A White Paper on Huawei's Approach to Fairness, Equity & Opportunity
Toward an inclusive world, Huawei elaborates our initiatives and methodologies to build a better connected society for all
At Huawei, as part of our ongoing commitment to ESG (environment, sustainability, and governance), we have long studied the importance of many non-financial, critical success factors, especially as we weigh both the risks and opportunities available in the marketplace. We understand that we live in an increasingly-connected world and that as leaders in our industry, we have a responsibility to consider not just how we can best serve our customers, but how we can simultaneously be a force for positive change in the broader communities in which we live and work.
In these times, we observe across the ecosystem - - by which I mean not just our organization, but our partners and customers, vendors and suppliers, governments and NGOs, and millions of ordinary people in countries around the world - - an increasing focus on fairness, opportunity, and equity. Huawei, like so many companies within the ICT industry, has attempted to grapple with these issues through the development of policies ostensibly aimed at changing the demographic mix of the employee bases to increase representation by marginalized groups, and measuring the achievement of desired outcomes in statistical terms.
While the intent of these efforts, and the sincerity with which both we and our industry has pursued them, is laudable, it is widely understood that significant, tangible results from such programs have been slow to materialize. Accordingly, rather than continuing this same approach, at Huawei we have decided to take a broader view of the question and are determined to blaze a trail and encourage all interested parties to join us in the endeavor.
For us, helping to create a fairer world begins by recognizing that the world is not inherently a very equitable place. Disparities - - whether based on income inequality, gender, nationality, race, or a myriad of other factors - - exist the world over and are deeply entrenched in history, social structures, and prevailing mindsets. These disparities can often become obstacles to individual achievement, to educational and economic opportunity, and even to a happy, meaningful life. The problem is endemic to the human race and has been largely intractable.
Against this gloomy tableau, corporate initiatives that focus merely on achieving some sort of statistical balance - - whether in terms of gender, nationality, or other factor - - among an employee population, or on promoting affinity groups among employees, or on similar internal initiatives, seem to represent only the smallest of incipient steps toward a meaningful solution. After all, even if such statistical goals could be achieved in the short-term, where would that leave the billions of people who do not happen to work in such companies? At Huawei, we believe progress toward fairness requires a more ambitious, innovative mindset, one that aspires to provide a level-playing field not just for our employees but for all.
In pursuit of that ambitious target, we are aided by the fact that information and communication technologies are increasingly able to transform the way we live and the world at large, creating an unprecedented opportunity for positive change. At Huawei, we have a long history of bringing technology to the world, including communities previously cut off from full participation in digital world, especially the rural poor. In scores of countries, these efforts and investments have done more to improve and uplift the lives of millions of ordinary human beings than any amount of internal employee programming could do. By bringing ICT to those previously untouched by technology, Huawei hopes to give each individual a clear path and a fair chance to pursue their dreams and purpose. Ambition, talent, commitment, and drive will and should influence the outcome of the ‘race of life’, but at Huawei we believe every person deserves to begin from the same starting line.
At Huawei, we have concluded that our time and resources spent on practical, in-market programs that enhance equity are the best and most rapid path to achieving that fairer world. Members of our disparate teams in over 170 countries have taken up the challenge and in ways as divergent, interesting, and inspiring as the individuals themselves. I am so pleased that this report includes an opportunity to spotlight a selection of these impressive colleagues and their efforts to enhance equity and opportunity for those in their own communities, large or small.
The programs and initiatives highlighted in this report are another small part of the story but represent a sample of the many ways in which Huawei is working, day-by-day and community-by-community, to bring equitable opportunity to people everywhere. For example, through “Seeds for the Future 2.0”, the umbrella program under which The Huawei Academy and many other education-focused initiatives reside, and Huawei’s decision to make its MindSpore AI computing framework open source (which focuses on innovation) may seem quite different initiatives, they share the same objective: create equitable opportunity, reward talent and commitment, advance access to and utility of technology for all.
As our global ecosystem becomes more equitable, Huawei hopes the entire industry will benefit from access to new sources of talent, increased collaboration, heightened learning & development capabilities, and a subsequent surge in breakthrough innovation. While these are attractive outcomes in themselves, the more profound impact of these initiatives will be a fairer world, one in which individuals from every background, community and circumstance have equal access to ICT tools, education and careers.
This white paper is Huawei’s latest contribution to the global conversation about equity in its broadest sense, but it also includes our newly adopted Statement on Gender Equality. Though only a subset of our larger ambition, gender equality is such an important building block that achieving it will further fuel our progress toward overall fairness as an industry and as a species. Of course, we must acknowledge that we have much more to do before either our Company or the ecosystem in which we operate is fully fair and equitable, but over my many years at Huawei, I have often been astonished at how much can be achieved by harmonious, effective, and hard-working teams of colleagues. I have routinely seen that commitment, talent and mindset far outweigh background, gender, or other personal characteristics in terms of defining an individual’s opportunity to contribute and to succeed.
Though the journey is a long one and not yet fully completed, we can all be proud that Huawei is committed to using the power of technology to bring not just this principle, but tangible opportunity, to every person in every corner of our connected world.