Microsoft is serious about corporate social responsibility and sees it as a key component of its overall long term business strategy. That's what Dan Bross, senior director of corporate citizenship at Microsoft, told a group at Wake Forest University's Babcock Graduate School of Management on Tuesday, Oct. 21.
Microsoft believes it takes more than great products to make a great company and that great companies have social agendas, Bross said. He added that citizenship programs of companies can provide a competitive advantage for the corporation while advancing the economic prosperity of society.
Microsoft’s citizenship mission – “To ensure that Microsoft is a company that contributes to sustainable, economic and social development by providing products and programs that create opportunity and improve quality of life” – is an extension of the company’s overall mission.
As director of corporate citizenship, Bross works with a virtual team across business groups and subsidiaries worldwide to advance the company’s commitment to corporate citizenship. Bross said that through Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program, which advances social and economic opportunity by transforming education, fostering local innovation and enabling jobs and opportunities, the company is committed to bringing the benefits of technology to the next 5 billion people with the goal of reaching the first billion by 2015.
For example, since 1983, Microsoft and its employees have provided more than $3.4 million in cash, services and software as part of its corporate citizenship. The company also offers a global employee engagement program that provides three days of paid time off to volunteer annually as well as a U.S. employee giving and matching program that matches donations of time, products and cash up to $12,000 per year, among others.
Corporate citizenship also translates into responsible business practices, according to Bross, which include legal and regulatory compliance; partnership on public policy; environmental stewardship; and corporate governance, among others.
Bross also addressed students’ questions concerning corporate social responsibility in a Fortune 500 company setting. The event was sponsored by Babcock's Net Impact chapter.