In the final part of a series on social media, Jonathan Ballantine reports on whether it is just what has been missing from CSR all this time


In the final part of a series on social media, Jonathan Ballantine reports on whether it is just what has been missing from CSR all this timeAs corporate responsibility matures within major global brands, one of the next big challenges is how to drive CSR and sustainability deeper into the corporate culture and engage all employees, not just those with CSR jobs, such as environmental, health and safety engineers, and those in community relations, supply chain responsibility or corporate diversity.

But what does this look like in practice? How do you communicate sustainability goals and objectives to 10,000 employees in 50 countries? How do you tap into and align grassroots efforts already under way? How do you give employees who are passionate about the environment and community service a voice and opportunities to take action?

Next step

Across 2009, a number of groups within Intel have been working to take the internal employee communications and engagement in CSR to the next level, including creating a new internal employee portal/online community forum where employees can connect with others on environmental sustainability activities. “It’s somewhat of a daunting task and of course we’re looking at this as a long-term initiative, but we’re already seeing some good results”, comments Suzanne Fallender, CR manager at Intel. “Our Green Intel online community has gained 1,500 members in just three months since we launched it, making it the largest single employee group on Intel’s internal community platform.”

The company is keen to share two examples from its internal engagement plans. First is a video from Will Swope, Intel’s VP of sustainability, which was rolled out to all employees through the employee portal in October 2009. The video received positive employee comments, including suggestions of specific actions that Intel or its employees could take to further reduce energy use across the company. Click here to view.

The second example is its Sustainable In Action Program, where employees can submit project ideas for funding to share Intel’s expertise in environmental sustainability with communities around the world. Recent project examples have included one in Malaysia, where Intel partnered the Penang Inshore Fisherman Welfare Association and the local community to plant 5,000 trees to help conserve the coastal mangrove forests, and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), which involved the development and distribution of classroom-ready teaching aids on the topic of water conservation.

“I know there are lots of companies working to engage their employees in different ways, including Walmart’s Personal Sustainability Plans, eBay’s green team, Sun’s Every Job is an Eco Job campaign, and Genentech’s GreenGenes, as well as a nice video on BMO Financial Group’s recent efforts and it seems to me that this is a topic in the CSR space ripe for sharing best practices,” remarks Fallender.

Is social media the missing link to embedding CSR across the business?

This is the last in a four part article series. For part one go here.

For parts two and three, go here, and here. Sign up to get e-updates from this magazine section here

Jonathan Ballantine is a European-based communications specialist. He advises leading businesses, NGOs and professional service firms on CR and sustainability issues.

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