VP & Head – Technology, Government & Industry Relations,
Sustainability & Corp Ericsson India Private Limited
Manoj Dawane took charge as Head of the unit Technology, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility for Region India with effect from November 11, 2013. He is a part of the region’s core leadership team. Manoj is recognized expert on the subjects of Technology, MVAS and Marketing in Telecom and has been a member of various industry bodies in India. In his career, Manoj was instrumental in pioneering the prepaid cellular revolution in India, having been involved in the first retail prepaid business called ACE for Hutchinson Max Telecom (now Vodafone) in 1997. He also introduced ‘Info Services’ on the mobile with marketing and entertainment based services during this time frame, paving the way for ‘VAS’ as an important facet of operator offering to the consumer
Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the CSR domain.
I was appointed the Head of the Technology, GIR (Government & Industry Relations) and Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility for Region India at Ericsson India Private Limited in November, 2013. My aim is to establish a stronger industry position for Ericsson, and as part of the region’s core leadership team, to sharpen technology leadership in the Telecom sector. Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for Ericsson India Private Limited also falls within my purview. However, saying this and having worked in the Telecom sector for a significant period I have had a long term interest in Technology for Good and the opportunities of synergy between CSR and the technology domain.
How has the CSR & sustainability program evolved at your company?
Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility is Central to Ericsson’s core business and commitment to the triple bottom, line of responsible economic and environmental performance and socio-economic development. By 2020, 90% of the world’s population will be covered by mobile broadband networks. This scale brings unprecedented opportunity to address global sustainable development challenges through Technology for Good in the Networked Society – where everyone who is connected has the ability to reach their potential. Our earlier Sustainability goals were driven by the Millennium Development Goals and are now framed within the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
At Ericsson India we have used this opportunity to frame our CSR projects within the ambit of Education using Technology for Good. These projects focus over various age groups and locations offering education support for schooling, introduction to digital skills, livelihood support and education for participation in the global economy. The focus on education is necessary as the ability to partake in the Networked Society requires a minimum level of understanding and confidence with digital skills which is a running theme in the CSR projects implemented in India.
Tell us about someone (mentor, sponsor, friend, hero) who affected your CSR & sustainability journey, and how.
For me the biggest influence has to be Elaine Weidman. Elaine is Vice President and Global Head of CSR & Sustainability of Ericsson .My interest in CSR & Sustainability grew while I was heading Engagement Practices for Ericsson India and was closely working with Elaine to provide support for some of the projects that Elaine’s team was working on. Elaine’s connect with the world which needs support, her vision of creating sustainability ecosystems and a genuine appreciation of technology enabling this purpose really had a solid impression on me. So she continues to be the North Star as far as I am concerned in the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility area of business and society.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
”If you look after yourself in a structured way, you can do a lot more and contribute exponentially to the ecosystem around”. This insight is amongst the best advice I have ever got. By inculcating it in my day to day life I have been able to become a better human being and trying to make a difference, be it at home or at work.
Can you share a recent accomplishment you are especially proud of in your CSR & Sustainability role?
Ericsson India Private Limited recently won the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Social Responsibility. The Golden Peacock Awards are widely recognized as one of the highest awards for excellence in CSR and recognition from such an esteemed awarding body gives greater visibility to the excellence of our policies, internal systems and processes, specific development projects and program partners.
This acknowledges the scale and success of our projects in Education, livelihoods and the Networked Society while also giving us the greater challenge of continuing to make significant impacts in socio-economic development in the country. The winning of this award is a demonstration of our collective efforts in making a positive difference in the world and assisting our employees in being a part of this change.
If you had the power to make one major change at your company or in your industry, what would it be?
Technology for Good is the key platform for social change. It is imperative to recognize this across not just telecom and IT but across all industries so they can better align themselves to assisting the socio economic development of the world. A significant proportion of the world still lives in poverty or under difficult circumstances with lack of access to education, decent work and effective healthcare. If we are to make a significant positive impact towards improving the lives of these people then we have to acknowledge the role of technology in making massive change possible. It is similarly imperative for all areas of Governance to recognize the role of technology in transforming education, healthcare, livelihoods, agriculture and much more. This has already been recognized in India through the Digital India mission but the efficiencies and greater productivities afforded through technology can be replicated across the board in the delivery of social good and we should all examine our contribution to this cause.