Corporate Social Responsibility: Big Tech
To have a broad understanding of the current state of philanthropy in big tech with a focus on the reasons why these companies should be more focused on corporate social responsibility (CSR) instead of only profit. An ideal response would include a few examples of what unique and innovative things are being done by big tech companies in the Fortune 50 surrounding "Corporate Social Responsibility" and "Corporate Philanthropy." Some statistics would be useful as well. A hypothetical example of that would be "Eighty percent of global tech companies are moving towards having a social impact benchmark and team in place."
- We were not provided a geographic focus for this project, so we assumed a broad approach and looked globally. If a more targeted approach is desired, for example, the United States, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
- "Amazon has taken CSR incredibly seriously and invested in promoting a cleaner future for the plant, renewable energy, sustainable operations and packaging and reducing their global carbon footprint." Most notably Amazon invested in cultivating solar and wind energy farm in Texas which generates enough energy to power 90,000 homes every year. AWS is also committed to achieving 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure footprint.
- In July 2017, "Microsoft launched their program designed to accelerate the use of AI for environmental protection, focusing their sustainability efforts on carbon, energy, water, ecosystems and circular economy." Similarly, Apple has focused their efforts on sustainability and reducing carbon footprint down its supply chain. Apple’s goal is to power their facilities including offices, data centers, retail stores and product distribution centers on 100% clean energy.
- Six of Google’s data centers have also achieved "100% landfill diversion, largely reducing their environmental footprint." Considering the energy consumption of data centers and considering investing in renewable energy projects are "fantastic and market-relevant ways that the tech sector can contribute to society and the environment."
- According to Marc Benioff, chairman, co-CEO and founder of Salesforce, "Salesforce’s success is directly tied to being a values-driven company. Salesforce selected six SDGs (United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals) to rally around as a company (Quality Education, Gender Equality, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Climate Action) and has set specific targets for what it plans to accomplish for each."
- In this research article from January 2017, some tech companies in Spain were surveyed surrounding the adoption of a strategy of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how this strategy may influence the tech company's performance, competitiveness, and sustainability. The study concluded that a "CSR‐oriented strategy contributes significantly to the performance of the organization. Moreover, CSR influences the competitiveness of technology companies, and particularly their sustainability."
- According to a Nielsen poll in 2018, "85% of Millennials and 80% of Gen Z rank the environment at the top of their list when deciding which companies they will engage with."
- The impact isn’t all about consumers. "Employees are increasingly demanding that their work contributes to some positive social impact. At a time when the line between work and personal life is becoming more and more blurred, employees are increasingly seeking social fulfillment from their hours spent on the job."
- "The Reputation Institute’s Global Corporate Responsibility Reptrak Study shows that governance is the number two factor influencing a company’s reputation, after products and services. Core elements of governance include perceptions of whether a company behaves ethically, is fair in the way it does business, and is open and transparent."
Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals
- Our initial hour of research focused on ensuring that the questions asked could be answered with publicly available sources, and then providing several relevant and salient data points that set the table for future research.
- As discussed at the top of the document, we were not provided a geographic focus for this project, so we assumed a broad approach and looked globally. If a more targeted approach is desired, for example, the United States, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
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Proposed next steps:
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