When Corporate Responsibility is Part of Your Day Job

It started with a Facebook post. Back in March of this year, the Prime Minister of Jamaica - the most Honorable Andrew Holness - posted that he had donated a Lenovo laptop powered by an AMD processor to a deserving student. David Bennett (AMD VP of Sales), who is from Jamaica, saw the post and inspired his colleagues at AMD to do even more. A team from AMD and Lenovo flew into Kingston, Jamaica and, with Prime Minister Holness and partners at Lenovo, donated another 40 laptop PCs to Jamaican students.

And this is the least surprising part of the story.

AMD was founded on the credo of "people first, products and profits will follow." So, when the team from our mobile products group contacted me about this donation, it fit into a well-known pattern of AMD folks helping others.

After more than twenty years working in corporate responsibility, it never gets old. Almost each week, people from across our company share their stories of working with the community to help make things better. These acts of kindness are inspiring and motivate other employees to do even more
This case caught my attention for a couple of reasons: First, this donation was not part of some larger corporate giving program, it was initiated by the business team. Second, and most significant, the business team sees this donation as a part of their "day-job."

It may seem counter-intuitive that giving away computers could be justified as a business strategy, but in this case it was.

Jamaica, and many similar places, is full of bright young minds. Many of these people have not had the level of resources and opportunities as students in more developed economies. Nonetheless, these students are passionate and eager to learn.

Inspired by Prime Minister Holness, the AMD team realized that providing new PCs to deserving students in Jamaica could be a win-win scenario. Not only could they help forty scholars in Jamaica, but they could establish a powerful example of how digital technology opens up educational opportunities for millions more students.

Perhaps the essence of corporate responsibility is when the company's objectives align with the needs of society. Because each party benefits, this form of corporate responsibility (sometimes called "shared value) is truly sustainable and scalable.

My hat is off to the AMD and Lenovo team that made this donation happen - this is a great example for other business units to follow. And kudos to Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Great leaders know that a simple act of kindness can become a major force for good.
Tim Mohin is Senior Director of Corporate Responsibility for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and the author of the book, Changing Business from the Inside Out: A Treehugger's Guide to Working in Corporations (Greenleaf and Berrett-Kohler).His postings (and comments made in his book) are his own opinions and may not represent AMD's positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied. Follow Tim @TimJMohin and check out AMD's latest Corporate Responsibility Report.