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Lenovo Global CSR Report Shows Purpose-Driven Tech

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In our series of reports on multinational corporations, we are turning our gaze to Lenovo today. Lenovo Group Limited is a US$50 billion Fortune Global 500 company, with 63,000 employees and operating in 180 markets around the world. The company is incorporated and headquartered in Hong Kong, with key operations centres in Beijing, China and Morrisville, North Carolina, USA.

1. What does Lenovo do?

The company has the below core business groups:
– The Intelligent Devices Group (IDG) encompasses the PC and Smart Devices business, including PCs, tablets, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), smart devices, software and services, and
– Mobile Business Group (MBG), including Motorola Mobility LLC (Motorola), for smartphones; and – The Data Center Business Group (DCG), which includes servers, storage, networking, software and services.
– Alongside these core business groups they have invested in new and burgeoning opportunities for the future — including the launch of three new business groups as a driving force behind the transformation aligned to their 3S strategy. These groups are the Data Intelligence Business Group (DIBG), the Converged Network Business Unit (CNBU) and the Commercial Internet of Things (CIoT) group.
– In parallel the Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group (LCIG) fortifies the company’s intelligent transformation strategy by identifying and investing in some of today’s most cutting-edge technologies that have the possibility to be the mainstream technologies of tomorrow.

2. Corporate social responsibility

Lenovo’s social investments are focused on STEM education and empowering diverse and under-resourced populations, themes that are integral to the success of the business. The tech company has a goal of committing a minimum of half a per cent of its pretax income to global social investment programmes and initiatives.
These investments are executed through corporate and Foundation giving done through the Lenovo Foundation and Lenovo Foundation Beijing (non-profit registered in China). Business and Foundation assets are managed by a central team that is focused on collaborating across business units and geographies to maximize the impact of Lenovo’s giving.

2.1. CSR highlights of last year

– The company achieved its goal of impacting one million people through Lenovo global philanthropy efforts, ahead of their calendar year 2020 goal.
– In May 2019, the Lenovo Foundation led the company’s third annual global service event, “Love on 31.” Since the inaugural 2017 event, the project grew by 70% in the number of individuals directly benefited.
– The company began a new partnership with Jangala, an organization that provides network connectivity in remote, hard to reach areas, and areas impacted by natural disasters. This partnership recognizes the coupled needs of technology, quality connectivity, and education. In their first year of partnership, Jangala and Lenovo provided connectivity and hardware donations through collaborations with Amala Education and Skateistan, who provide education to refugees and underserved populations in Kenya, Eswatini, Afghanistan and Cambodia.
– In November 2019, the Lenovo Foundation held its second annual grant round in celebration of Lenovo’s 35th Birthday giving US$210,000 to charitable organizations around the world to support projects aligned to the foundation’s mission.
– Since February 2020, the company has given more than US$13 million in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. At the close of the fiscal year, the company had provided US$7 million in response to urgent technology needs for hospitals and students, with donations continuing into FY 2020-21.

3. Global Disaster Assistance

Natural disasters are projected to increase in frequency and severity as a result of climate change, and communities around the world need to prepare and adapt at times of natural disaster and crises. To address this increased need, Lenovo developed a matrixed process in order to consistently respond to natural disasters based on impact and local alignment. The new process was deployed to help manage Lenovo’s disaster response through the combined contributions from employees, the Lenovo Foundation, and their corporate disaster response partnerships.

3.1. Hurricane Dorian

The firm responded to the needs of Hurricane Dorian with US$20,000 allocated across the Bahamas and the United States (U.S.). The Hurricane struck Ocracoke Island, a community near Lenovo’s Morrisville, North Carolina, North America Headquarters. Employees volunteered and collaborated with the U.S. Veteran’s Corps and the state of North Carolina to respond strategically to community members’ needs.

3.2. Flash Flooding in Jakarta

The corporation responded with US$20,000 directed to the Food Bank of Indonesia to provide immediate support to overwhelmed shelters and response agencies as they worked to shelter and feed hundreds of thousands of residents in the wake of Jakarta’s flash flooding.

3.3. Australian Wildfires

The company donated US$50,000 to the Australian Red Cross to help with response efforts to the January wildfires. Due to the impact of the wildfires, more than 30 million acres of communities and wildlife refuge burned, acutely affecting the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

4. COVID-19 Pandemic

As a global company, Lenovo began responding to the outbreak of COVID-19 as early as February 2020. As the virus spread around the world, their commitment and response strengthened. By April 2020, the company’s philanthropic response to the COVID-19 crisis had risen to more than US$13 million. Using smarter technology and our global footprint, their response focused on three crucial areas: supporting distance education, providing technology and personal protective equipment to hospitals, and providing general community support in the areas where our employees live and work.

4.1. Hardware

The majority of the response (60%) focused on giving students and educators the hardware they need to connect and continue learning while schools are closed. Major examples include:
– US$1.3 million in software and services donations to enable distance education and security for those learning and working from home.
– US$2.4 million in hardware donations to support distance learning education in North America
– US$1.4 million in distance learning support focused on China’s Hubei province, in partnership with China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation
The company’s technology has also made an impact in the urgent needs of frontline workers. They provided IT equipment to optimize hospital operations and connect patients with loved ones, easing the stress of isolation during hospitalization.
In fact, at the outbreak of the virus, the firm fully outfitted the newly built hospitals at the centre of the outbreak in Wuhan. In addition to technology, they donated personal protective equipment to hospitals and front-line workers.

4.2. Health

The company’s contributions to healthcare efforts represent approximately 30% of their global response. Major efforts include:
– US$2.4 million in equipment and IT infrastructure to support hospitals in Wuhan, including more than 1200 computers, 280 tablets, 660 printers, software and support
– US$400,000 in personal protective equipment donations in the U.S., Italy, Spain, India, and Brazil
– US$1 million in donated product and funds to support healthcare systems in Europe and Latin America

4.3. Research

Lenovo is uniquely capable of meeting the urgent education and healthcare needs communities have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also contributed significant resources to research around the novel coronavirus, providing US$2 million in technology to BGI Genomics in partnership with Intel to learn more about the virus, and US$145,000 to the China Foundation for Health Promotion to study early survivors of COVID-19 in Wuhan.
The response provided nearly US$1 million in support for basic community needs and matching for employee giving as COVID-19 disrupted markets and economies around the world. In addition to their business response, Lenovo’s Chairman and CEO, Yang Yuanqing, also made a personal donation of nearly US$1.5 million to the Chinese University of Science and Technology to support their ongoing research on the novel coronavirus.

5. India and APAC

5.1. Indigenous Reading Project

The company recognizes that technology has the power to catalyze learning, especially at an individual’s unique pace. To aid in students’ learning, Lenovo provides tablets to the Indigenous Reading Project. Their mission is to enhance and strengthen students’ joy of reading by unleashing their curiosity and build on their natural motivation to learn. Indigenous Reading Project focuses its work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids. They are working to close the achievement gap between the indigenous population and their peers by providing resources and change for their underserved communities.

5.2. Lenovo or Motorola Skills Academy

In order to address the rising demand for field technicians and skilled labour in the smartphone and computer repair market, Lenovo and Motorola developed a Skills Academy for individuals across India in Tier I, II, and III cities. The programme provides access to training and improves opportunities for better
income for unemployed youth and women in India.
Lenovo India CSR has invested US$100,000 in the programme, which offers counselling, training, skill assessments, and placement for candidates who complete the programme. The programme trained 2,988 students in the field, positively impacting communities and the technology industry with a special focus on female candidates. Over the last two years, 1,525 graduate students from the Lenovo Motorola Skills Academy have been placed in jobs across multiple companies and industries.

5.3. Children’s LoveCastles Trust (CLT India)

As a recipient of the 2019 grant round celebrating Lenovo’s 35th Birthday, CLT India addresses the challenges of teacher shortages and lack of subject matter expertise in rural India by designing digital STEM tools for students and teachers. Their resources include a repository of 15,000 videos in English and three regional languages, and an additional 2000 digital resources for teachers. Through these accessible resources, 61,000 teachers have been trained and upskilled to impact 1.8 million students in 12,000 classrooms. When COVID-19 struck, CLT India repurposed their service offering by redeveloping the Jigi Teacher App and Jigi-Jigi Student App for mobile phones.
These special software offerings were provided for free to enable greater studying from home, an initiative supported by Lenovo. From March to May 2020, CLT India reached more than 4,000 students and parents to initiate home based learning.

5.4. Meghshala Trust

Meghshala Trust believes that teachers shape the future of their students every day. Their focus on teachers creates the desired multiplier effect to address the problem of education in India. The company’s support for Meghshala has helped their journey in transforming the educational ecosystem in India through supporting government schoolteachers to provide excellent education to thousands of children.
With the company’s investment of US$80k, Meghshala implemented e-learning classrooms in Karnataka and Manipur. Today, Meghshala has reached 2,300 schools in Manipur and Karnataka and boasts of 18,000 downloads on their free Meghshala app.

6. North America

Lenovo donated more than US$2 million in North America (United States and Canada) in FY 2019/20. Major partnerships are outlined below.

6.1. NAF and the Lenovo Scholars Network

Now in its sixth year, the Lenovo Scholars Network has provided more than 12,000 students from 133 public high schools across the United States the opportunity to learn how to develop mobile applications. Lenovo and NAF created the annual Mobile App Development Competition in 2014 to engage underserved high school students in STEM, while also providing entrepreneurial and technology skills needed to pursue careers in computer science, programming and engineering. In the summer of 2019, the company also hired more than 25 high school students as interns at the Morrisville headquarters.

6.2. American Red Cross

The corporation has a strong partnership with the American Red Cross, supporting its expertise in disaster response at times of crisis and investing in its ability to respond at all times. In FY 2019/20, Lenovo invested in “RC View” technology. The special software enables the Red Cross to manage its response resources in real-time, through live geographical positioning of trucks and supplies.
The company’s CSR support will help communities across the United States be better prepared with up-to-date RC View technology. In addition to its ongoing investment, the firm partners with the Red Cross for bi-monthly blood drives at their Morrisville, North Carolina office, and engages employees in support for the Red Cross during natural disasters.

6.3. Wake Technical Community College

The company supports diversity in STEM in every part of the talent pipeline, including Wake Technical Community College. Lenovo Foundation supports Wake Technical Community College with an endowed scholarship for four students each year. Equipment donations and paid work-based learning opportunities are also provided. The company has maintained a track record of hiring 1 in 4 students that participate in its programs into full-time jobs in Lenovo’s Data Center Group. In addition to the support for students, Lenovo has provided building sponsorship for the school’s new campus in Research Triangle Park.

6.4. North Carolina Business Committee for Education

The Ready, Set, App! mobile app development competition was developed in partnership with the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and Lenovo. Ready, Set, App! challenges 9–12 grade students in public schools to develop a mobile app to address or solve a problem in their school or community. The students’ apps tackled issues such as poverty, immigration, food insecurity, and mental health awareness. In addition to expanding computer science skills, Ready, Set, App! honed teamwork skills, problem-solving, and encouraged students to be entrepreneurs.

6.5. Illinois Science and Technology Institute

Over the past seven years, Lenovo’s Motorola Mobility headquarters in Chicago has participated in the Illinois Science and Technology Institute’s STEM Challenge. The Challenge matches Illinois high schools with industry partners, challenging high school students to solve a real-life industry problem. Students are mentored by industry professionals over a five-month period, learning important 21st century skills and gaining a better understanding of the modern workplace.

7. China

7.1. Great Walker

The company participated in the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation’s Shanxingzhe, “Great Walker” 2019 event. With the help of employees, customers, partners, and media, 35 teams were created to accomplish 50 kilometres in hiking. Participation was bolstered by the presence of our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Yang Yuanqing, who completed the journey in 12 hours and 12 minutes. The event’s fundraising benefitted 3,500 children in need with nearly US$130,000 in supplies to keep them warm for the winter.

7.2. Dream Starter

The company has partnered with Dream Starter in Hong Kong. Dream Starter is an education innovation initiative that has connected more than 5,000 teachers and students with corporations, institutions and public communities to turn dreams into sustainable projects. The company has supported three schools with a donation of Lenovo machines that are used in the schools for online learning. Through Dream Starter, employees from the Hong Kong office have participated in workshops held for children as part of the Love on 31 Global Month of Service.

7.3. Love on STEM

The company committed significant resources to engage students and teachers in impoverished areas with greater access to science, technology, engineering and math.
– Lenovo China provided US$1.7 million retail value of product donations and smart devices to impoverished areas in Tibet, Chuxiong, and Ningnan to engage students in education.
– Engaged employees through Firefly classes, providing 286 volunteers to teach STEM classes to students in rural areas. Employees provided a collective 3,624 hours of volunteerism for this project.
– Provided a Firefly Science Summer Camp for 20 children in inner Mongolia.
– Donated 16,572 Science Education Books to 23 remote primary schools and benefitted 1,358 children.
– Donated project-based learning and STEM lessons to 16 under-resourced schools.
– Provided scholarships for students at four universities in China, developing a pipeline of fresh talent while supporting students in their education.
– Provided teacher development for 12 science teachers in western China to engage them with advanced teaching methods.
– In Hong Kong, employees shared augmented and virtual reality experiences with school children for their Love on 31 project.

7.4. Employee Engagement Through Love on Running

– Employees in China leverage their passion for running to do good and spread Lenovo’s mission to Love on through the Love on Running Club. Employees created the Lenovo Running Association, and logged miles to raise funds at a rate of one RMB for each kilometer. Employees raised more than US$17,000 through the effort, benefitting children living in poverty, with disabilities, or suffering from serious illness.

8. EMEA

In FY 2019/20, the company invested more than US$400,000 in its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) geography.

8.1. Jangala

Jangala is a UK-based not for profit organization, which enables Internet access for people in need. Lenovo started a new partnership with Jangala in FY 2019/20 by providing WiFi access to disconnected students and educators in remote areas through Jangala’s innovative Big Box technology. While funding deployments of WiFi connectivity in refugee camps and educational centres in Kenya, South Africa, Eswatini, Cambodia and Afghanistan, the company coupled the connectivity with Lenovo hardware to ensure students had the technology they needed to make the most of their WiFi connection.

8.2. United Way Europe and Middle East Region

FY 2019/20 was the fifth year of the company’s regional partnership with the United Way, enabling strategic charitable partnerships in France, Israel, Romania, Poland, Spain and Russia. Their partnership with the United Way targets disadvantaged children and young people to provide technology and education which they would otherwise not have had access to. It provides computer equipment and volunteer resources to these vulnerable populations for digital skill development. In 2019, the partnership increased access for 7,000 people across the region through 5,000 workshops/classes, 184 Lenovo devices, and 74 employees who facilitated programming.

8.3. Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society

Since 2006, Lenovo has been the technology sponsor for Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, a platform that highlights women’s voices and perspectives on pressing global issues ranging from sustainable development and economy to culture and media. Through this partnership, the company supports the Forum’s annual series of global events and meetings whose purpose is to elevate the voices and perspectives of women.
In FY 2019/20, Lenovo continued its global partnership through support for events in Mexico City, Singapore, and Paris as well as participation in the Forum’s Rising Talent, Darin Circles and CEO Champions initiatives. Partnering with the Forum brings important opportunities for thought leadership around gender equality, which are leveraged as talent development opportunities for women in Lenovo.

9. Latin America

Lenovo entities invested more than US$2.5 million in Latin America in FY 2019/20, including their first commercial co-branding partnership with Instituto Ayrton Senna.

9.1. Laboratoria

The company partnered with Laboratoria’s Peru, Chile, and Mexico offices to support technology donations and digital skills training for women in order to diversify the workforce. In FY 2019/20, Lenovo philanthropy provided US$35,000 in support for Laboratoria’s programming, specifically in support of career fairs with job placement opportunities for Laboratoria graduates. Laboratoria’s curriculum has been proven, as 80% of their 1,000 graduates have gone on to careers in technology.

9.2. Instituto Ayrton Senna

In 2019, the firm began a partnership with Instituto Ayrton Senna to support education for students in Brazil. Through a commercial co-branding effort, the company championed the goodwill and spirit of the legendary Formula One race car driver, Ayrton Senna, while donating US$1,010,744 to support education for students in Brazil’s public schools. The company engaged its Brazilian employees in the effort by providing a matching gift campaign with Instituto Ayrton Senna, and has continued its commitment despite COVID-19.

10. Corporate volunteering

10.1. Employee Volunteerism

In addition to philanthropic initiatives, the company empowers employees to give back to their communities through volunteerism. In May 2019, nearly 3,000 employees around the world were able to take a day to volunteer through Love on 31, Lenovo’s Global Month of Service. Employees gave more than 13,000 hours in volunteer service focused on empowering underprivileged populations with STEM education and technology based on the unique needs of their communities.
The company provides time off for volunteerism and offers employees in North America a 100% match for their eligible charitable donations, up to US$10,000 per employee each year.
Lenovo global employee engagement is led by employee champions at the office level, directed by a leader in each geography, and centralized across business units and geographies to maximize impact and provide continuity at the global level. Employee volunteerism at Lenovo is anchored by Love on 31, an employee-driven Global Month of Service that has grown by 43% in employee participation since it began in 2017.

10.2. Employee Giving

In addition to its volunteer initiatives, Lenovo grants employees in North America a match for their eligible charitable donations. In FY 2019/20, the company increased its match from 50% to 100% for employee contributions made through payroll deductions. The collective value of Lenovo’s matching in North America alone amounted to US$963,435. They expanded the employee matching gift programme to other geographies through matched donations of US$380,650.
Through partnerships with various non-profit organizations, Lenovo also makes contributions which strengthen the impact of employee donations to organizations in other regions. As an example, for the third year in a row, Lenovo employees in the Belgium/ Netherlands/ Luxembourg region did an internal product auction to fundraise for Save the Children. The team raised a record-breaking US$70,000. The Lenovo Foundation matched their donation in order to make an even greater impact. In addition to the employee matching programme above, the company extends the North America matching gift benefit to the Lenovo Board of Directors. This matching gift programme is available to all Directors who support organizations that meet Lenovo’s giving guidelines.
Disclaimer: This report largely contains extracts from the Lenovo Group Limited 2019/20 Environmental, Social and Governance Report