Making an impact comes with responsibilities

Making an impact comes with responsibilities

Louise Meijer about social commitment

"A great honour and challenge," is what Louise Meijer calls it. Since last summer she is not only Director Brands, Communication & Media but also Director Corporate Social Responsibility and chairman of the Vodafone Foundation. What are her plans for the near future?

"At VodafoneZiggo we try to be socially responsible in everything we do. Such a company-wide ambition is called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). VodafoneZiggo is one of the main telecom providers. We offer products and services that people not only want, but also need. A few years ago, the internet was labelled one of the primary necessities in life by the Dutch government. For us, though, it’s not all about plain selling these services. After all, someone who offers impactful products and services, also needs to take responsibility to look one step beyond. In other words, teach people to use the product and/or service in a safe way", says Louise.

Social commitment
VodafoneZiggo tries to make people’s life more agreeable, in a number of ways. By offering enjoyment and progress with every connection they make through GigaNet, the network of Vodafone and Ziggo. Community projects have been a part of that for years. Louise’s team developed for example programmes like Online Masters and Welcome Online as a tool to improve people’s digital skills. "We organise missions in which technical employees are dispatched to disaster areas as volunteers, building temporary communication networks. We offer workshops for schools. And we reduce the emission of CO2 by purchasing 100% EU wind energy, by encouraging all our employees to travel by public transport whenever possible and by giving (network) equipment a second life."

In the past six months, the team has defined its focus and ambition for the next two years. "We want everyone in our organisation, in every department, from top to bottom, to become part of our corporate social responsibility ambition", says Louise. "Customers expect no less. They are no longer looking for a product with just a long life, but for a product that has been manufactured in a sustainable way by a brand that is committed to a clean and social world."

With a committed and enthusiastic team, Louise works on projects that put people and planet first. "The agenda of 2020 is already quite full. Next to integrating CSR in every department, we have several actions planned to make the young and the old even more aware of the digital possibilities of today. We participate for example in a Valentine’s action on 14 February with the Alliance Digital Society and as VodafoneZiggo we organise a huge volunteering activity aimed at schools on Girls Day on 2 April of this year. It promises to be inspiring and most of all, a lot of fun."

Down to all levels
"The nice thing about CSR is that it’s felt throughout the organisation. Everyone can do his part. Only recently, a Technology colleague asked us to contribute ideas towards making his work more sustainable. But you can also contribute by teaching digital skills at a primary school for example, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, helping senior citizens at home with video calling or online shopping. From my own experience I can say that it is great fun and valuable too, stepping out of your comfort zone. You experience the importance of what we do, making people’s life easier and more comfortable. In this way we create progress together, and have some fun along the way as well!"