Deep Dive on CSR in China (Part I). GRI reporting, social innovation, and the Forbidden City

Beijing1.jpgThis week I’m in China, visiting with members of our China CSR team. One of the things that I have always felt that has differentiated Intel’s CSR program has been the depth of CSR knowledge that we have across the teams in the different countries where we operate around the world. While we drive global strategies, programs and themes across our global operations, our teams also work closely with local stakeholders to identify opportunities to tailor our programs to meet local needs.

Thumbnail image for Beijing7.jpgMonday and Tuesday, I spent time with our CSR team discussing global and local CSR strategic priorities for 2011 – including reviewing their initiatives around education transformation and partnerships (we’ve helped to train over 1.6 million teachers in China so far through the Intel Teach program), social innovation (we are working to help non-profit organizations in China develop and grow by leveraging technology), and environmental responsibility (driving product energy efficiency and operational performance). I also had the chance to meet with a number of academics from Beijing Normal University who our CSR China team has been partnering with in recent months, to learn about their work around social innovation and building a more vibrant social sector in China. The Intel China team is working on a number of initiatives around the concept of social innovation, and specifically helping with non-profit organization capacity building, partnering with other technology companies, NGOs, and local thoughtleaders to sponsor awards for innovations in non-profit management and develop case studies on effective technology applications that can lead to greater social impact.

One of the opportunities that our Intel China team identified last year was to help promote the value of CSR reporting among other companies in the country, both other MNCs and state-owned enterprises. As we’ve discussed in a number of recent blog posts, we work each year to localize the executive summary of our annual CSR report for stakeholders at our different regions and sites – from Israel to India. In China, the team has worked to create a local Global Reporting Initiative G3-based report covering our operations in China.

Beijing2.jpgYesterday, I participated in a briefing event at Intel’s Beijing office on the launch of our localized China Corporate Responsibility Report which is entitled “From Technology Innovation to Social Innovation.” During the event, Jun Ge (who heads up Corporate Affairs for Intel China) provided an overview of the report and Intel’s CSR strategic priorities in China in the areas of education, environment and social impact/community. Also presenting were two stakeholders who have benefitted from Intel’s program. The founder of a nonprofit organization which was a recipient of an award through the new ICT Innovation Awards that Intel China is sponsoring and a business owner who participated in Intel training and development programs for small and medium sized businesses. I was on hand to answer questions about Intel’s overall approach to reporting and CSR, and the team fielded questions about particular aspects of the China report.

Beijing4.jpgIn the past few years, CSR reporting has been gaining more attention and adoption within China (and in fact, we were able to catch up with the GRI representative in China as well to learn about trends in reporting adoption within the country). Within three years, all state-owned enterprises will be required by the government to publish a social responsibility report. As C.Y. Yeung, our China CSR Director commented, “During the past 30 years, China’s development has been focused on economic growth, but in the coming decades, the focus will be on inclusive growth, social innovation, and environmental sustainability. The private sector has a key role to play. For Intel, we want to use technology and the talent of our employees to contribute to economic, social and green growth and communicate our progress through our reporting.” (Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the China report from the team in an upcoming post.)

Beijing3.jpgOf course, even though it’s a work trip, it would have been a crime to come all the way to Beijing and not see the outside of an Intel office (which frankly, looks pretty much the same everywhere you go.) So, my colleague David was very kind enough to take me for a tour of the Forbidden City which lived up to all of the expectations in every tour book and recommendation. Next up is a day visiting Chengdu and the surrounding area – both a visit to the Intel facility there as well as a visit to the area devastated by the 2008 earthquake, including a trip to see one of the 200 e-classrooms our local team has coordinated as part of their i-World project. And somewhere in tomorrow’s schedule, I’ve been promised a quick stop on the way back to the Intel site to visit with some pandas at a local preserve. Stay tuned for Part II from Chengdu.

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