The Role of the Supply Chain In CSR

I made my way to San Francisco Wednesday evening to attend Intel’s materials Supplier Day. I’ve been hearing about Supplier Day for more than 10 years in my career at Intel. I’ve even been writing about it for several years in the corporate responsibility report. It is an annual event that brings together the leaders of our most important suppliers. It is such a large event, that it is actually broken into two parts. One that focuses on equipment suppliers and another that focuses on materials and services suppliers. It was the latter group that I spoke to Thursday morning.

It is perhaps the single most effective strategy for communicating Intel’s expectations to our supply-chain community as well as working with our suppliers on emerging trends in quality, EHS performance, cost, and most recently CSR and Sustainability. The audience of 200-300 includes CEOs, Presidents and other leaders of approximately 75 different companies as well as a strong group of Intel leaders that own key supply chain management functions.

Two nights prior, we honored the best of the best Intel suppliers. Thirteen companies won our most prestigious recognition, the Supplier Continuous Quality Improvement (SCQI) award. Another 35 companies won our Preferred Quality Supplier (PQS) award.SCQI_Award.gif

My presentation to this group had the same title as this blog. Some of these companies may be CSR champions in their own right, while others are still coming to grips with the trend. I discussed business and societal trends as well as Intel’s expectations around Ethics, the Environment, Human Rights, Safety and Diversity. We also launched new Environmental and Green Procurement requirements for our Supplier Awards going forward.

There was a lot of new news in this presentation for our suppliers – but they too are operating in the same complex and transparent business environment as Intel and our customers. I think it was clear to everyone in attendance that we are all operating in a system together and in the future, our reputations and performance will only be as strong as the weakest link.

On another note, next week our Chief Administrative Officer (and award winning CFO) Andy Bryant will be keynoting the CRO Conference. Also, Suzanne Fallender from the Intel CSR team will be participating on a panel debating the pros and cons of some of the company rankings out there. I would love to be there (especially in the debate), but I plan to be introducing the history of Boston to my family on spring break.

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