The sustainable company you keep

I used to be involved in rating companies on their corporate responsibility and sustainability performance for a living. Now I am one of the rated. Luckily, I’m at a company that gets rated very well across most of the major ratings in this space. But that doesn’t necessarily make my job any easier.


A former colleague of mine once said, hey being number one on a list is great, but it means that there’s only one direction to go. Intel was named yesterday for the 11th year in a row to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (both the DJSI World and North American Indexes) and named Semiconductor sector leader in the index for the same time period. That’s a really long run and one I’m particularly proud of. For those who aren’t as familiar with their assessment process, they are collecting and analyzing a significant amount of data across multiple categories to develop their annual rankings and weight and assess companies in different sectors. Unfortunately, we failed to hold onto the other designation on the list that we’ve held for many years – the “Technology SuperSector” leader spot, as we were nudged out by Nokia. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed myself. But I’m also encouraged in another way. There are so many companies in our industry doing great work in this space, that it’s not surprising, or even a bad thing, when you move down a few spots when others move up. It means that others are also integrating sustainability and corporate responsibility practices into those global strategies and management practices. Nokia is doing a lot of great work in this space – and so congratulations are certainly in order.

More importantly, when I look at the other tech companies in the DJSI, like HP, Dell, Cisco, IBM, Motorola, Nokia etc., I think of the specific collaboration activities that we are doing right now with many of these companies, these companies who are our customers, our suppliers, our business partners. Beyond product and technology innovation, we are working together on sustainability topics with others in our industry in groups such as the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, tackling complex issues like supply chain assessment processes, carbon footprinting and metals sourcing. We are working through the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign, which is engaging with policymakers to understand how ICT can play a bigger role in improving the energy efficiency of the broader economy.

Oh yes, we’ll still overanalyze the results of this year’s ranking given our penchant for data crunching here at Intel, and see what we can do inch back up again next year. But the bottom line is this is a great group of companies to be associated with. They say you’re known by the company you keep. In the case of the DJSI, that’s a great compliment.

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