One of the topics that keeps coming up in discussions with my counterparts in corporate responsibility departments at other companies is employee engagement around CSR and sustainability. As corporate responsibility matures within major global brands, one of the next big challenges is how to drive CSR and sustainability deeper into the corporate culture and engage all employees, not just employees with “CSR” type jobs like EHS engineers, community relations, supply chain responsibility, or corporate diversity.But what does this look like in practice? How do you communicate sustainability goals and objectives to 80,000 employees in 50 countries? How do you tap into and align grassroots efforts already underway? How do you give employees who are passionate about the environment and community service a voice and opportunities to take action? Over the past year, a number of groups internally have been working to take our internal employee communications and engagement around CSR to the next level – including creating a new internal employee portal/online community forum where employees can connect on environmental sustainability activities. It’s somewhat of a daunting task and of course we’re looking at this as a long-term initiative – but we’re already seeing some good results. Our “Green Intel” online community has gained some 1,500 members in just three months since we launched it, making it the largest single employee group on Intel’s internal community platform. A team is currently evaluating employee-submitted ideas for possible implementation later this year. I wanted to share two other recent examples from our internal engagement plans. First is the example above of a video by Will Swope, Intel’s VP of Sustainability, which was rolled out to all employees through the employee portal last week. The video above (tapping into Will’s passion and his willingness to be goofy for a good cause) spawned good employee comments, including suggestions of specific actions that Intel or employees could take to further reduce energy use across the company. For a second video of Will talking with employees about solar, click here. The second example is our Sustainable In Action Program, in which employees can submit project ideas for funding to share Intel’s expertise in environmental sustainability with communities around the world. Recent project examples have included one in Malaysia where Intel partnered with the Penang Inshore Fisherman Welfare Association and the local community to plant 5,000 trees to help conserve the coastal mangrove forests, and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), which involved the development and distribution of classroom-ready teaching aids on the topic of water conservation. From 2006-2008, 15 projects were led by creative and dedicated employees around the globe; collectively, these projects have involved more than 1,000 employees, 75 schools and 20,000 students. We are in the midst of receiving the new batch of project submissions right now – 4-5 projects will be selected for financial support and progress on the projects will be tracked throughout the year on the internal employee portal web site. I know there are lots of companies out there working to engage their employees in different ways – including Walmart’s Personal Sustainability Plans, eBay’s green team, Sun’s “Every Job is an Eco Job” campaign, and Genentech’s GreenGenes as well as a nice video on BMO Financial Group’s recent efforts – and it seems to me that this is a topic in the CSR space ripe for sharing best practices. Interested in any other good examples out there – anything really cool you’ve recently come across recently? Please share them here.
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