Within ST, community engagement forms a central pillar of our culture with many site-based initiatives and activities providing social and environmental support.
Currently, ST’s engagement with communities consists of two main approaches; local initiatives directly managed by sites and initiatives that are managed through the ST Foundation.
Jean-Louis Champseix, Corporate Learning & Development, Social Responsibility, HR Management Systems Group VP
" At senior management level, we are highly committed to engaging and creating value in the communities where we work. All our sites are closely involved in community initiatives and many ST employees volunteer. In 2012, we decided to strengthen our approach to community involvement to ensure more homogeneity and by then more efficiency on the field."
ST’s engagement at local level
ST’s worldwide presence means it operates in highly diverse and multicultural environments, ranging from small sales offices to R&D and design centers or major manufacturing sites located across a range of countries and continents.
Our aim is to generate positive local community impacts in a variety of ways; economic (e.g. through investments in infrastructure and local purchasing), social (e.g. employment, education* and charitable activities), and environmental (e.g. reforestation and environmental protection).
(*) read more on Partnerships in R&D and Education here
In order to ensure our engagement initiatives are impactful and effective, we have decided to monitor our community involvement according to the London Benchmarking Group methodology (LBG), a valuation model for community involvement. ST became a member of the London Benchmarking Group in 2012. We now publish a consolidated review of ST’s community involvement in our annual Sustainability report.
ST’s involvement in the community
ST sites have a strong track record and long history of community engagement. We have identified the main community involvement themes and topics, representing five main areas where we seek to make a difference. These are:
Young generation and education is the main area of focus for all ST sites. Support in this area may take many forms; internships/apprenticeships, student visits to ST sites, student sponsorship, supplementary teaching programs, computer summer schools and partnerships.
Innovation and high technology are key areas of involvement and include aspects such as design contests, robotics cups, awards, training development and R&D clusters.
Social welfare and charity donations are organized at our sites and include; charitable event sponsorship, match funding of employee donations and support for natural disasters.
Environmental involvement includes; events to raise energy awareness, recycling and other environmental aspects, fund raising for reforestation or tree-planting days, participation in environmental conferences and sharing of good practices across communities.
Economic development includes; management networks and committees, coaching of Small and Medium Enterprises and support for start-ups.
The ST Foundation
Since 2003, the ST Foundation has helped reduce the digital divide (the gap between those who have access to modern digital technologies, and those who do not) in both developing and developed countries through a worldwide computer literacy program, Digital Unify (DU).
ST Foundation’s Governance
The ST Foundation’s governing body, its Board of Directors, takes decisions on areas such as financial management and approval of projects. The Board meets three times a year and reviews historic activity and plans for future work.
The Board is chaired by Pietro Fox, President, and is composed of both ST and non-ST members: Mario Arlati (Treasurer), Mauro Decca, Alain Dutheil, Tjerk Hooghiemstra, Otto Kosgalwies, Guy-Philippe Rubeli. Pasquale Pistorio, ST’s former CEO, is Honorary Chairman.
A Geneva-based team manages projects and the day-to-day administration of the Foundation, supported by local teams in India and Morocco who closely oversee many of the initiatives taking place in these two countries. Significant assistance is also provided by a network of ST volunteers who work on several aspects of the Digital Unify (DU) program.
ST Foundation’s focus
Digital Unify has offered free computer access and training to over 148,000 beneficiaries since its inception. In 2011, the ST Foundation’s Board of Directors validated a new roadmap for Digital Unify, based on two themes:
- The development of a local community program, based on a network of ST volunteers at each major ST site. This was successfully launched with the support of ST’s senior management.
- The development of Digital Unify in Sub-Saharan Africa, starting with strengthening the existing projects in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In addition, all ST site managers give priority to the ST Foundation when disposing of computers from the ST pool. The recovered computers and associated hardware are used to equip laboratories set up in partnership with the ST Foundation as part of the Digital Unify program.
Our deployment of the LBG methodology (London Benchmarking Group)
In 2012, our company level focus was to identify the initiatives being undertaken across the company and the ST sites that are involved; and also to evaluate our inputs to such initiatives.
In order to do so, we have decided to become a member of the London Benchmarking Group and adopt its methodology.
We organized two classroom training sessions for our Sustainable Excellence community, one in Paris for our coordinators in Europe and the US, and one in Singapore for our Asian contributors. We also organized an additional training session by conference call to employees. This was a key step as the methodology was new to us and we needed to ensure a good understanding and appropriation of the concept.
All ST sites contributed to list their community initiatives, we conducted the same exercise at corporate level and then validated a final list of eligible initiatives according to the LBG methodology before undertaking evaluation. This considered cash contributions, the volunteering time spent by employees, in-kind donations and the management costs associated with the various community projects.
Local sustainability impacts objectives and results
- Support ST Foundation’s initiatives;
- Formalize a company community engagement strategy and evaluate its impact.