The Business Case for CSR Reporting: Intel's 10th Annual CSR Report

by Aman Singh Das | May 18, 2011

  • My Vault

Intel's 2010 Annual CSR Report goes live tomorrow. A veteran in the world of CSR reporting, this will be the company's 10th report. And from what I have seen, Intel's Director for Global CSR Strategy and Communications Suzanne Fallender has much to be proud of.

For instance, here's an exclusive snapshot of some of the achievements you can expect to read in the report tomorrow:

  • Sustainable: Intel maintained its position as the largest voluntary purchaser of renewable energy credits in the United States according to the EPA, and completed nine solar electric installations at Intel locations in four U.S. states and Israel.
  • Giving back to the Community: Over the past decade, Intel and the Intel Foundation invested more than $1 billion to improve education globally, partnering with educators, governments, and other companies to develop a range of transformative programs and technology solutions.
  • Social Responsibility: By the end of 2010, more than nine million teachers worldwide had been trained through the Intel® Teach Program, which offers professional development for K-12 teachers of all subjects, helping them integrate technology into their lessons.
  • Employee Engagement & Volunteering: In 2010, close to half (48 percent) of Intel's workforce donated more than 1 million hours of service at approximately 5,000 schools and nonprofits around the world.
  • Corporate Responsibility: One of Intel's six values is "Great Place to Work." In 2010, the workplace practices in support of this value earned Intel a spot on Fortune's annual "100 Best Companies to Work for" list.

One of my first introductions to Fallender was a webinar I attended on CSR reporting early last year, where she advocated for a standard on integrated reporting (a holistic annual report that includes the company's financial and non-financial results):

"There is interest in this information from several different stakeholders, all of whom are looking for specific components. It's a daunting task to try to address them all in the absence of a standard. A consensus-driven global standard could help address the wide inconsistency of the present [GRI] guidelines, application levels as well as relevance of core issues."

Earlier in our conversation this time around, I confessed that putting "initiatives" or "project" after "CSR" gets on my nerves because it instantly dilutes what CSR stands for, or should stand for at least.

And since many CSR reports continue to devote page after page on progress of their latest CSR initiatives, in the final segment of our conversation, I asked Fallender how Intel approached this paradigm in CSR reporting.

In our final segment, here's Fallender on the need—and importance of CSR reporting.

Putting CSR on the Business Agenda at Intel

Need for CSR Reporting

Drive Better Performance: "Reporting has helped us drive performance improvements over time and helped embed CSR into the culture. But you need to evolve the discussion over time and look at how the process and data helps drive different discussions within the company."

How Does CSR Create Value for Intel?: "One thing that we have done in the last year is to talk more about how it relates to people's functional roles and also how it relates to business value. For years, our execs have talked about how CSR creates value for Intel, but we didn't necessarily talk about it in a consistent way. That's one of the projects I'm working on with corporate finance right now—creating a framework and tools that allow us to more systematically map our CSR initiatives back to value."

"This integrated value framework has four sections: Risk management, operational excellence, brand, and revenue opportunity."

[READ: 11 CHALLENGES FOR CSR -- AND CSR REPORTING]

New revenue opportunities: "For example, looking at things through an environmental or a social impact lens, you might actually develop new products and services that can add revenue that might have been otherwise overlooked."

The role of corporate finance: "What corporate finance is doing now is piloting different decision-making tools to help integrate these factors better and more consistently into ROI analysis for two reasons:

1. To make sure that you're factoring in all the risk, and
2. That you make sure you're not overlooking opportunities."

"It's a very long term project but the role of corporate finance is often overlooked in discussions about CSR and employee engagement. Why not look at the internal corporate finance team and the role they can play in helping understand risk, priorities and measurement to improve internal decision-making on CSR issues?"

How Has CSR Reporting Helped?

Enhances engagement: "One of the things reporting has helped is in enhancing the engagement process because you work with so many different people across many different departments, from senior executives to people managing individual programs."

Adds Accountability:"So the process helps by instilling accountability and tracking performance over time—knowing that we're going to need the data and that we're going to have to understand it, and explain it. This also can form an indirect link with employee pride and new hires."

[READ: AS WALL STREET WELCOMES GRI, EXECUTIVES PUT CSR REPORTING IN PERSPECTIVE]

Celebrates Successes: "Highlighting individual employee achievements in the report helps celebrate the contributions and hopefully over the long term will help with employee retention and support the company's overall performance and growth."

"In this year's report, there are truly some amazing employee-led initiatives and projects—from a pilot project to use boiler emissions from one of fabs to grow algae for biofuels, to a team in our supply chain organization that initiated a project to reduce solid waste by implementing a new tray reuse project in one of our assembly-test facility."

"These and many more examples are what make me feel lucky to do the job that I get to do."

See Intel's 2010 Annual CSR Report.

Previously:
Job Hunting in CSR? Focus on Getting the Interview First
6 Tips for Jobseekers in CSR
How Do You Make CSR Make Sense?
A CSR Executive's Career Path

Filed Under: CSR

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