Better Strategies Through Listening

Intel regularly seeks feedback on our CSR plans and performance through a number of different mechanisms. This year, we added something new to the mix – we held a stakeholder forum in conjunction with the annual BSR conference in NYC.

BSR helped us with our process, and we invited about a dozen social responsibility investors, NGOs and other companies to spend an afternoon with our top Intel executives; discussing our 2020 sustainability priorities and plans. This was a great opportunity for us to listen and get feedback from differing points of view. We received a lot of really good feedback during the stakeholder feedback process; however, one exercise really surprised me.

During our first break-out session, Intel put on a wall a list of all the possible sustainability topics that we could think of that might be material to us. There were items such as climate change, e-waste, regulations, water, etc., there were about 20 items in all. We then gave the participants round sticky dots and asked each of them to “vote” (place their sticky dot next to an item) on the issues which they thought Intel should focus the most attention. They could use four dots on one item, or spread their votes around. Sounds like a pretty straight forward exercise right?

Well, I was wrong. Many of the attendees were not thrilled about being limited to only four votes, when they thought we should do all of the items. This led to an interesting discussion divided mostly along the lines of corporate versus NGOs/SRIs. The NGOs and SRIs wanted us to do all of the items, and the companies argued that while you need to pay attention to all of them, it was impossible to be a leader on all of them, because you need to focus to be successful. It was a really good discussion and eventually we got everyone to vote, albeit with some clarifications.

In the end, people thought that the sustainability priorities for Intel should be: climate change, water, transparency and using Intel technology to solve sustainability challenges. Despite the initial resistance, we ended up with a pretty good list and I think everyone had an increased appreciation for the challenges in setting priorities in a constrained environment.

One Response to Better Strategies Through Listening

  1. In response to Intel’s CRS initiatives, we’re very proud to have been recognised as a Laureate of the 2010 Tech Awards Environment Award sponsored by Intel.
    ToughStuff has developed innovative solar powered products including LED lamps, affordable to even the very poorest of people, which we sell through commercial rural distribution networks. When 1.5billion people (¼ of the population of our planet!) live without electricity, this is a vast market.
    There are times, however, when commercial approaches are insufficient. In Haiti earlier this year, ToughStuff worked with NGOs to provide an immediate solution to earthquake victims, when all normal means of energy were lost.
    People could stay connected because they could charge their mobiles and listen to information on their radios. At night they could see by the light of our lamps. Camp security improved.
    It is very fulfilling being part of this Social Enterprise. Not only are we building a solid business but we are bringing huge social and environmental benefits to the Developing world. Children are now able to study at night; thousands of new micro-enterprises are being created; CO2 emissions are reduced and people lifted out of poverty.
    If we are to achieve the level of scale we need to truly impact our globe, we need to work with fabulous organizations. We are looking to engage with businesses who share our values to grow distribution and bring the resources at their disposal to further sales, and help end energy poverty.
    Collaborations with businesses such as Intel open up all sorts of opportunities, not just commercially, but also by engaging teams in some of the most rewarding projects possible.
    We commend you for support of the Tech Awards and for your interest in ToughStuff.
    Andrew Tanswell

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