Just because you can’t measure an action doesn’t mean it’s not creating strategic value, says Suzanne Fallender, director of CSR Strategy and Communications for Intel. Her job, though, is to measure wherever she can and make the best case possible for incorporating sustainability efforts into every facet of the company.
“We have been doing a lot of things around sustainability for a very long time,” says Suzanne Fallender, director of CSR (corporate social responsibility) Strategy and Communications in the Intel Global Corporate Responsibility Office. “What we’re doing now is trying to take it to that next level of integration in terms of our strategy, in terms of our governance system, in terms of employee engagement,” she says. “That’s really where we’ve been focusing a lot of our efforts.” Fallender came to her role four and a half years ago from outside the company. “I actually was working on the investor side of things,” she says, at Institutional Shareholder Services (now part of MSCI), an organization that did corporate governance and ESG research. “I went from analyzing thousands of companies doing CSR to being inside a company, and I always tease that I get a taste of my own medicine now since I now have to answer the questionnaires I used to send to companies.” In her role, Fallender works on Intel’s global CSR programs, which are detailed online at http://www.intel.com/go/responsibility and http://blogs.intel.com/csr. She’s also front and center on the issue in social media, tweeting at @sfallender and @intelinvolved. In a conversation with Nina Kruschwitz, an editor and the special projects manager at MIT Sloan Management Review, Fallender talks about the challenges of breaking out costs and payoffs of sustainability efforts, how the company is using targeted websites like ExploreIntel.com to provide year-round real-time reporting of CSR activities and how Intel sees value in helping create long-term demand for renewables, even if it means paying more for green energy today. Intel has been active in sustainability issues for a long time, something like 20 years? Intel started voluntarily reporting environmental data back in 1994, so we’ve had many years of experience with this. We moved to transparency and proactive engagement with investors on these topics, and today we learn quite a bit through proactive outreach and road shows that we do with ESG research firms and socially responsible investors.