By Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)

Last week, Evolved Employer featured an article discussing why Starbucks’ commitment to on environmental stewardship makes sense – as a company that relies on an agricultural product, environmental changes have a big impact on the company’s bottom line. The same goes for Dell’s partnership with Goodwill to offer free computer recycling. The connection is there and easy to grasp.

One reason companies have a hard time building employee engagement with CR programming is because the logic isn’t always clear. CR programs should have an easy to discern link to your company’s business objectives or bottom line.

Here are three more companies with a logical connection between their CR initiative and their business.

1. Sodexho‘s “Servathon”

This month, Sodexho’s employees are donating food and serving meals to those who are hungry and malnourished around the world. The Servathon is part of Sodexho’s STOP Hunger initiative. Last year Sodexho’s 35,000 employees helped collect over 100,000 kilograms of food.

According to a press release, Michel Landel, Sodexo CEO and President of Sodexo STOP Hunger Association, said, “Sodexo employees touch the daily lives of 50 million people around the world. They give life to service spirit to improve the Quality of Daily Life of all the people we serve” He continued, “We are proud of their commitment to combat hunger and malnutrition in their local communities, which is the concrete development of our values and fundamentals.”

2. Sprint‘s “Plug-In To eCycling” Partnership with the EPA

Sprint recently announced a partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency to help consumers recycle their old mobile phones during the week of April 5. Last year, the company managed to collect 3.7 million phones for Plug-In to eCycling National Cell Phone Recycling Week. This year the company hoped to collect even more, making use of a social media campaign.

Ralph Reid, Sprint vice President of Corporate responsibility said, “Sprint is pleased to work again with the EPA to increase awareness and consumer participation in electronics recycling, or eCycling.” He continued, “We are committed to eCycling efforts. With approximately 16,000 cell phones discarded every hour in the U.S., we encourage our customers and other wireless customers to give their old phones a second life by recycling them.”

According to the press release, Sprint leads the industry in wireless device recycling and hopes to reuse or recycle 90% of handsets sold by 2017. “Sprint’s collection rate for 2009 was 42 percent, up from a 34 percent rate the previous year. In total, Sprint’s take back programs have diverted more than 20 million cell phones from landfills for reuse or recycling since 2001.”

3. Intel‘s Schools of Distinction Awards

Last week Intel named 18 finalists in hits Schools of Distinction Awards. Shelly Esque, vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs director, Corporate Affairs Group explained, “It is essential that U.S. schools invest in math and science education, because such investment is critical to maintain U.S. competitiveness in a global economy, the schools recognized as Intel Schools of Distinction are contributing in a significant way to preparing students for the future.”

The awards honor schools with innovative and rigorous science and math programs which encourage real life application and 21st century job preparation for students.

According to the company’s press release:

“Each of the 18 schools will receive a $5,000 award from the Intel Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C. in September, where 6 schools will be named Intel Schools of Distinction. These 6 schools will each win an additional $5,000 from the Intel Foundation and a package of goods and services valued at approximately $100,000. …One of the six schools will also be selected as “Star Innovator” and will receive $25,000 from the Intel Foundation, and additional prizes and services from sponsors.”

Each of these companies makes the link between its CR programming and its product obvious… and easy for employees to support, whether through their own volunteer hours or on a broader level of engagement. As a global food product company, Sodexho has the ability and reach to fight hunger. Reusing old cell phone components allows Sprint to save money while improving the planet. And Intel needs future innovators for its workforce – encouraging their development them now just makes sense. When the link is clear, employees are more likely to actively and enthusiastically engage with CR efforts, and engaged employees are generally the most productive and the best advocates for their employer.