As Director of Corporate Responsibility at Intel Corporation, Suzanne Fallender collaborates with stakeholders across the company to integrate CSR concepts into strategies, policies, public reporting, and engagement to create positive social impact and business value.
For our Green Line Interview Series, Suzanne shared with us some of the important work happening at Intel to advance CSR and sustainability. She will be presenting the opening keynote address at GoGreen Conference- Portland on October 17.
What does CSR (corporate social responsibility) mean to Intel and why it is important?
At Intel, we view CSR as a business approach that creates value for both Intel and society. For decades, we have worked to integrate CSR practices into our business and we have set ambitious goals to help us continue to reduce our environmental footprint, protect vulnerable workers in our supply chain, advance diversity and inclusive business practices, and empower people through technology and our social impact initiatives.
For us, having a strategic focus on CSR has helped us to leverage our technology and expertise to have a positive impact on the world and the communities where we operate. Importantly, it also has resulted in us managing our business better by helping us to further mitigate risks, reduce costs, build brand value and identify new market opportunities.
Does Intel have diversity and inclusion goals?
Yes, I’m personally very proud of the work we are doing in the area of diversity and inclusion. After many years of reporting on and investing in our diversity practices, we set a bold goal in 2015 to accelerate progress and be the first high-tech company to reach full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in our U.S. workforce by 2020. We committed $300 million to support this goal and advance diversity and inclusion across the technology industry. We just released our latest diversity report and are making good progress toward our goal— we now expect to meet our goal in 2018—two years ahead of schedule. We also have a supplier diversity goal to increase our spending with diverse suppliers to $1 billion by 2020, and we launched the Intel Capital Diversity Fund, the world’s largest venture capital fund focused on diverse entrepreneurs.
But one of the most important things we can do is advance system-level change by working with others to build new career pathways into the industry and empower youth through technology. Through a five-year, $5 million investment with Oakland Unified School District, we are helping both improve computer science and engineering programs at Oakland Tech and McClymonds high schools. We are already seeing strong results two years into the program. There has been a 14x increase in enrollment in computer science classes. And through our Intel® Innovation Generation initiative, we are working with partner organizations around the world to provide under served youth with access to hands-on technology experiences and training, enabling the next generation to acquire the skills needed to succeed in the digital economy.
What are you doing to engage employees in your sustainability and CSR strategies?
We recognize the critical role that our employees play in helping us meet our goals. Our approach to employee engagement on sustainability and CSR issues includes three main components: Learn, Act, Share. In terms of “learn,” we educate and engage our employees in discussions about our sustainability and CSR goals and our performance, helping them to integrate these concepts into their daily work across many different departments and functions. We have a regular sustainability speaker series covering a range of CSR topics and annually we provide a CSR update which includes a progress update towards our goals. Through our internal news channels, we share CSR content throughout the year. For “act”, we provide opportunities for employees to take action. Through our Intel Involved volunteer program, employees gave back 1.2 million hours of volunteer hours last year around the world, including more than 296,000 hours in Oregon. And for “share”, we work to highlight employee contributions and innovative ideas and help them to share those stories with other employees, and with members of our local communities via social media, including our CSR@Intel blog and @intelinvolved Twitter handle.
What advice can you give to other companies to integrate CSR into their organizations?
The most important place to start is understanding your own organization and its purpose. What are the specific risks and opportunities that sustainability and CSR factors present for the type of organization you are running and its size and scope? Based on that – identify which people within your organization have the greatest ability to impact those factors and start bringing them together for conversations.
One of the most effective strategies is building the business case early on – how will new strategies not only reduce environmental impact, but will also generate cost savings? How can products that incorporate sustainable design help you to meet new customer expectations and needs? And on the employee engagement front – find ways to include employees early on in the journey by having them generate ideas and then provide ongoing support and recognition/rewards for their achievements. We have seen great success over the years with programs that encourage employees to submit project ideas for funding, such as our Intel Seed Grant Program. And each year we recognize employees who make significant contributions to our sustainability practices through our Intel Environmental Excellence Awards; last year’s employee projects helped save 263 million gallons of water, 55.5 million Khw of energy, and $25.7 million in cost savings. And since 2008, we have linked a portion of every employee’s pay to achievement of our CSR goals.
Where do you see CSR and sustainability in 5 and 10 years?
If I first look back 5-10 years, the biggest change I see now is a dramatic increase in the level of awareness, integration, and alignment with business objectives. CSR and sustainability really used to be treated separately from the core business – and now we see CEOs, large institutional investors and industry associations talking about how these issues connect to business and shareholder value.
What I expect we will continue to see moving forward is a greater understanding of how integrating CSR into your business can help you run your business better over the long term, and also more discussion about the best methods to effectively measure and quantify that impact. I think it’s an incredibly exciting time to be working on CSR and sustainability issues – there is a growing opportunity and urgency to bring more organizations into the discussion and collectively work together to advance progress.
For more information about Intel’s approach to CSR and sustainability, visit www.intel.com/responsibility. To see the entire program and purchase tickets to GoGreen Conference – Portland, visit portland.gogreenconference.net.