I recently celebrated my ten-year anniversary at Intel. Some days ten years feels like an incredibly long time and that change in the field of corporate responsibility has been slow and incremental. But this week, as I got back from external outreach meetings with a number of our external stakeholders, I was struck by how different this year’s conversations were compared to a decade ago. The way corporate responsibility is defined, expectations for how it is managed, and how others are valuing it has shifted dramatically with more companies, investors, policymakers and other stakeholders framing the conversation around not only values and doing the right thing, but also how corporate responsibility creates value and contributes to positive change.
As I reflect on these conversations and work with our teams on our planning for 2018 – here are five key trends that stand out for me that I’m proud of:
- Business value. Ten years ago, most discussions on corporate responsibility were focused only on making sure companies were doing the right thing and doing less harm. Today, more and more companies are talking about how their corporate responsibility strategies create shared value and are working to quantify how their initiatives are helping them reduce risk, save costs, build their brand, and expand market opportunities. At Intel we’ve reduced our carbon emissions 60% over the past two decades, and have saved more than $355 million in costs as a result of our employee-led environmental conservation projects in the last seven years.
- Integration. As much as I would like to have unlimited people and resources, the goal of our CSR team is to continue to embed and build capacity across the company. At Intel, I’m particularly proud of the many different teams who are leading and integrating corporate responsibility into their organizations, including our supply chain group which is proactively driving accountability/audit strategies, capacity building programs, and addressing issues such as human trafficking and forced and bonded labor with our suppliers
- Bold goals. More and more, companies are setting ambitious and long-term public goals, not only to challenge themselves, but also to encourage others to join them. I’m particularly proud of the investments and actions Intel is taking around our diversity and inclusion goal, as well as the recent announcement of a new water goal to restore 100% of our global water use by 2025. These goals are leading to important conversations and action both internally, as well as with external stakeholders around system-level solutions and collaboration opportunities.
- Transparency. The phrase “what gets measured gets managed” is often overused– but I think we are beginning to see the impact of improved transparency as CSR data is used by a broader range of investors to engage with companies in their investment portfolios and more customers using data in their supply chain management processes. I’m proud of the ways in which our team has continued to evolve and improve our CSR reporting over the past ten years, and also how we have further integrated environmental, social and governance factors in our outreach with investors.
- Technology impact. Perhaps the most interesting and exciting change is the expanded discussion beyond the focus on reducing a company’s environmental footprint, to also looking at opportunities related the “handprint” –essentially applying technology to help others reduce their footprints. A recent report by Intel and GE* found that applying technology in key industries has the power to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 823 million metric tons and generate cost savings of $81 billion by 2030. This year, I’ve also been particularly proud of new opportunities our teams have identified to apply Intel technology to solve environmental and social challenges, including projects on using AI to prevent human trafficking, IOT technologies to improve air quality monitoring and smart building energy management, and drone and AI technology to support climate research and the study of polar bears.
Each of these trends will continue to evolve in the coming years, with important implications for companies and what their role in society will look like over the next ten years.
For more about Intel’s approach to corporate responsibility, visit www.intel.com/responsibility
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