Last Thursday, I had the exciting opportunity to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange with representatives from a number of other companies who made the list of Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 2013 100 Best Corporate Citizens List. Intel ranked #5 on the list this year – and the point I’m particularly proud of – is that we are one of only a handful of companies that have been on the list each year since it was first started 14 years ago. In addition to our #5 overall 2013 ranking – we also received top sub-category rankings in a number of categories, including Employee Relations (#1), Corporate Governance (#1), Philanthropy (#5), and Enviroment (#6). Other companies in the top 5 this year included: AT&T (#1), Mattel (#2), Bristol-Myers Squibb (#3), and Eaton (#4).
Before the actual bell ringing, I also attended an event at the exchange to discuss trends in corporate responsibility – including the ability of ratings such as this one to drive performance improvements by focusing companies on tracking, measuring and publishing their performance data. We also heard from researchers from MIT and BCG regarding findings from their study 2012 Sustainability and Innovation Global Executive Study and Research Report which looks at the business case for sustainability and corporate responsibility investments and actions. In the study, they found that 61% of the business executives surveyed said that sustainability strategies were now necessary to be competitive, up from 55% in 2010. 37% reported that they had profited from their sustainability efforts, and more than half said they had changed their business model in some way to better take advantage of sustainability opportunities, whether it was making changes related to their target market, products/services offerings, revenue or cost model, value chain, or organizational structure.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker also spoke at the event – and emphasized the opportunity for governments to work with businesses differently to solve the challenges cities currently face. He noted that governments don’t just need financial investments and donations from companies – infinitely more valuable are the skills and expertise that they can bring to collaborating on new solutions. It’s something that we are committed to at Intel across our corporate responsibility strategies – from our Intel Labs group’s engagement on sustainable cities, to our cross-Intel work on education transformation.
One of the challenges I see for sustainability ratings in the coming years will be how to effectively capture this shift toward business model change and system-level engagements of companies. While measuring and encouraging transparency around basic environmental and social performance data, policies, and programs will continue to be important – especially in light of demands for better accounting of supply chain environmental and social performance – ratings firms will need to work with companies and other stakeholders to develop better methods for capturing the longer-term positive societal impacts and business value created through more integrated approaches to corporate responsibility and business management.