Back when we started talking about Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), most tech firms kind of treated it like a joke, promising to plant trees for every sale, then often not even doing that. Things have changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. There isn’t a tech company I cover that doesn’t take ESG efforts seriously. Now tech firms are fighting to see who can do ESG better.
This is particularly difficult for truly international firms like Lenovo because, in a few countries where Lenovo operates, ESG efforts like diversity and inclusion are more the exception than the rule, and the kind of government support that exists in more developed nations may not be available in the emerging economies that Lenovo also operates in. So, Lenovo’s degree of difficulty when it comes to making real progress appears to me to be higher than its peers.
Against that higher degree of difficulty, Lenovo is making impressive progress. Let’s talk about some of what it has accomplished.
Who is Lenovo?
Lenovo is one of the few truly multi-national companies with leadership hired from and residing all over the world. Annual revenue is in the $60B to $70B range, and the company is ranked 171st in the Fortune Global 500. Current employment is close to 80K people, and the firm covers 180 international markets. After the acquisition of the IBM PC company, Lenovo became the world’s largest PC company, and after the acquisition of IBM’s X86 server business, it became one of the most powerful infrastructure companies in the world, as well.
To my knowledge, Lenovo is the only firm that has successfully bridged west and east and is one of the better resources to use when trying to understand east/west dynamics in terms of trade and business operations. It is relatively unique in a world with strong global resources and the ability to work through regional conflicts.
Lenovo has made impressive progress in this area over the last several years. Highlights include a 3X increase in renewable energy generation since FY 2-18/19 and having its 2030 and 2050 targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative. Lenovo has upped its philanthropic efforts, growing them to $30M and impacting communities all over the world to the tune of 16M people benefitting from these efforts. Its supply chain has advanced as well and now is ranked #8 in Gartner’s Top 25 Global Supply Chains report.
On the staffing side, Lenovo has made significant progress on diversity. Women make up 37% of the overall workforce, and 28% of tech positions are held by women. Lenovo has been recognized in the 2023 Bloomberg Gender-Equality index as a result.
On recycling, Lenovo has also been aggressive with impressive moves towards “closed loop” recycling. It reports nearly 300 separate products that were built using recycled parts.
Lenovo’s philanthropy efforts, as noted, were up to $30M last year with a focus on empowering underrepresented communities and helping them get access to STEM education so they can work themselves out of poverty.
Lenovo’s employees are heavily involved and volunteer for programs like “Love on Month of Service”. They increased the number of beneficiaries for this effort by 49%+, and the number of hours volunteered by over 20% while the number of volunteers grew by 2.5%.
Wrapping up: Lenovo is serious about ESG
If you take nothing else away from this, take away that Lenovo is serious about its ESG efforts which are substantial and trending to be segment-leading. Lenovo’s unique geographic spread creates unique headwinds, but it’s effectively working to overcome them to become one of the most aggressive ESG execution companies on the planet.
Lenovo, like most of its peers, is stepping up strongly to mitigate the potential damage being done to the environment by tech companies and helping to set the ESG bar ever higher. Let’s hope Lenovo’s example will create competitive motivation for its peers to advance their own game.
One thing is sure: Lenovo is serious about ESG.