I’m writing this somewhere over the Pacific on my way home from a VERY short trip to Sydney, Australia. It took me 40 years to actually get to Australia for the first time, but now, I’ve been there twice in the last 2 years as the country and its companies have taken a very active approach to CSR and Sustainability.One of the responsibilities that come with the perception of being a CSR leader is the expectation to share our approach and lessons learned with other emerging or leading CSR companies. That was the primary purpose of this trip. I had been asked by one of Australia’s largest companies (180,000 employees) to come and share not only Intel’s path to CSR, but also key operational strategies. The agenda included staff engagement, key performance indicators, reporting, stakeholder management and emerging issues management. I hear from a lot of companies in the U.S. that they still have a hard time getting the attention of the CEO. In contrast, this meeting was hosted by the CEO and the top 20 leaders of the company. It was a great discussion and included the executives in charge of operations, logistics, compliance, planning, HR and IT among others. CSR seems to be on the board room agendas among the largest companies and I sense I’ll be back at some point in the near future for similar discussions with other companies. Intel has a small, but strong team in Australia primarily focused on sales. I always try to maximize my workload and value to the local team when making these long trips. Interest is high in the subject area so we were able to hold several press interviews and a small round table discussion. The interviews aren’t on line yet, but I’ll try to post links here when they are. My most important “take away” from this trip and visit is the shear speed of the CSR agenda at some companies. This company was a clear leader among leaders with an engaged CEO and executive team – but still saw a lot of room for improvement. I went over to share our story with them – but I could have just as easily sat and listened to their story – and learned a lot. Next week, I’m off to Portland to visit with our local Community Advisory Panel (CAP) and speak at the TCI Global Competitiveness Conference focused on the potential value obtained by business economic clusters. I’ll post a short summary after that.
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