Sama Releases Annual Impact Report; Highlights ESG Progress

In 2023, Sama created over 500 entry-level jobs, transitioned North American offices to 100% renewable energy and joined the UN Global Compact

Sama, the leader in providing data labeling, supervised fine-tuning and model evaluation solutions for some of the world’s biggest artificial intelligence (AI) models, today announced the release of its second annual Impact Report. Throughout 2023, Sama made significant strides towards its sustainability goals and demonstrated continual progress in delivering benefits to all stakeholders. These include the creation of 581 entry-level jobs, transitioning its North American offices to 100% renewable energy, a step towards becoming net-zero by 2050; and joining the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.

“Committing to developing AI responsibly and ethically includes committing to transparency into governance, operations, compliance and practices. Publicly highlighting results in our annual Impact Report, alongside joining initiatives like the UNGC, shine a light on our ongoing efforts to ensure we do right by both people and the planet,” said Wendy Gonzalez, CEO of Sama. “Our enterprise customers need clear insights into every level of their AI supply chain, and that is why we have consistently prioritized responsible AI alongside delivering deep expertise and a high time-to-value ratio. Our clients appreciate our unwavering focus on quality and support our tireless commitment to social impact and rigorous ESG standards.”

Sama created more than 500 entry-level jobs in 2023 to continue providing underrepresented communities with paths to formal employment in the digital economy and fair wages. Once they joined the company, Sama research revealed that entry-level team members’ contributions to housing expenses increased by 60% on average. In addition, team members contribute, on average, 50% more to education expenses for others beyond their immediate family — illustrating the powerful ripple effects of steady income on a person’s wider community.

Sama also made a significant stride towards its net-zero goals by transitioning its North American office spaces to 100% renewable energy, which will lead to emissions reductions in the near future. Findings from this process will inform the work being done to switch to renewable energy in other Sama offices, like those in Kenya and Uganda. This renewable energy usage puts Sama on the path to halving its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and reducing its Scope 3 emissions by 50% per employee by 2030, both of which were set out in its first Impact Report.

As a UNGC signatory, Sama must align its business operations with the UN’s Ten Principles, which pertain to human rights, labor, environmental practices and anti-corruption efforts. Sama has identified several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with its stated mission to empower and benefit marginalized youth and women through digital skills training and employment, including No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Reduced Inequalities. As a UNGC member, Sama will issue yearly Communications on Progress reports on its efforts toward these SDGs, with the first expected later in 2024.

“As a public benefit corporation, every decision we make must consider our mission to empower marginalized youth and women in underserved communities in East Africa through digital skills training and formal employment,” added Kristen Itani Koue, director of impact at Sama. “However, our Impact Report underscores that we do more than just consider our mission — we live it out, showing others that it is possible to balance more than one bottom line as a business. I am proud of our accomplishments in 2023, and I look forward to sharing more of our efforts later this year in our UNGC Communication on Progress.”

As part of its ongoing commitment to lead by example with ethical AI practices, Sama highlights key governance policies and practices that guided its work in 2023 in the report. Sama launched a supplier responsibility program that required major company vendors in East Africa to review and agree to a Supplier Code of Conduct and complete self-assessments covering their policies on health and safety, human rights, fair working conditions, sustainability and business ethics.

In service of its goal to help develop AI responsibly, Sama ensured compliance with a number of critical pieces of legislation. In 2023, Sama completed a disclosure pursuant to Article 9 of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) in the European Union (EU). Through the disclosure, the company reported on key metrics related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, climate action and company governance, affirming that Sama is a company eligible for inclusion in Article 9 portfolios.

In addition, the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (SCDDA) went into effect in early 2023, and it mandates that businesses conduct comprehensive due diligence to identify and rectify human rights violations and environmental harm within their operations and among their suppliers. To support its customers in their compliance efforts, Sama has completed multiple disclosures detailing its policies and practices related to ESG governance, human rights and labor standards, health and safety, and climate action.

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