Responsible Technology: Business Solutions by/for Women

November 2005 Volume III Number 5

Net Contents
I. Network Presentation
Key Learnings
Perspectives

II. What’s New
February 9: Luncheon Panel

III. The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future
The Concept of the Network
Contact Information
Sponsorship Opportunities

I. Network Presentation
A big thank you to those who took the time to attend WNSF’s luncheon panel on November 17, 2005 entitled “Responsible Technology: Business Solutions by/for Women.” The event, hosted by Verizon Wireless and Burson Marsteller at Burson’s offices in New York City, featured speakers from Verizon Wireless, Microsoft and Intel highlighting how their companies have used technology for socially responsible ends.

Key Findings

  • Numerous CSR initiatives are affected–and can be improved–by technology.
  • Companies are finding creative solutions to myriad social problems using their tech savvy in various ways:
    • Verizon Wireless has a “HopeLine®” to tackle domestic violence.
    • Microsoft is working to broaden ‘digital inclusion’ to the underserved by improving access to technology and training.
    • Intel is taking an active role in defining the CSR field as part of the European Commission’s work on CSR Communication.
  • Noting that both CSR and technology are fast-changing fields, tech companies are generally lobbying for the so-called voluntary approach over government regulation.
  • The role of women–from factory production lines to government negotiating tables–is central to the tech industry, and the sector is increasingly considering their particular needs.
  • Some social ills that particularly affect women, such as domestic violence, can also be lessened by technology.

Perspectives

Moderator: Ann Goodman, Executive Director, WNSF.

Speakers:

  • Debra Lewis, Manager of Public Affairs, Verizon Wireless
  • Danielle Harder, Sr. Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Karina Howley, Ireland Government Affairs & European CSR Manager, Intel

Debi Lewis, Manager of Public Affairs at Verizon Wireless, outlined Verizon’s CSR program entitled “HopeLine,” which focuses on preventing domestic violence. The program provides a “communications link” between victims of domestic violence and the outside world–including family, friends, counselors, and/or the court system–from which they are often forcibly cut off. Through this program, Verizon accepts no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories, refurbishes them and makes them accessible to victims of domestic violence through non-profit agencies and organizations. Verizon Wireless has identified domestic violence as a serious business issue, affecting women at all corporate levels, and contributing to employee absence, reducing productivity and impacting workplace safety.

The HopeLine program benefits Verizon Wireless in various ways:

  • Regulatory/Policy – by having the company’s stores take back phones and accessories, Verizon Wireless is proactively taking part in electronics recycling initiatives
  • Marketing:
    • Drives store traffic: As people come to drop off phones, they may take the time to look at other phones or plans.
    • Connects to sponsorships and partnerships: The company uses the program to raise awareness about the issue and implement “take back” programs.
    • Raises awareness of new phones through a Celebrity Phone Auction on eBay
  • Community Relations:

* Customers sometimes choose Verizon Wireless because of the social program. Verizon Wireless has collected more than 2.5 million phones since October 2001. Some 30,000 have been donated to organizations to distribute to victims. The company has also donated over $9 million in cash, phones and airtime. By taking back its phones, the company has managed to keep over 200 tons of waste out of landfills and recycle nearly 78,000 lbs of batteries.

Danielle Harder, Microsoft’s Senior Program Manager, grouped the company’s Citizenship program into three categories:

  • Improving Security and Internet Safety, by protecting children online, preventing computer crimes (hacking & viruses), identifying theft and so-called phishing, maintaining privacy, controlling spam, and the like.
  • Advancing the Knowledge Economy via digital inclusion, by providing ICT skills training to a quarter billion people previously underserved by technology by 2010.
  • Ensuring Responsible Business Practices, largely by working with suppliers and the greater electronics industry to create and implement a common electronics industry code of conduct (www.eicc.info).

Karina Howley, Intel’s CSR Manager in Ireland, the company’s manufacturing and technology center in Europe, outlined Intel’s involvement with the CSR process at the European Commission. Karina stressed the need for innovation in CSR programs, which she says require a voluntary approach, versus the traditional regulatory approach. Intel defines corporate responsibility as “doing what is right, respecting people and the world around us.” One major component of Intel’s CSR initiative is the “Intel Involved” program that offers employees opportunities to volunteer with organizations in the local community.

A third of Intel’s employees in Ireland last year volunteered through the program. The company is also actively involved in education through programs such as Intel Teach to the Future.

II. What’s New

  • February 9, 2006 luncheon panel: “For Good Measure: Metrics for CSR, hosted by Deloitte & Touche, with speakers from Deloitte, Alcoa and Ford Motor Co. Look for details and on the WNSF website (www.wnsf.org).

III. The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future
The Concept of the Network

The Network provides a forum for business and professional women to congregate, reflect, and act on the converging issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. Through meetings and simple electronic support tools, the Network aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices on these vital workplace issues. By creating a new network of executive women, the Network seeks to improve responsible practices in workplaces; sensitize corporate culture more generally to issues of sustainability and social responsibility; and encourage a public commitment locally, nationally, and internationally to sustainability principles.

The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future is a 501c3 organization. Gifts are tax deductible.

For more information, please contact:
Ann Goodman, Executive Director
Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future
Please direct inquiries to: info@wnsf.org

Board of Directors:

CHAIR: Joyce LaValle, Senior Vice President, Interface Inc.; Karen Flanders, Director, Sustainability, Coca-Cola Co.; Joanne Fox-Przeworski, Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Bard College; Ann Goodman, Executive Director, WNSF; Sarah Howell, Director, Corporate Communications, BP; Michele Kahane, Special Projects Director, Corporate Citizenship Program, Boston College; Clair Krizov, Executive Director of Environmental and Social Responsibility, AT&T; Kathy Robb, Esq., Partner and Head of Environmental Practice, Hunton & Williams; Deborah Sliter, Vice President of Programs, National Environmental Education & Training Foundation of Sustainability.

This issue of Net Notes was written by Monika Kumar and edited by Ann Goodman. WNSF thanks founding sponsors AT&T and the Ford Foundation for their generous support.

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