Visiting with Investors — Getting Smarter on Issues

Each year about this time, I make a trip to the East Coast of the US to meet with key leaders in the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) industry. I’ve been doing this now for almost a decade – it’s turned into somewhat of a tradition. I’ve also held these meetings on the West Coast and in Europe.

My first trip back in 1998 was to talk to a few investors about a request they had for Intel to share more environmental information with the communities in which we operated. At the time, I was pretty aware of multiple efforts we employed to share that information widely. Obviously, they weren’t, so I thought it might be a good idea to explain what I knew and hear them out. Those of you in the SRI space might know the 2 folks I met with – Tim Smith and Stephen Viederman. It was a good conversation – they learned a little and so did I. In particular, they thought that if we included the fact that we share information with the communities in our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) policy – then it might be a signal to other leading companies to do the same. We made that addition to our EHS policy and never looked back.

Over the years, I’ve met with more than 100 socially responsible investors, analysts, pension funds, fund and asset managers and shareholder activists. Some of these individuals are now long-time colleagues and all of them have valuable points of view. I respect what they do and frankly, they are partial owners of the company I work for. They’ve told me for many years, they value these meetings at least as much as I do.

Each year, I bring a couple Intel senior leaders with me to talk about ways they are working to make Intel a more responsible company, a model corporate citizen and drive long-term business success. And, the SRI folks make sure I understand what their priorities are for the coming year. After 10 years, I sometimes wonder if the trips might have diminishing returns. The fact is that a lot more companies are trying to implement similar investor engagement strategies. But every year, both sides seem to learn a little more and communicate a little better.

I see a lot of company proxy reports each calendar year and I see a lot of shareholder resolutions….filed at a lot of other companies. I’m proud of the lack of resolutions in Intel proxy statements over the years – I deal with those issues as they arise – not when they show up at my door as resolutions. I’m also proud when I see Intel as a top holding in SRI mutual fund and indexes all over the world. Each year, we dig into new ways to improve our CSR or Sustainability performance.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Index will release its results in the next week or so for the 2008 index. And, even though Intel has been a member of the index since it’s inception and the world’s leading technology company in the index for 6 years in a row – when that list comes out, a team of Intel executives will dig into the results to see how we can continue to drive continuous improvement.

2 Responses to Visiting with Investors — Getting Smarter on Issues

  1. James Farrar says:

    Hi Dave :
    I wish Intel the best of luck – I am sure you will do well. We here at SAP just received the good news today that we will be listed again this year. Though we have had fairly dramatic improvement in our rankings over the past two years – mostly due to better engagement and disclosure. But like you say, we too will now be sitting down to figure out how to lift performance further for next year.
    James Farrar