Guest Post: Kim McMann, President BT US & Canada – CSR Is Good For Business
Kim McMann joined BT as President of both the US and Canada region and our newly formed Consumer Packaged Goods vertical in November 2010. In this blog post she shares some thoughts about how she is approaching CSR in her role.
I joined BT because of our leadership in providing networked IT services globally, in an exciting market that is growing and changing rapidly – not to mention our strong portfolio of offerings and a leadership team that is committed to service excellence. But I was also proud to join a company with such a strong CSR and sustainability reputation and am continually looking for opportunities to build on that reputation through both our employees and our customer relationships.
CSR is a powerful tool for business as well as for society and the environment. IT and telecommunications are in themselves critical infrastructure components for successful societies and economies. Who could envisage economic and societal growth without these technologies? So just being in this field in the first place carries with it valuable societal contribution. But we can enhance that by ensuring our people remain close to our communities and to the challenges our communities face.
BT US and Canada employees are involved in disaster response through our Ready When the Time Comes teams with the American Red Cross. As well as helping the community, this helps support our own disaster readiness. We have a strong digital inclusion program with One Economy through which we have supported the launch of the Net Connectors platform. As well as being good for society, it is in the interest of the business to have everyone on the right side of the digital divide. And for broad employee engagement we have employee charity match and volunteering programs through which we help our people support their own causes with company backing.
I am thrilled that I have been able to add two additional initiatives.
In October, BT teams across the US will participate in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. This is a great complement to BT’s partnership with Cancer Research in the UK and will allow our BT teams to walk with others in their local communities, in support of a cause that I know has touched almost everyone either directly or indirectly. I will be proud to be walking with our team in Irving Texas. Initiatives like this one bring our people together to participate in something outside of the workplace that they feel strongly about. We can help our people come together in a way that can be even more powerful than participating as individuals.
BT US and Canada has also joined the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. We have just announced our Commitment to Action “Empowering Veterans in Transition to Civilian Workforce.” This membership gives me the personal opportunity to collaborate with my peers from other companies, better understand the sustainability issues their companies and the planet are facing, and how business can work together with government and society to address them.
In a future post I plan to share some more thoughts on what I have learned from listening to our customers’ sustainability challenges. Meanwhile I would be really interested to hear your thoughts. Should CSR be good for business too, or should it be purely altruistic?