Social InvestmentMore detailed information is available in the MTS Group Sustainability Report for 2019: chapter “Corporate Social Responsibility”, section "Local Communities.
The Company operates in 83 regions of the country and considers issues associated with the development of the territories of its presence and long-term business sustainability as deeply interconnected. Therefore, MTS, being guided by its business strategy, CSR strategy and charity policy, has built and has consistently implemented a comprehensive social investment program.
The strategic objective pursued by MTS in the area of social investment is to improve the quality of living of people and society, to increase safety through rendering a wide array of services and to develop innovations in the area of health care, education and urban infrastructure, as well as in other spheres. With the help of its own services, the Company strives to make the community more transparent and modern, and to raise the awareness of people; to create comfortable environment for life and favorable conditions for self-development, regardless of their place of residence and prosperity.
Most significant social projects of MTS in 2020
For the seventh year in a row, MTS implements an art and charity online project that combines the ideas of talented children development and help to severely ill children. The project mission is to give equal opportunities for creative education to people and teenagers regardless of the place of residence and social status. The project is implemented with support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
On official sites — website pokolenie.mts.ru, in group in Vkontakte, on page in Instagram and in TikTok — children participate in creative competitions, watch workshops, learn from Russian stars.
Unique charity mechanics of the project brings up young philanthropists all over the country. All activities in groups and on the website of Generation M are converted into “live money”, which MTS transfers for treatment of seriously ill children. With their creative activities, the project participants generated more than 20 million rubles, which MTS sent to help 63 children.
Within the project, more than 240 mentors work with children, supervising the educational art program and giving unique opportunities to children. For example, the Tretyakov Gallery supervises the art area, enabling most talented kids to exhibit their work on its venue; GITIS works with future actors online, making it possible for children from remote regions to pass the first audition round, not leaving their home city; TikTok within the project supervises over young bloggers and includes the best of them into a special talent development program; Ecole producer center signs contracts with the best dancers and vocalists and promotes young musicians on the grand stage. Within the project, 638 people from 68 regions received creative lifts and continue their development under the supervision of mentors.
In order to support online activities and to develop the social and cultural sphere, MTS organizes large-scale free events with participation of star masters of the project: concerts of youth idols and popular bloggers “Generation M: Blog&Voice”, photo exhibitions of laureates of the prestigious award World Press Photo, exhibitions of world famous robots, educational tours for young designers “FashionDay of Generation M”, auditions to enter GITIS, etc. In 2020, the events were adapted to the current conditions and were held online.
Special activities of Generation M during the pandemic
The pandemic greatly impacted the sphere of education in general and additional education particularly. The “Generation M” project built on online mechanics has become a quick and effective response to the new challenges. Additional educational streams were created within the project to help parents organize a useful pastime for the kids in isolation. These activities covered more than 40 million people.
The project has become an effective assistant for art universities that were not ready to organize entrance of children under the pandemic environment. MTS together with GITIS, one of the largest theater universities in Russia, implemented the country’s first program of online entrance auditions, which involved the participation of more than 1,000 entrants. The experience was acknowledged to be successful and is planned to be introduced into the university practice in the future periods.
At the same time, in the beginning of self-isolation, when the problems of organizing useful pastime for the kids and absence of personal communication became most challenging, MTS launched a free hotline within the “Generation M” project, where volunteers, including famous writers, actors, journalists, read fairy tales live for the kids of the entire country before sleep and motivated them to creatively develop within a large-scale readers’ competition. Partners with a deep expertise, administrative and information resources were engaged in the project, e.g. the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Children’s Library, the faculty of journalism of the Moscow State University, the Russian Movement of Schoolchildren, TV Channel Mult, children’s radio and others. The jury of the readers’ competition included the presenters of the children’s TV shows Alexey Lysenko and Oksana Fedorova, DJs of the “Children’s Radio” Ale-Alena and Garik, co-chairman of the Russian Children’s Movement Yana Churikova, Russian pilot cosmonaut Alexander Laveykin, captain of the atomic ice-breaker “50 let Pobedy” Dmitry Lobusov and others. The jury members recorded the videos of them reading their favorite fairy tales and challenged children to read their fairy tales and take part in the competition.
The project united people around a socially significant initiatives on the volunteering basis, provided the opportunities to create and help others, gave tools to the families for children development and organization of their useful pastime with high-quality content. More than 400 people from 20 regions of Russia participated in the project as volunteers. According to the volunteers’ feedback, for many of them the project became an opportunity to handle stress caused by the self-isolation. The number of calls to the hotline exceeded 50 thousand. Calls were coming from all regions of Russia, their duration was 3,870 hours (approximately five months of continuous reading). Children enjoyed such a format — a pool of “permanent listeners” quickly formed within the project. Every tenth child after reading the first fairy tale asked for the second one.
Awards and achievements of the “Generation M” project in 2020
- The volunteering promotion “Into a fairy tale from your home” was awarded with appreciation of the President of the Russian Federation as an effective project aimed at social support of citizens in the period of coronavirus infection.
- The project won the nomination “Local Communities” of the All-Russian Competition of Projects in the Sphere of Corporate Volunteering “Champions of Good Deeds”.
- “Generation M” became a finalist of PROBA AWARDS 2020 in the “Social Project” nomination.
In 2020, MTS launched a comprehensive federal project “Power Place”. In close cooperation with national parks, wildlife reserves and urban territories, MTS develops technological products in the sphere of environment with the aim to develop ecotourism and to foster responsible attitude towards nature among the Russian people. Thus, for example, in cooperation with the national park “Leopard Land”, MTS uses the artificial intelligence technologies for automatic recognition of Far Eastern leopards, tigers and other animals on photographs from cameras installed in the territory of the wildlife reserve and the national park, to study and preserve the rare species of animals.
In order to promote the territories, MTS, jointly with the experts, creates exciting VR films, develops audio guides along the routes of national parks, develops eco paths, installs camera traps that allow for seeing rare animals in their natural habitat, publishes books about the flora and fauna of the country’ specially protected areas, their cultural features and much more. For instance, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, MTS has created a 360° VR movie, a walk along the most popular route of the Stolby National Park: the viewers can virtually walk along the forest paths between the famous rocks and climb one of them. As a continuation of the project, a book about the phenomenon of “stolbism”, a unique local subculture, was created. The book was compiled engaging a wide audience and consists of real stories of Krasnoyarsk stolbists (rock climbers), each of whom is a true legend.
Within the Place of Power project, MTS also opens eco classes in the regions, conducts special lessons for schoolchildren, and supports the cultural traditions of the national protected areas.
Digital services and other solutions within the project framework have already been introduced in the territories of the Kenozersky, Krasnoyarskie Stolby, Pleshcheyevo Ozero, Samarskaya Luka National Parks, in the Aptekarsky Ogorod Botanical Garden, etc.
“Culture Code” is a volunteer project of the Company’s employees, whose goal is to preserve and support cultural values and initiatives that are unique to the territories: developing creative technologies, preserving cultural monuments, supporting craft schools and unique craftsmen, initiative local communities and movements, as well as original regional events and exhibitions, art objects.
At year-end 2020, the project covered 52 regions. Digitalization of the existing objects of cultural and historical heritage for accessible online study and visiting was among the priority formats: in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, we showed the northern lights over one of the most inaccessible and most beautiful places in the country, the Putorana Plateau, using MTS VR technologies; in Yakutia, MTS volunteers digitized the exhibits and created an electronic catalog of the Cherkhek Museum, which was submitted to the official cultural and tourist websites of the region; in Veliky Novgorod, our volunteers helped the Museum of the Narrow-Gauge Railway with streaming equipment and the first online tour in the history of the museum was created and subsequently watched by more than 60 thousand people. These and many other projects were implemented with the direct participation of branch directors: they actively engaged the audience through social media, while their social media accounts became a discussion platform for local residents, B2B partners and the authorities.
Help to local communities
Since 2016, MTS has been implementing a comprehensive program of social investment in the field of supporting local communities. In this regard, we interact with independent groups of people who, not being charitable foundations, try to solve social problems that are important for their local environment by uniting in communities of interest. A characteristic feature of such local groups is the social significance of their activities.
The Company’s approach involves deep immersion into the life of the community and providing assistance aimed at solving a specific issue that is important at that very moment. Once the issue of the community is identified, MTS offers assistance in various formats.
- Volunteer help by our employees — such help shows that we share common values and are ready to help not only in word, but also in deed.
- Purchase of equipment, inventory, payment for logistics to solve urgent community issues — we undertake the entire cycle of negotiations related to ordering, payment, delivery of goods and services necessary for the community.
- Help with content (arrangement of lectures by MTS employees and invited lecturers on the topics relevant to the community: from lectures on Big Data for students of regional universities to webinars on child psychology for parent communities).
In 2020, MTS implemented 496 projects to help local communities throughout the country, the number of end beneficiaries exceeded 500 thousand people. Thus, for example, in the midst of the powerful forest fires, MTS helped volunteer firefighters: in 11 regions of Russia by promptly purchasing equipment and overalls for extinguishing fires. During the pandemic, MTS actively helped volunteer teams by purchasing food sets and essential goods for those in need; arranging call centers and free communication; providing volunteers with bicycles and scooters for prompt delivery of assistance and with the necessary equipment (laptops, portable chargers).
Having provided assistance to the community, we do not stop communicating with its participants, but identify additional needs of the community members that the Company could meet with the help of an ecosystem of our own digital products and other social projects. On the basis of the trusting relationships built, we form a larger community of people who are not indifferent to the regional issues, as well as engage corporate clients, partners and regional authorities. This allows for expanding the volunteer audience and the community members become our volunteers on other projects.
“Memory of Victory”
Within the “Poplar of Victory” project, MTS engages volunteers to preserve the memory of the Great Patriotic War. Schoolchildren, communications veterans and war veterans, government officials, as well as MTS employees, plant seedlings of the legendary Stalingrad poplar, a living witness of the heroic defense of Stalingrad, in their regions. This poplar is the only tree that survived the bloody Battle of Stalingrad, which almost wiped out the city from the face of the earth. Despite the fact that its entire trunk is covered with the “wounds” of war, in the spring of 1943, once Stalingrad was liberated, the tree bloomed again symbolizing the victory of life over death and the invincibility of the Russian people.
Poplar, a witness to the heroic history of the city, its grandeur and drama, was known only in his native Volgograd. This heart-pounding story remained unknown to a wide audience. Therefore, in 2017, MTS initiated a project that would tell the entire country about this amazing tree reminding Russians of the great feat of our fellow countrymen, preserving and perpetuating the country’s military and historical heritage for future generations.
Over the four years of the campaign, thousands of people have planted the sprouts of the legendary Volgograd poplar: the Company’s employees, students, war veterans, subscribers and partners of MTS. Today, this piece of the Great Victory is growing in more than 60 regions of Russia.
In 2020, the year filled with new challenges, the “Poplar of Victory” project was held in a non-standard format. Provided self-isolation, we invited people to join our campaign and plant trees in their summer cottages in loving memory of their relatives — participants in the Great Patriotic War and homefront workers — using the official hashtag #thelandremembers. Hundreds of people across the country supported the MTS campaign by planting trees in memory of their heroes.
“Urban Legends” is a project to involve people, the general public, in the creation of modern innovative products. It aims to support and develop domestic tourism and create modern digital services with unique content. With the participation of city dwellers and local experts being local historians, general historians, journalists and city activists, unusual audio city guides are created. Their main focus is not on the well-known tourist attractions, which can be found in almost every guidebook, but on those that are appreciated and loved by the locals, on the places and events associated with them and revealing the flavor and features of each city best.
Thousands of residents from different parts of the country take part in the creation of each route. They propose their ideas, share their favorite places and vote for the best ones online. The audio routes are targeted at both local residents and guests of the regions. They are meant for self-guided sightseeing with a sound tour hosted on the popular travel platforms izi.TRAVEL and Surprise Me. Before starting the tour, it is enough to install a free mobile app on your smartphone and then follow its tips. You can use the guide even without Internet connection and at any convenient time.
Nowadays, MTS mobile audio tours have been launched in more than 30 regions of the country. They have already been used by about 100 thousand people.
And even in 2020, which divided the whole world into “before” and “after”, the “Urban Legends” project successfully developed and added new “legends”. The interest in it from the users grew 1.5 times higher. Due to the epidemic situation and closed borders, Russians stayed in their regions and preferred exploring local attractions. On the hardest lockdown days, while on vacation, they could virtually “walk” exploring not only their native places, but also other cities of interest to them.
Project for digital awareness and cybersecurity
MTS has been consistently implementing comprehensive programs aimed at teaching digital literacy to two audiences: young schoolchildren and older people.
The gramota.mts.ru portal helps eliminate the digital divide, familiarize the older generation with the capabilities of modern mobile devices and the Internet, show modern technologies and services able to simplify a person’s life in a variety of life situations: from taking medications to sports activities and maintaining an active lifestyle. The project allows for involving people who were not previously familiar with technology into the country’s digital economy. Training on the portal is free, and the online format enables people with limited mobility or those who live in remote areas of Russia to learn mobile technology.
The training structure is intuitive and designed even for inexperienced technology users: to complete the training course, the user registers on the portal and takes lessons in any sequence. After each lesson, the user is asked to answer a few simple questions to check how well the topic has been mastered. The completion of each lesson is reflected on the progress bar in their personal account. Once the entire course is completed, the user receives a special certificate. One can interrupt and resume training at any time, the progress will be saved and available the next time the user enters the portal.
In order to protect children from negative content and fraudulent resources and at the same time teach them to use the network capabilities for study and development, MTS, together with psychologists from the Moscow State University, developed a “Useful and Safe Internet” class in 2011, which became the basis of the Children on the Internet federal educational project. The methodology of the lesson was issued by the Federal Education Development Institute. Throughout the course of its existence, the program has established itself as a reliable and effective tool to increase elementary students’ digital competencies.
Educational project “MTS/Media”
MTS/Media specializes in creating educational and auxiliary materials and promoting them to different target audiences. The finished content is posted on the principal website media.mts.ru in the mts.ru website sections and the Company’s landing pages, in My MTS, MTS Cashback and MTS 120/80 (stories format) apps, as well as on the MTS/Media blog on Yandex.Zen.
The key task of MTS/Media is promoting technologies and presenting complex topics in a simple language. Thus, MTS appears for its readers in the role of an assistant by offering them ready-made solutions and useful tools for work, everyday life and leisure.
Embedding MTS/Media materials into direct customer channels (SMS, email newsletters, welcome programs, etc.) allows for the native promotion of services and products, strengthening the image of MTS as a digital company supporting a whole ecosystem of basic and innovative services for mass market and B2B audience.
In 2020, more than 1,200 publications were posted on the MTS/Media website and blog. They collected more than 15.2 million views, including 2 million views of socially-focused materials, which were especially in demand last year.
Traditionally, relying on topical communities in social media, hundreds of posts were made on the MTS/Media CSR content. The topics related to taxes, social benefits and digital literacy were supplemented by the publications related to the pandemic in one way or another: health, work and lifestyle. The total coverage of MTS/Media CSR communications exceeded 75 million people.
25 travel guides have been prepared for certain regions of Russia on the basis of MTS/Media. MTS subscribers, guests of the region, get a link to the travel guide upon arrival, which contains interesting information and recommendations for leisure. By the end of 2021, it is planned to bring the number of travel guides to 50.
In 2020, MTS/Media was redesigned, which made the website more mobile-friendly, accelerated page loading and improved the site search. In 2021, the redesign will end with the introduction of new formats: tests, quizzes, polls and stories. It is planned to integrate into other client channels, digital products and MTS showcases, develop a B2B channel on Yandex.Zen.
The concept of an inclusive society is an integral part of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda and is included into the scope of interests of the main international platforms and investors around the world.
In 2020, MTS continued scaling up the projects in the area of inclusion by the availability of services, hiring people with disabilities and elderly people, building a culture within the Company and supporting inclusive communities.
- Within the development of the projects “MTS is a company for everyone” and “MTS Day”, the Company took the initiative to arrange a series of educational events for the target audience of applicants 40+, 50+ at the regional Employment Centers (EC) in Ryazan, Barnaul, Orel, Nizhny Novgorod and people with disabilities. The Company’s experts have developed and conducted a training program for candidates in CV writing, interviewing, and the use of modern mobile technologies for life. More than 200 jobseekers of this age category received employment skills and entered the MTS jobseeker database.
- MTS supports professional retraining programs for deaf and acoustically challenged citizens to work as assistants selling telecommunications services. A pilot for the employment of people with hearing disabilities at the RTC sales offices was launched, within the framework of which employees, mentors, managers and candidates were trained, including in Russian sign language.
- MTS supports the “Path to Career” competition for people with disabilities. Its purpose is
- professional realization and successful employment of proactive and talented specialists with disabilities in leading Russian and international companies.
- For the second year consecutive, MTS has been supporting the project “Dobroshrift” (Font of Kindness) aimed at drawing the attention of a wide audience to the issues faced by people with cerebral palsy.
- MTS supports an inclusive society: International film festivals about the life of people with disabilities “Cinema without barriers” and socially oriented films, videos and social advertising “LAMPA” having gathered together 80 movies from 30 countries; more than 4,000 people became viewers and participants of online events.
“Simply Do Good!” volunteer movement
MTS has a large-scale volunteer movement, which, according to estimates, brought together more than 7,500 employees from different regions of Russia in 2020, the coverage of the engaged audience amounted to 15 million people, and the coverage of communication exceeded 400 million.
Volunteering at MTS is an integral part of our internal code. It is a community bringing together not only employees, but also thousands of people outside the Company. Together, we help those who suffer hardships, preserve the unique cultural features of the regions of Russia, arrange bright events and much more. By doing this, we unite generations and make the world a brighter and kinder place.
- A survey on volunteering among MTS Group employees at the end of 2020 showed that 62% of respondents took part in volunteer initiatives removed. The most popular direction among the respondents is support and assistance to orphans, as well as environmental initiatives, fundraising, assistance to the elderly and seriously ill, donation, support for cultural events. During the pandemic, the first place was taken by collecting donations (30%) and the delivery of food and medicine (18%).
- In April 2020, MTS employees joined the #WeareTogether campaign, and on a daily basis, volunteer operators went online to advise and help elderly and people with limited mobility. In the All-Russian volunteer corps #WeareTogether more than 118 985 people entered, and 3 450 646 people received assistance. The fight against the pandemic has united the country and people in solving common problems.
- In December 2020, the annual MTS conference “Business Responsibility and Volunteering” was held live. More than 500 employees from MTS, MTS Bank, MGTS, RTC, MTS Media, Sistema PJSFC and others took part in the conference.
Mobile Fairytale Puppet Theater
An example of the creative potential development of MTS volunteer employees is participation in the work of the Mobile Fairy Tales Theater.
A lot of interesting educational content was created during the work of the MTS volunteer puppet theater, “Mobile Fairytale Puppet Theater”, including for children with hearing disabilities. Puppet video performances with sign language translation and subs have already been created: “Children on the Internet” safety rules on the World Wide Web, “New Year’s Crime Story” on New Year’s adventures of Santa Claus, “Simple Rules” on traffic rules and “Adventures of Econeshka” eco-play.
MTS considers environmental protection activities as an integral component of business and works in the area of environmental balance and stability maintenance. In an effort to minimize even an insignificant impact on nature, MTS manages the sources of its own environmental impact.
Traditionally, MTS has implemented educational projects aimed at creating an environmental culture of employees and raising their awareness of the need for rational consumption of natural resources, the benefits of separate waste collection and the use of products from recycled materials.
- The annual ecological holiday “Eco Day with MTS” is one of the most large-scale initiatives. As part of a series of educational events, employees get familiar with important topics, get the opportunity to learn about an environmental problem and, most importantly, about the ways to solve it.
- Within the EcoOffice project, separate collection of paper, batteries and plastic was organized. In 2020, >1.8 tons of batteries and spent power components, >4.8 tons of waste paper and >250 kg of plastic lids were transferred for recycling.
MTS pays special attention to the program of disposing of telecommunication equipment, within which the spent devices are sold back to the manufacturer, sold to other companies on a competitive basis, or agreements with specialized recycling companies are concluded.
- The “Strategy of Energy Savings and Energy Efficiency” effective at MTS is aimed at restraint upon the growth and reducing electric energy specific consumption.
- Since 2019, MTS has been implementing a comprehensive Carbon Management project. The Company joined the GSMA global initiative to develop an industry-specific roadmap of activities to minimize the impact of the telecommunications industry on climate change in accordance with the Paris Agreement aimed at curbing the global warming. In 2020, MTS received a high B (Management) score from the experts of the Carbon Disclosure
Project (CDP)The full version of MTS’s 2020 Climate Impact Questionnaire can be viewed by registering on the CDP website.significantly strengthening its position in terms of disclosing data on MTS Group’s carbon footprint.
Eco Lessons by MTS
Throughout the country, within the framework of the project “For Children about the Planet”, MTS conducts eco-lessons, which were attended by more than 380 thousand schoolchildren, as well as 14.5 thousand teachers, educators and volunteers. With the third MTS eco-lesson “Who is an ecotourist and why does he need a smartphone ”, developed for children of primary and secondary school age, you can read by registering on the site.
Green Marathon project
More than 1.2 thousand employees from 21 companies of Sistema PJSFC Group took part in the Green Marathon. The initiative was not only educational, but also competitive. During the marathon, the participants completed more than 20 eco-related tasks gaining points for each of them.
Responsible business and sustainable development
MTS pays special attention to educational events for contractors and partners, including the annual conference “Responsible business. To be better every day. ” In 2020 to the live broadcast of the event 1.4 thousand participants connected, among which heads of major Russian and international companies, activity coordinators in the field of sustainable development, representatives of public organizations, consulting companies, banks, NGOs, Global Compact UN, PR-, GR-, HR-, IR-procurement management units, as well as employees of the MTS Group. Demonstrating commitment to principles of integrity and transparency in interaction with all stakeholder groups has become the presentation at the conference of the Annual Report on sustainable development of the MTS Group.
- MTS platform was launched an online course of eight video lessons for employees and external stakeholders parties “Sustainable Business Development Management”, the value of which has increased significantly.
Development of territories of presence
MTS actively interacts with federal and regional authorities and local communities under projects that support the development not only of the business, but also of the territories of presence. MTS projects are aimed at eliminating the digital divide, creating an effective system of social entrepreneurship, solving key environmental issues, educating and creatively developing children, and preserving the historical heritage. The greatest value for us is the support of these projects by volunteer employees of MTS.
The Company is actively developing digital services using the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, cloud technology, Big Data, the introduction of which allows for structurally influencing the change in energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in various industries, municipal services and the social sphere of the regions. In particular, MTS has effective solutions in the field of environmental monitoring, digitalization of collection and processing of household waste, geo-analytical projects, when “digital copies” of cities are created on the basis of MTS Big Data, as well as “smart” solutions for the generation and routing of traffic flows.
Social Innovation Competition Social Idea
In 2020, the Social Idea anniversary contest of MTS was held in support of the development of social innovations and territories of presence.
A team from Vladivostok won in the Social Mobile nomination with the “Open City” project. It is a navigation system helping build a healthy civil society through targeted charity. The city dwellers develop trust in each other and a desire to cooperate and help not only their loved ones, but also strangers.
WinBin became the winning project in the Social Region Project nomination. It is a unique system for sorting waste and collecting recyclable materials using smart containers: they open up once activated using a smartphone app and take into account the waste weight (sensitivity of up to 10 grams). Cashback is accrued according to the weight of the waste sent to the container.
The first place in the Smart City nomination was given to the “Talking City” project stating an acute social issue of the movement of the blind in the urban environment. Pedestrian and underground passages, staircases and busy street sections pose serious obstacles to them. Therefore, the Talking City team created an audio notification system for visually impaired people about the surroundings, potentially dangerous areas, as well as useful locations: shops, hospitals and recreation areas.
The winners in each nomination will receive an educational Social Tour to Karelia, where they will be able to finalize their projects together with experts and “land&” them for further implementation and scaling up.