Corporate social responsibility
Rostelecom considers its social responsibility projects to be the most important part of the Company’s corporate social responsibility policy” on both the national and regional level. The Company is engaged in social activities and has been investing in solving social issues for over ten years.
Rostelecom’s mission is not only to provide high-quality telecommunications services to its clients, but also help to develop local communities in regions where the Company operates, to promote a stable social environment and improve the quality of life where it possible.
Rostelecom’s infrastructure, telecommunications resources, large range of services and strong links with regional authorities enables it to solve problems facing different social groups, including veterans and disabled people. The Company’s resources also puts it in a strong position to solve more global social issues including healthcare, education, sport, protecting the environment and culture.
Rostelecom implements important social projects on a long-term basis across the Russian Federation from Kaliningrad in the west to Sakhalin in the east, facilitating solutions for the most pressing social issues.
Supporting professional education
In 2013 Rostelecom supported the following specialised higher education institutions and vocational schools: Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics; The Bonch-Bruevich Saint - Petersburg State University of Telecommunications; Siberian State University Of Telecommunications and Information Sciences (SIBSUTIS) and the College of Telecommunications and Information Sciences (SIBSUTIS). Rostelecom’s own departments continued to work with these primary institutions throughout 2013 as part of its innovative development programme.
The overall aim of supporting professional education establishments is to improve their facilities, support student initiatives and societies, offer student scholarships and organise internships for participating students in one of Rostelecom’s business departments.
Using state-of-the-art technology for education and children’s creativity
In February 2013, Rostelecom organised a series of music master classes for young musicians in four Russian towns – Sochi, Ekaterinburg, Novokuybyshevsk (Samara region) and Yaroslavl – as part of the 6th International Winter Arts Festival in Sochi. This was made possible through the use of multi-party video conferencing, which linked the Chamber Music Hall in Sochi to concert venues in each of the four towns, which were equipped with modern videoconferencing systems. This gave young musicians and their teachers the unique opportunity to take part in virtual lessons with the great musicians Yury Bashmet and James Galway. It also allowed participants to ask questions on the secrets of mastering musical instruments in real time.
Internet safety projects
In order to protect children and adolescents from illegal internet content, Rostelecom offers customers the “Child at Home” service in all its tariff plans. The Company is also implementing a national project to provide web content filtering services to schools.
In addition to providing technical solutions to internet safety issues, in 2013 Rostelecom ran a series of communications initiatives around internet safety in the Russian regions. These included the parents meetings “Children Online”, “Internet Safety in Schools”, “Children’s Video Clip Contest”, “Social Poster Competition”, as well as the all-Russia pedagogical development competition “Safe Internet”. These events were aimed at different audiences - children, teachers, parents and the general public. The range of issues covered at these included dealing with malware, spam, fraud, malicious content and so on.
Youth Olympiads and competitions
Alongside supporting professional education, the Company supports a range of competitions in the regions, the aim of which is to stimulate creative interest in in modern computer technology among both school-aged children and students’ and to involve them in the practical use of internet technology and computer graphics.
Rostelecom’s active support of the International Student IT Olympiad, IT-Planet, in 2013 demonstrates the Company’s commitment to this area.
The “Grandma Online and Grandpa Online” initiative
Programmes to improve the elderly’s computer literacy have been some of Rostelecom’s most far-reaching projects over the past few years.
Rostelecom is implementing the “Grandma Online, Grandpa Online” project together with the Association of Veterans and the Disabled and Pensioners (AVDP), n multiregional social organisation, as well as Intel. As an Official Partner for the programme, Rostelecom uses its own network to provide internet access to education centres which help elderly people living in Russia’s regions to become computer/IT literate.
The main aim of this programme is to help develop an information-oriented society in Russia and in particular to involve the elderly in the IT communications space. The programme’s courses and training sessions are aimed at removing the physiological barriers the elderly often have when confronting new technology and developing their computer and internet skills, including social networks, forums and IP services.
Programme participants learn the basics of using a PC, including how to search for information on the internet, how to send emails and how to use internet messaging services (ICQ, Skype) and social networks.
Social initiatives as a Partner of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee
Rostelecom has been a General Partner of the 21st Winter Olympics in Sochi and has participated proudly in the Olympic project and applied the principle that the “Olympics are for everyone.”
As part of this partnership, the Company has participated in many of the Organising Committee’s social initiatives, which aim to promote and publicise Olympic values in the Russian regions.
There is already a strong tradition of national sports and educational activities for children and young people at Rostelecom. Since 2011, Rostelecom has been organising a programme of sports events and competitions for young people as part of its partnership with the Organising Committee, in preparation for the 21st Winter Olympics in Sochi. The events take place twice a year – in the winter and at the end of spring – and dozens of towns across Russia participate. Olympic athletes actively participate in the programme, along with medallists and winners from competitions in a variety of sports, and many local residents attend the events as spectators.
In 2013, Rostelecom continued to help implement the distance Olympic education programme as part of its partnership with the Sochi Winter Olympics Organising Committee and the Russian Olympic Committee by introducing Sochi 2014 Olympics education schemes nationally. This programme was rolled out over 18 months in all Russian regions. As Telecommunications Partner for the Sochi 2014 Olympic education scheme, Rostelecom provided video-conferencing equipment in Moscow and other Russian regions to conduct training workshops for teachers in regional schools and supervisors.
At the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, Rostelecom, the Russian Olympic Committee and the Organising Committee for the 21st Winter Olympics in Sochi were the first in Russia to conduct a virtual, innovative lesson on the Olympics for schoolchildren entitled “London 2012 – Sochi 2014.” Pupils in Moscow went to the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee building for the lesson, and their peers in Sochi connected to it via a video-conferencing system. Anyone else interested in this lesson could watch a live webcast on either www.rostelecom.ru or www.sochi2014.com. This lesson allowed pupils to learn about the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics at first hand, and learn more about the preparations for the Sochi Olympics.
Cooperation with the Figure Skating Federation of Russia
Rostelecom has been a General Partner of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia (FSFR) since 2009. Rostelecom provides annual financial support for organising and holding Federation events, and help athletes fund their development on the Russian national team for the Olympic Games, European and World Championships as well as the ISU Grand Prix, amongst other events.
In December 2011 Rostelecom and the FSFR launched a joint programme of master classes entitled “Rostelecom’s Star Road”. Figure skating stars shared their secrets with aspiring skaters as part of this workshop, and the young skaters had the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities to the famous trainers. In 2013 the programme events took place in 8 large Russian towns – Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Tver, Sochi, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Tomsk, Murmansk and Tyumen, and a children’s competition took place in Moscow in November.
Sponsoring Children’s Institutions
Rostelecom actively helps a variety of social institutions, particularly hospitals and children’s homes.
The Company purchases medical equipment and pays for emergency operations, and also allocates funds for building repairs and for basic necessities. Rostelecom also helps to organise special events at children’s homes and arranges for professional psychologists to meet with children, and also provides distance-learning opportunities for children.
Help is provided to institutions on both a one-off and an on-going basis. Many similar institutions are sponsored by Rostelecom’s multiregional branches.
New Year’s Charity Programme for Sponsored Orphanages and Foster Homes
In the run-up to 2014, Rostelecom launched a unique, national charity programme in dozens of Russian regions, for those in children’s homes and boarding schools.
A total of 90 Russian children’s institutions participated in this programme, which have nearly 7,000 children in their care. Rostelecom gave money to children as a New Year’s gift so that they can buy clothes and shoes, furniture, learning materials and sports equipment.
In addition, Rostelecom employees in 15 Russian towns took part in “Become Santa Clause,” a large-scale New Year’s volunteering project. New Year’s trees were put up in Rostelecom’s offices which were adorned with decorations which were hand-made by children living in orphanages. The children’s wishes were attached to these decorations. Each Rostelecom employee could then choose a message and then buy the desired gift to make a child’s dream come true.
In the lead up to the New Year celebrations in 2014, Rostelecom invited children staying in children’s homes and foster homes, and also for large families in Moscow and the Moscow region, to attend a charity performance of the “Nutcracker” ballet at the Bolshoi theatre.
New possibilities for disabled children
Rostelecom traditionally helps disabled people integrate into society, particularly children. At both the Corporate Centre and macro-regional level, the Company has established a distance learning programme for disabled children where they can study both at home and at specialised facilities.
In 2013, Rostelecom implemented its distance learning programmes in many of its regions. As part of this, Rostelecom provides unlimited internet access to disabled children and ensures that all the necessary equipment is delivered and installed.
Support for veterans
Rostelecom and its subsidiary, Zebra Telecom, have traditionally met with the Russian War Veterans’ Committee the day before Victory Day. In 2013, the veterans were given new Zebra Telecom universal cards, which allow them to make free calls to other towns from both fixed-line and mobile telephones. During the year Rostelecom also organised a number of multi-party video conferences for veterans of the Great Patriotic War.
Preserving the environment
Rostelecom tries to avoid having a negative impact on the environment through its operation, and looks to limit its environmental impact.
The telecommunications infrastructure itself does not produce polluting emissions and does not release industrial waste into the environment. However, new construction can have a short-term negative impact on the environment. Therefore Rostelecom constantly carries out a range of environmental measures when building new infrastructure, which are designed to minimise emissions into the atmosphere, preserve soil and bodies of water and ensure that any the mandatory biological and technical land restoration takes place.
Supporting national art
Rostelecom representatives have worked on the Board of Trustees at the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia since 2008.
The priorities of the Board of Trustees include attracting external sources of funding, helping the Bolshoi Theatre to create new productions, organise tours, attract stars and talented young performers. The Board of Trustees also helps to improve the theatre’s management and financial and operating activities.
Now, thanks to Rostelecom, thousands of spectators in Moscow can appreciate the talents of experienced and novice dancers who attend this world-famous Russian ballet school, and who perform on the Bolshoi Theatre’s historic stage, which was re-opened in 2011 following lengthy reconstruction work.