By Victoria Endsley
At a recent Commonwealth Club panel in San Francisco, Pamela had a chance to sit down with Mark Edmunds (Deloitte), Gabi Zedlmayer (HP) and Trisa Thompson (Dell) to discuss their global initiatives in Corporate Social Responsibility.
These three companies are all part of the Fortune 500 list and have offices throughout the world. Deloitte operates in the financial services sector and Hewlett-Packard and Dell are computer manufacturing companies whose business also extends into other areas such as printer production, software, and server manufacturing.
The mission for each is clear, however. Take a position on corporate social responsibility, and pursue initiatives that will last for the long term.
Through their global network of offices, each now pioneers programs that are aligned with their company objectives and seek to make a difference.
Deloitte’s focus has been in education, specifically character education. They believe that it helps them build credibility to the public and creates a company that cares.
HP believes that it is not about the money or technology only; it is about innovative solutions and skills that address social issues.
Dell is combining dollars, technology and talent to combine for the greatest effect. They believe that you can’t just walk away. You need to think about the long term effect of your campaigns.
Different campaigns, different core objectives, yet one central theme pervaded throughout the discussion: you must think global if you want to operate in a global world.
At the close of the panel, the three executives shared some words of wisdom on global CSR. Dell’s Trisa Thompson said, “Before you start, think about the result you want to make. Then think long and hard… Everything flows from that.”
HP’s Gabi Zedlmayer said that there are “lots of places where you can go to find out more information and where to engage – there is no excuse to say ‘I can’t give money because I don’t know what’s done with it and what the skills are that we can bring’. There is a tremendous opportunity for small and medium size companies to learn from larger companies and reach a larger audience.”
And Deloitte’s Mark Edmunds said to “try to become famous for something. The journey of trying to become famous will make you great. Same [goes] for the company. Focus begins in this regard.”
These three executives are a testament to the mission of their companies. Through their own professional aspirations, they have strived to give back and make their imprint, and the work they promote through their companies shows that behind the programs, there are always people. People are making a difference, and when people ban together, an even greater impact is made.
For more information on the Commonwealth Club panel, please visit their website.