As part of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) series, we recently had the opportunity to interview Dave Stangis, Intel Corporation's Director of Corporate Responsibility. Thanks again to Dave for taking the time to share some of his thoughts with us...
1. What has driven the increased C-level focus on CSR initiatives in today’s business world?
Dave Stangis: At the risk of over-simplifying – CSR is now clearly seen as a business imperative. Not just by a few of the Green CEO’s or Green-product companies, but by just about every successful business leader. CSR might have started out as philanthropy or pollution prevention, but it has gone through phases from “do less harm” to “give something back” to “addressing global challenges” via business core competencies. Businesses are competing on CSR both in terms of market development and reputation.
2. What are the top three challenges facing you as a CSR executive over the next 12-18 months? Why?
Dave Stangis: The challenges really have shifted over the last couple years. Once a company “gets it,” work and strategies shift from advocating to managing. Communicating is one key challenge. Annual CSR reports just don’t do the work anymore. First, just about every big company is doing one and 80% of them look and sound the same. I’m working to continue to build a suite of communication plans for specific audiences both inside and outside the company. Second, with 90,000 employees in countries all over the world, keeping CSR work leveraged and focused is a critical challenge. We have organizations and geographies all really striving to take advantage of the momentum and drive CSR strategies on their own. It’s a great problem to have, but now we have to support all that energy. Third, is identifying where we have the most impact to society, to our employees and to the company’s bottom line. We’ve moved from just doing good things or giving back to the community. Now that CSR is a business strategy – or part of all business strategies, we need to focus on true triple bottom line ROI.
3. With the explosion in sustainability reports and “green” projects, how can customers distinguish between genuine CSR initiatives and those that are more words than action?
Dave Stangis: Results and Impact. Two simple words, but a complex assignment for customers or stakeholders. Readers of all these reports should be looking for actual goals and metrics. They should be able to discern positive impacts to both customers and the business. If those characteristics are missing – they may be getting just words.
4. What role, if any, do you see corporations playing in poverty alleviation in the developing world? Any specific examples at Intel?
Dave Stangis: We’ve seen a movement to what some have called social impact indicators. Instead of just counting “things” or describing programs – actually changing people’s lives for the better – needs to be a design outcome of any good CSR program. We have a long way to go in this regard, but I consider it a journey. Many of our education programs are focused on the systemic challenges of preparing teachers and young people to excel in the knowledge-based, 21st century economy. We have many many anecdotal examples of success both at the individual and community level, but we have yet to build a strong set of indicators specifically focused on poverty alleviation. To be completely frank, we are also cautious about how much credit we can claim on an issue as complex as poverty.
5. What recent CSR initiative or project are you most proud of, and why? How have you measured its success?
Dave Stangis: It is almost impossible to pick one out of the many efforts our employees and business groups are trying to drive globally. However, a few stand out as significant based on current attention levels among the general public and businesses world wide. The first is the announcement of our 100% lead free microprocessors at the cutting edge of our product lines. We announced in May
that our future processors, beginning with the entire family of 45 nanometer (nm) processors, are going 100 percent lead-free. The Intel 45nm family includes the next-generation Intel® Core™ 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad and Xeon® processors.
Another in the same vein is the Climate Savers Computing Initiative
launched by Intel and Google. We were joined by Dell, EDS, the Environmental Protection Agency, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, Pacific Gas and Electric, World Wildlife Fund, and more than a dozen additional organizations announcing our intent to form the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. The goal of the new broad-based environmental effort is to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting aggressive new targets for energy-efficient computers and components, and promoting the adoption of energy-efficient computers and power management tools worldwide.
The Climate Savers Computing Initiative is setting a new 90 percent efficiency target for power supplies, which if achieved, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year -- and save more than $5.5 billion in energy costs. By 2010, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative will cut greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equal to removing more than 11 million cars from the road or shutting down 20 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants -- a significant step in reducing the emissions affecting our planet. There are already more than 100 members in the initiative.
6. Has your CSR department’s responsibility and accountability lessened, grown or stayed the same over the past few years? How has it changed, if at all?
Dave Stangis: There is no doubt that the responsibility and accountability has grown. Intel employees from the board and executive level to the front line are involved and searching for ways to connect the work they do in their day to day jobs to Intel’s CSR profile.
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