Responsibly Smart

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has created an obligation for organisations to adopt new attitudes and measures, to identify, evaluate and respond to social expectations. CSR is defined as, “a company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates.”

For instance, Microsoft and Cisco, have been active participants in their corporate social responsibility. Cisco distributes its CSR activities into different categories such as, Governance and ethics, supply chain, society and environment. Their environmental sustainability materiality assessment is based on input from stake holders, results of life-cycle assessments (LCAs), and other analyses of Cisco products. According to Cisco’s CSR report for FY 2014, “Energy and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are the most important and complex environmental issues for Cisco. The issue of energy consumption includes not only their operations, but also the extended operations of their supply chain partners with whom they outsource business functions such as contract manufacturing, component supply, and logistics. Product energy efficiency is important because, for most Cisco products, the use phase makes up from 80 to 95 percent of the product’s carbon footprint. Product delivery and packaging also represent an opportunity for us to reduce impacts related to logistics and material usage”.

Like Cisco, Microsoft have been an active participant in CSR activities as well. Microsoft works with governments, investors, non-profits, and a wide range of other organizations including BSR, the Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship, CSR Europe, the Clinton Global Initiative, Net Impact, and the World Economic Forum. In September 2012, Microsoft refocused much of their efforts around creating opportunities for youth by launching Microsoft YouthSpark, a major initiative to connect hundreds of millions of youth with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. The company is working to bridge the opportunity divide that separates youth who have opportunities from those who don’t, with the goal of helping young people secure their individual futures and also the future of our global economy, Bross says. In Australia, in 2011, Microsoft gave software to the value of more than $50m to over 2,700 not-for-profit organisations in Australia last year. The largest grant ($10m) was to Red Cross Australia. Our employees are given 3 days volunteer leave annually and eligible to participate in a Workplace Giving Program where Microsoft matches their donations dollar for dollar.

An important aspect of having CSR activities in an organisation is the positive environment you build for your employees. When employees and management feel they are working for a company that has a true conscience, they will be more enthusiastic and engaged in their jobs and company in general. New2IT is a program developed by IT Futures, to assist individuals and community groups who lack basic computer literacy needed for today and tomorrow. The New2IT Program particularly focuses in providing basic to advanced computer lessons to people from Community groups, Aged Care, Youth, Job Seekers and small businesses. It aims to focus on the individual needs of the learners providing them accessible, engaging and highly effective computer education.

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