Anti Bribery & Corruption Policy

ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL GOVERNANCE (ESG) POLICY


INTRODUCTION

As one of India’s lowest total cost of operation(TCO) passive telecom infrastructure solutions company, Ascend Telecom, always stayed strong in our commitment to positively impact the environment, our customers, employees, and the community at large. Our core values have guided our ESG practices, which seek to drive growth and empower communities through our corporate decision-making processes. In FY 2021-22, sustainability is officially included as our sixth value, alongside Service excellence, Customer excitement, Eco-friendly practices, Employee commitment and Value diversity. This is testament to the fact that sustainability is now a part of our DNA. As an organization, we aim to align our ESG approach with our strategic goals and the experience we seek to offer all our stakeholders. ESG is an area of heightened focus for us and is changing our outlook towards our business

APPROACH & POLICY GOVERNANCE

As a testament to our commitment to the environment, we constituted a board governed environmental policy in 2018, which serves as a framework to understand and manage our environmental risks, impacts and opportunities. To further strengthen our vision and focus on ESG, we have established an Environmental Social & Governance (ESG) committee, which is a management level committee comprising of senior members across major functions at the Ascend Telecom, chaired by a member of the senior management team. The ESG Committee reports to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee of the Board of Directors on the Ascend Telecom’s ESG strategy and road map to achieve set targets. Functionally, the main ESG committee is further segregated into 3 sub committees for focused discussions.

  • Environment Sub-Committee: Sets targets and identifies opportunities for improvement in areas of emissions, energy, water and waste
  • Social & Governance Sub-Committee: Focuses on work place policies including Code of Conduct & Human Rights, diversity, stakeholder engagement and corporate governance policies
  • Product Responsibility Sub-Committee: Focuses on assessing Environmental & Social (E&S) risks, including climate risks in our existing portfolio and identify new business opportunities in the E&S space

The ESG Committee also works on improving the Ascend Telecom’s ESG disclosures in order to effectively demonstrate our ESG commitment to our stakeholders. The above sub-committees comprise of members across different functions like Risk, Administration and IT and will help in identifying ESG related risks and related financial impacts for the Ascend Telecom. The ESG policy framework will serve as a guiding document for all ESG initiatives and activities undertaken by the Ascend Telecom. This framework covers the Ascend Telecom’s operations only in India. Subsidiaries and offshore offices may be considered to comply with the requirements of this framework in due course. The framework will be reviewed and updated every year after ratification by the ESG Committee and the CSR Committee of the Board.

APPROACH AND FOCUS AREAS
CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY
ENERGY & EMISSIONS

We measure, externally verify and disclose our GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions every year. In our strategy to combat climate change and transitioning to a low carbon economy, we will strive to reduce our carbon footprint by taking on initiatives to monitor and reduce our energy consumption. Our initiatives will be aimed at:

  • Adopting solar energy in our cell sites.
  • Incorporating energy efficient natural cooler systems (wind chimney) in our sites wherever applicable.
  • Implementing automated energy management solutions to reduce energy consumption
  • Retrofitting existing high energy consuming devices and equipment to maximize performance while consuming less electricity
  • Incorporating energy efficiency at our sites, by using solar panels, wind chimney & Li-ion batteries in our sites and use ozone friendly refrigerants for cooling.

The Ascend Telecom will strive to reduce its Scope 1 & 2 emissions intensity by 10%, absolute Scope 1 & 2* emissions by 3%, total energy consumption by 3% and its energy intensity by 5% by 2022.

WASTE

The Ascend Telecom shall make efforts to dispose waste in the most responsible manner. Electronic waste generated by the Ascend Telecom will continue to be disposed through authorized personnel. The Ascend Telecom will ensure that no hazardous electronic waste is sent from the Ascend Telecom to the landfill.
The Ascend Telecom is conscious of paper usage in its operations, transactions and customer communications. Our push to go digital across service and product lines will continue to reduce paper consumption, thereby reducing paper waste. Printing and photocopying operations by employees across large offices will also continue to be monitored and regulated in order to reduce wastage of paper.
In FY 2019-20, the Ascend Telecom phased out single use plastic water bottles from all its offices pan-India. The Ascend Telecom will strive to reduce the use of all forms of plastic in its offices, branches as well as in its promotional, marketing and outreach events.

ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL RISK MANAGEMENT

We are cognizant of our environmental and social risks in occurring our sites and hence evaluate these risks as part of our acquisition process. As part of our acquisition policy, the Ascend Telecom will continue to evaluate environmental, social & community related challenges, capex capital expenditure and benefits to be community.

*Scope 1: Direct Emissions Scope 2: Indirect Emissions Adherence to Environmental, Health, Social & Safety (EHSS) norms.

• The Following factors will continue to be reviewed by the Ascend Telecom before taking decision on delivery process

  • Social Consideration: Employment generation, Role in economic development of the region, compliance with labour laws, no exploitative / child / forced labour
  • Resettlement & Rehabilitation: Number of families under rehabilitation, impact on livelihood, Facilities provided to families and its acceptability in the community, Number of villages / population affected by the project
  • CSR Initiatives: Schools, hospitals, medical facilities, technical institutes, roads, community buildings etc. provided by the company.
  • Emissions: Carbon emission co2 and GH emission.
  • Environmental Consideration: Hazardous Waste Management, Ecological impact, Emergency and Disaster management, climate change
PROCUREMENT PRACTICES

The Ascend Telecom recognizes the need to work closely with our suppliers to reduce waste, improve efficiency, reduce carbon footprint and engage with them to understand their commitment towards human rights and labour practices. We will thus continue to work towards greater integration of environmental & social considerations in our procurement practices.

The Ascend Telecom will make efforts to procure products which are –
  • Recycled
  • Environment friendly
  • Energy efficient
  • Locally sourced

The Ascend Telecom will also set clear expectations with vendors and suppliers to abide by labour laws, human rights and regulations in their regions of business. They are expected to adhere to laws addressing child, forced or trafficked labour.

OUR WORKFORCE AND EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
NON-DISCRIMINATION & FAIR TREATMENT

Our employees are central to everything we do and satisfaction of our employees is critical to the long term success of the Ascend Telecom. We will provide fair and equal employment and advancement opportunities to all its employees and there will be no discrimination on the basis of race, caste, color, age, sex, disability and socio-economic status of the candidate. We ensure a fair recruitment process that helps us identify and hire people with the right values, who are then groomed, encouraged and retained through a combination of financial and non-financial incentives.

Remuneration and career progression.
The Ascend Telecom will continue to create an inclusive culture to ensure representation across gender, caste, creed, religion, region, physical ability and military/ veteran status. The Ascend Telecom is making structured efforts on gender diversity initiatives. The percentage of women in our workforce is at 3%.

EMPLOYEE HEALTH & WELL-BEING

The Ascend Telecom is committee to continue to take steps to promote a safe and conducive work environment for its employees and will provide guidance on occupational health and safety, appropriate healthcare benefits and medical cover to all its employees. The Ascend Telecom will continue to conduct regular health check-up for its employees.

EMPLOYEE ETHICS & CODE OF CONDUCT

The Ascend Telecom has mechanisms to deal with issues related to inhumane treatment including mental or physical coercion or verbal abuse, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, slavery, of employees. This is guided by the Code of Conduct and Ethics Manual, an internal document available to all employees. The Ascend Telecom’s Conduct Regulations also define good corporate practices, financial transactions & personal account dealings, professional code of conduct and management action that will continue to promote a culture of good integrity and ethics amongst its employees.

WOMEN SAFETY

The Ascend Telecom has a Zero tolerance Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment and an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) that investigates cases of sexual misconduct and investigates them through a fair and transparent process and take action against erring employees. The Ascend Telecom will continue to promote and protect the well-being of all women employees, especially women who are required to work late due to business requirements.

TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT

The Ascend Telecom recognizes the importance of having a skilled workforce with necessary competencies to deliver on the Ascend Telecom’s strategic and operational plans through well- structured training modules to assist in job specific development as well as personal development of the employees. The Ascend Telecom is committed towards providing an environment that is conducive to and promotes training and development opportunities to all employees. Periodic training and updates on ESG are provided to all employees, especially the ESG committee members.

OUR CUSTOMERS

We recognize that maintaining the trust and regard of our customers is important for our success and longevity, in a fiercely competitive market. Through our digital platforms and initiatives, we will provide our customers, the flexibility to access and consume our Ascend Telecom services over any digital platform of their choice. We recognize that product quality and service delivery is vital for our business growth. The Ascend Telecom seeks to achieve this by regularly reviewing service levels and capturing feedback from customers. Abiding by its Customer Privacy policy, the Ascend Telecom will continue to treat customers’ data with utmost sensitivity and privacy. The Ascend Telecom will also undertake initiatives to combat cybercrime and data theft by means of a comprehensive mechanism of information and data security.

COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Guided by our board governed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, the Ascend Telecom will continue to create value for marginalized communities in the country, through well-structured programs and interventions. Our umbrella of social initiatives has touched more of lives and helped empower and strengthen communities. Our CSR programmes focus on Rural Development, Promotion of Education, Skill Development, and Healthcare & Hygiene.

TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY TO STAKEHOLDERS

By means of the Whistle Blower policy, the Ascend Telecom will continue to empower and encourage various stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, shareholders and other stakeholders to bring to the notice of the Ascend Telecom, any issue involving compromise/ violation of our code of conduct/ ethical norms, legal or statutory provisions without fear of reprisal, retaliation, discrimination or harassment. Our Chief of Internal Vigilance receives and addresses these concerns by initiating a thorough enquiry conducted by the appropriate authoritative body within the Ascend Telecom.

GOOD GOVERNANCE PRACTICES

We are committed to maintaining the highest levels of ethical standards of integrity, corporate governance and regulatory compliance. These parameters form the bedrock of our corporate governance policy. We have proactively upheld good governance practices and are constantly striving to enhance our standards. Our Board of Directors is responsible for setting the course for, and evaluating the Ascend Telecom’s performance with regards to corporate governance. The parameters of evaluation include compliance, internal control, risk management, information and cyber security, customer service, social & environmental responsibility. The Ascend Telecom’s corporate governance framework complies with the Indian companies Act, the regulations and guidelines. We will continue to adopt and adhere to the best recognized corporate governance practices and is continuously benchmarking itself with best in class practices across the globe.

DISCLOSURES & EXTERNAL STANDARDS
ESG DISCLOSURES & REPORTS

Since 2020, we have been publishing our ESG performance in our Sustainability Report, following the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. We also publish an annual Business Responsibility Report to highlight our performance against stated principles of the National Voluntary Guidelines developed by the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). We report our emissions, energy consumption and our strategy to combat climate change in our annual response to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). We publish in detail, our corporate governance disclosures in our Annual Report. We publish through the Integrated Report, our performance and strategy in conjunction with the six capitals laid out by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).
We will continue to disclose our ESG information in relevant ESG indices and forums to demonstrate our commitment to stakeholders.

INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY ASSURANCES ON ESG DISCLOSURES

We will find our means and methods for our Sustainability Report and our Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are externally verified by third party and accreditations sought under relevant standard. We will continue to seek third party assurance on our ESG disclosures to demonstrate credibility of our publicly available information.

PARTNERS

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