February 26, 2009

Tech CSR in Emerging Markets - What Would You Ask?

This Sunday is the Harvard Business School/Harvard Kennedy School Social Enterprise Conference. I've organized a panel on CSR by technology companies in emerging markets ("New Markets, New Approaches: Technology Companies and Corporate Social Responsibility in Emerging Markets"). The panelists include:
  • Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director, Global Community Affairs, Microsoft Corporation
  • Robert Richardson, East Coast Education Manager, Intel Massachusetts
  • Michael Yutrzenka, Executive Director, Cisco Foundation and Director, Public Benefit Investment, Cisco
  • Chuck Kane, President and Chief Operating Office at One Laptop Per Child
  • Jane Nelson, Director, CSR Initiative and Senior Fellow, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, Harvard Kennedy School (moderator)

    Here's the official description: "Technology companies are fully engaged in emerging markets—developing, manufacturing, and selling products in developing economies around the world. Just as in developed markets, these companies recognize a responsibility to their emerging market customers, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders, and have expanded their corporate social responsibility programs accordingly. Many technology companies seem to approach CSR in emerging markets via strategies and business models that are distinct from their developed market initiatives. Are these emerging markets CSR programs truly unique? If so, why are tech companies taking a different approach in these regions? Are there lessons and strategies that could be imported back into developed markets? This panel will explore successful models of technology company CSR in emerging markets, along with the challenges and limitations that these programs face."

    What questions should I make sure get asked during this panel? I'll report back on the conference early next week. If you plan to be there, please let me know!

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