Partner CEO: We're creating an impact innovation incubator

Itzik Benbenisti / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes

At the Globes "Responsible Management in a Changing Reality" conference, Itzik Benbenisti unveiled the program for hosting social and environmental ventures,

At the "Responsible Management in a Changing Reality".conference held online by "Globes" last week, Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) Isaac (Itzik) Benbenisti unveiled the company's plan for cooperation with startups, which will be hosted by Partner with the aim of promoting social and environmental projects. "Today, company managements understand that an ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance, G.P.) strategy contributes to the business, to its reputation, and to the satisfaction of its employees and customers - and to the profit line as well," Benbenisti said.

"The latest move that we launched this very week, which I am delighted to reveal here for the first time, includes forming an impact incubator at Partner that will provide a fifth generation work environment and other resources that we have, such as advanced infrastructures and various systems, and of course company experts, to help startups and ventures that focus on a better future," he said.

"We are embarking on a broad appeal to entrepreneurs interested in taking part," Benbenisti added, "and in the coming period we shall examine ventures from a range of fields, such as education, accessibility, health, environmental quality, food, and everything that comes within the category of 'a better future'. I genuinely believe that there is real value, both for the soul and economically, in impact projects by big companies."

Benbenisti opened his remarks with comments on the changes that the coronavirus pandemic had brought about. "New concepts that until recently seemed imaginary came into our lives, in communication within the enterprise, in the dialogue with customers, in the social networks. For the first time, customer service personnel responded from home, with the children in the background, and it was fine - we were in this together. Some of the changes are temporary, some will remain with us. We saw how to take the good as well, and how to learn from the event.

"The coronavirus brought together the discourse from above, from the world of investors and of intellectuals, with the nitty gritty, with the workers, the customers, the suppliers, the community - companies are expected to take responsibility, to take a stand, to adapt what they do to a changing reality, and to create impact."

Impact as a strategic move

"The main change for us as company managers," Benbenisti said, "is in switching from one-time donations to building a long-term strategy that is connected to the core of the business and creates as wide an impact as possible. And all this is examined using measurable values, like any business plan that is measured and examined within the company."

Benbenisti spoke about the implementation of the process at Partner, saying, "At Partner we carried out the switch to ESG during 2020, and we are very happy with the results and with the value that the move has generated. Since ESG is a measuring tool, we don’t talk about 'doing ESG' but about introducing an ESG strategy into corporate governance, community and social activity, and the environment and sustainability. Investors can see the fruits of ESG in the value generated, in extra profitability or other ways in which we outperform the rest of the market, in the figures published by investment entities that deal with this kind of thing. Company managers can sense the value generated in broader terms than the bottom line, for example in the fact that employees' satisfaction and the esprit de corps of the enterprise are higher. There are also measurement tools, such as external surveys, and we at Partner are very proud of the fact that Partner is rated the best telecommunications company to work for."

Later in his remarks, Benbenisti cited examples from the world and from Israel, and talked about Strauss Group Ltd. (TASE:STRS), "which recently began an impressive and original move in which it decided to make use of the 'advertising real estate' available to it on the group's fleet of trucks to convey messages about the values it espouses, such as the campaign against violence against women."

From taking care of employees to a "social mobile package"

"At Partner, we developed a virtual sales fair for Partner employees, with products and offers from small businesses that the employees themselves signed up to the venture: neighbors, family, and acquaintances who received an opportunity to advertise and sell products to thousands of Partner employees," Benbenisti said.

"There have also been many moves within enterprises during the coronavirus period - here in Israel and around the world, managers of large, medium-size and small companies have done wide ranging things out of concern for the health and welfare of their employees. We have seen things that go much further than concern for the continuity of the business, whether it’s a matter of switching older employees to home-working even after a return to routine, or setting up an aid fund for employees who have run into a crisis because of distress at home, and of course welfare activity to the home, packages for lifting people's mood and gifts for employees' children who are starting grade one in such a disrupted year.

"Partner chose to take the telecommunications revolution, our advanced 5G network, and connect it to the values of a better future. And, as in any social activity, you need a social partner. We chose the Krembo Wings youth movement. We started out with a bang - with a broadcast appeal for donations on prime-time television and hundreds of employees who volunteered at Partner call centers and at home, as dictated by the coronavirus restrictions. The evening was a huge success, and as far as we are concerned this is the start of an amazing partnership." Benbenisti also mentioned that Partner managers themselves contributed to a special fund for helping employees who had got into difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, Benbenisti talked about the launch of the first social mobile package in Israel - Partner 5G Better Future. "We took our flagship 5G package, with 1 tera broadband, and undertook that, from now on, Partner will donate 10% of the monthly cost of the package for the first twelve months for each customer who subscribes to the service. We set no time limit for the scheme; as far as we are concerned, it's for the long term."

Disclosure: Disclosure: The event was sponsored and co-sponsored by Tnuva, Partner Communications, Klil Industries, The International Convention Center - ICC Jerusalem (Binyenei HaUma), and Al Arz Tahini.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 29, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Itzik Benbenisti / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes
Itzik Benbenisti / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes
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