Xerox CEO Addresses Value of Corporate Citizenship at Conference
Press release from the issuing company
NEW YORK--Nov. 11, 2004-- More than 40 years ago, Xerox Corporation's then-chief executive began to crystallize core social principles for the company to follow in respecting its employees, communities and neighbors.
These values - touching diversity, the environment, philanthropy and much more - led to a remarkable legacy of corporate citizenship. But more important, "their enduring relevance is unmistakable and they continue to serve as our North Star," said Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox chairman and chief executive officer, in a keynote address here today. "We believe passionately that good citizenship is good business. It's good for our communities, good for our people, and ultimately, good for our companies."
Mulcahy described the company's innovative practices and longstanding commitment to social responsibility at the 2004 conference of Business for Social Responsibility, a nonprofit organization that helps member companies achieve success in ways that respect ethical values, people, communities and the environment. At Xerox, she said, social values "are far from words on a piece of paper" and are operationalized in key business practices across the company.
For example, she highlighted Xerox's strong record of infusing sustainable thinking into business decisions, as documented for the 10th year in an "Environment, Health and Safety Progress Report," also released today. Xerox product design and manufacturing operations lead the industry in equipment remanufacturing and parts reuse practices. By being smart upfront and designing products and parts that can serve multiple lifetimes, Xerox can not only divert millions of pounds of potential waste from landfills but also save hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Other EH&S achievements in 2003: Xerox further improved its workplace safety record, it recycled 85 percent of non-hazardous solid waste generated in all Xerox facilities, and under its "Green World Alliance" recycle program Xerox captured more than 4.5 million used toner cartridges and containers.
Similarly, Xerox's philanthropic practices take a disciplined, forward-looking approach, Mulcahy noted. Xerox invests about $15 million annually in some 400 educational, cultural and social institutions that can tangibly impact the quality of life in a community for generations to come. About 80 percent of the time, a Xerox person is a volunteer with the organization. "We find that the combination of Xerox money and Xerox people ensures a greater return on our investment," she said.
And some of the most valuable resources that Xerox shares with community organizations are the time and talents of Xerox people.
Under the company's longstanding "Social Service Leave" program, for instance, select employees each year are granted up to one year - with full pay and benefits - to work for a nonprofit on a project of their own design and choosing. Because Xerox views volunteering as opportunities to build teamwork and sharpen business skills, the company also makes grants to employee teams under its "Community Involvement Program." It helps pay for supplies or support that a team might need to complement their "sweat equity" as they volunteer to plant flowers in city neighborhoods, build homes, help teach children who are blind how to ski or skate, and dozens of other projects that help build bridges between Xerox and the community.
In Rochester, N.Y., where Xerox has its largest concentration of U.S. employees, Xerox manages additional programs through which its people sponsor local student teams that compete in national robotics competitions, and they help teach science in elementary schools to foster innovation and interest in scientific careers. Starting in 2004, employees are donating Lean Six Sigma process improvement skills to eight nonprofit organizations to help solve community issues through strategic planning, improve nonprofit service capacity, and reduce costs.
"Most of us joined Xerox in the first place because it stood for something beyond the bottom line - as important as that is," Mulcahy said. "We all believe that we are part of an ongoing experiment to demonstrate that business success and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we believe they are synergistic."
In addition to environmental and philanthropic areas, Xerox social responsibility and citizenship efforts are integrated through diversity and employee support programs, minority- and women-owned supplier programs, and business ethics and corporate governance initiatives.
And despite decades of achievements, Xerox is setting its sights on achieving more, Mulcahy said. "Social responsibility - like every other facet of business - is a rapidly moving target, a race without a finish line. As good as any of us might think we are today, we have to be even better tomorrow."
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