to the rebuilding and social development of the country. The company has invested over $550 million in the country and has created 1,300 direct and over 40,000 indirect jobs.
“Roshan is committed to being a different kind of company that believes in harnessing the power of telecommunications to bring about measureable change in Afghanistan,” Karim Khoja, Roshan Chief Executive Officer said. “This certification further validates that and our vision as a benchmark as an emerging market telecommunications company that focuses on our customers, stakeholders and employees, providing quality and value in an ethical manner while contributing to the social and economic development of Afghanistan” Khoja added.
Roshan has also focused on development through Roshan Community, the company’s corporate social responsibility arm. By leveraging the company’s resources, technology and employees, Roshan Community has introduced many innovative programs including:
In 2012, served over half a million meals, through a partnership with Afghan NGO Aschiana, constructed three playgrounds bringing Roshan’s overall total to 23 some of which are in the most insecure parts of the country and expanded its Telemedicine Project to connect the Faizabad hospital with the Bamyan Hospital in Central Afghanistan, the French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul and the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, thereby increasing delivery of medical care to the most remote regions of Afghanistan and enabling remote diagnosis and medical personnel training.
· Roshan has also installed 32 E-learning Centers, which provide public schools in rural parts of Afghanistan containers powered by solar panels housing laptops and other communications equipment within public schools around the country;
· A joint NGO partnership for a WaterTracker Service, which gives populations in rural areas the ability to call the company’s free of charge Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to find out the status of their local water well, or report a fault. To date, of the over 100 wells Roshan has built throughout the country, 30 wells have been restored as a direct result of such interventions;
· A joint Roshan and NGO project for the establishment of Women’s Public Call Offices (WPCOs). The project offers women an opportunity to earn an income while learning key business skills. Each WPCO operator is supplied with a business kit at a subsidized rate. The kit contains a handset, SIM card, antenna, charger, an initial amount of talk time and a Roshan PCO business signboard.
“Roshan achieved B Corp certification in recognition for everything it does, and continues to do as an impact company. We are humbled to have such an inspirational company achieve B Corp certification for their great efforts in improving the lives of their employees, the local community, and rebuilding the vital infrastructure needed for Afghanistan to thrive. The B Corp movement was started to shine a light on companies that are the best for the world, and we’re excited to confirm that Roshan is one of them.” Dermot Hikisch, Head of Community Development, B Lab.
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan’s leading total communications provider with over six million active subscribers and a network that covers over 230 cities and towns in all of the country’s 34 provinces.
Certified B Corporations 1) meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance; 2) legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests; and 3) build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand. As of May 2012, there are over 530 Certified B Corporations from over 60 industries, representing a diverse multi-billion marketplace.
B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Lab drives systemic change through three interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and just good marketing; 2) accelerating the growth of the impact investing asset class through use of B Lab’s GIIRS impact rating system by institutional investors; and 3) promoting supportive public policies, including creation of a new corporate form and tax, procurement, and investment incentives for sustainable business.