Can CSR increase business?

Ok, it’s anecdotal but check this out. Earlier this year, during a conflict between Israel and Palestinians, Our Community Solutions (ComSol) champion in Israel saw opportunity in conflict. What she didn’t realize at the time was seizing that opportunity would not only drive CSR benefits for Intel, but business opportunities too…

In March 2006 Israel Community Solutions Champion Tammy Matzlavi watched as her countrymen went off to battle only to return wounded and headed for long recovery periods in a local hospital. She wanted to do something to make their recovery more bearable. What she did was mobilize Intel IT to deploy a wireless network in the hospital’s recovery area as well as provide notebooks for wounded soldiers so they could surf the ‘net and stay in touch with their families and comrades. What she didn’t know was the impact her ComSol project would have on business both at Intel and at the hospital.

Sure, our purpose in ComSol is to make explicit Intel’s commitment to corporate responsibility but as you all probably know, CSR programs also should have a beneficial by-product of making a company more profitable either directly, by creating business opportunities for the company or indirectly by fostering a brand image that attracts consumers to the company’s products or services.

But it was still a surprise when Tammy learned the hospital purchased an additional 100 wireless access points directly as a result of her ComSol project. Tammy explains: “At that critical time a year ago,” Tammy said, “The solution was a real need of the hospital with many injured arriving [daily]. The solution was an easy to implement, innovative way to give good PR to Intel and help Israeli soldiers.”

According to Tammy, the hospital’s “head of computers” told her that “Intel’s wireless initiative made a big change in the hospital’s life. Other departments in the hospital requested to be connected to the Internet as well. So [we’ve] decided to buy close to 100 hotspots that will be serving both free access to patients and for their doctors.”

Back to Tammy: “I heard a father of a young child praising Intel and [the hospital] for the free wireless access they give to patients. He says it’s the first hospital in Israel that gives such a wonderful free service. TO make his young daughter’s time there more pleasant he bought her a laptop and it really made the time she spends in the hospital more pleasant…”

Really, does it get any better than this?

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