Cisco Systems, Inc.



Networking Hardware & Software



Cisco Systems, Inc.
300 East Tasman Dr.
San Jose, CA 95134



  • CPD A List 2019
  • 2020 #7 on the 100 most Sustainable Companies list by Barron’s
  • 2019 #14 Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies by Corporate Knights
  • 2019 #5 Top @50 Most Effectively Managed U.S Companies by the Wall Street Journal 
  • 2019 FTSE4Good Index by FTSE Ruseel
  • 2019 North AMerican and World DJSI indices by RobecoSAM
  • 2019 #1 overall for the Best Environmental, Social, and Governance Reporting by IR Magazine
  • 2019 #11 America’s Most JUST Companies by Forbes/Just Capital 
  • 2019 #5 Supply Chain Top 25 by Gartner




Andy Smith


  • 7 Climate Leadership Awards in 2019
  • 2018 Outstanding Company Contribution Award 
  • Cyber Safe Workplace Award from National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)
  • The Better Society Award



Report created by Cec Ehrhard

Cisco Systems, Inc.

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Cisco Systems is a technology software and hardware conglomerate company headquartered in San Jose, California.

Cisco System is part of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate made up of multiple acquired companies like Webex, Jasper, and OpenDNS. Cisco’s focus is primarily on the tech market like IoT. Founded in 1984 by Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, Cisco was one of the first companies that caught an audience for the service provider domain, with its first major success being a router that had multiple network protocols. In the height of the dot-com era, Cisco was the most valuable company in 2000. Cisco continued this MVP status through 2014. 

The company’s mission is to help “seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the unconnected. An integral part of our DNA is creating long-lasting customer partnerships, working together to identify our customers’ needs and provide solutions that fuel their success”. Cisco produces IT products ranging in 5 major areas: Networking, Collaboration, Security, Data Center, and the Internet of Things. To date some of the top products are the Cisco Catalyst Switches, Catalyst Series Access Points, and Services Router.

Company Sustainability Activity

Cisco accepts full responsibility for their environmental impacts and is taking action to mitigate and end the harms on the environment through its production. environmental policy has been implemented across all operations and products. The company plans to act on greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and land use, product and packaging materials, water, solid waste from operations, and liquid effluents. Cisco is setting public goals to promote accountability to their environment and sustainable goals.


  • 1M metric tonnes of supply chain greenhouse gas emissions avoided
  • 100% of electricity comes from renewable energy sources in North American facilities
  • 19.4 gWh avoided through energy efficiency improvements



  • Eliminate one million tons of greenhouses gases from supply chain by 2020
  • Reduce scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 30 % by 2030
  • Reduce supply-chain related Scope 3 GHG emissions by 30% in 2030
  • Improve large rack mounted equipment system power efficiency to 87% by 2022
  • Use renewable energy for 85% of global electricity by 2022


  • Decrease the use of virgin plastics by 20% in 2025
  • Reduce foam packing use in weight by 75% in 2025
  • Increase product packaging efficiency by 50% in 2025 as measured by package volume per weight of product



  • 49% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions
  • 83% of energy came from renewable sources
  • 19 facilities LEED certified
  • Some products ENERGY STAR certified
  • Member of EPEAT program for servers 
  • The Green Grid participant
  • Working on CENELEC TC10 standards 


  • Two conservation areas to foster a habitat for endangered Blandings and Eastern Box turtles
  • Partnering with NTT to protect endangered rhinos 
  • Pilot Project stop rhino poaching which has reduced poaching by 95%
  • Three conservation project partnered with World Wildlife Fund to decrease elephant poaching 


  • Implementation of the “circular economy” in 2018. This initiative focuses on five areas: operation, design, consumption, solutions, ecosystem leadership
  • Water conservation projects that restore local fresh watersheds in North Carolina and the Southeast


  • ISO 14040

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations SDG Compliance


  • Addressing economic inequality globally and in local communities including homelessness and shortages in affordable housing resulting in part from the technology economy. Specifically through the grant program and strategic social investments like Habitat for Humanity Program.


  • Cisco engages in the use of the Destination: Home investments, Disaster Response, TacOps to tackle the goal of Zero Hunger


  • Cisco provides training and education programs such as Our People Deal, Degreed, Cisco Networking Academy, Veterans Program, Global Problem Solvers (GPS)
  • Cisco engages in external partnerships to promote IT-related education and skills in the digital economy


  • Cisco addresses diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity at all levels of organization 
  • Cisco programs include: DARE, JUMP


  • Cisco is dedicated to creating a diverse company and promoting “inclusivity of gender, gender, race, ethnicity, orientation, ability, nationality, religion, veteran status, culture, experience, strengths, and perspectives” with programs and strategies such as Diverse Talent Accelerators, Next Generation Leaders, Inclusion & Collaboration Community, Conscious culture, emergency Time Off, flexible work arrangements, comprehensive benefits package


  • The use of Cisco Secure Development Lifecycle, Transparency Report, and Trust center as ways to mitigate threats online and improve cyber security

SDG 10

  • Cisco has strategies and programs in place to reduce inequalities regarding freedom of expression. Programs include Business and Human Rights at Cisco, Human Rights Working Group, Digital Readiness Index, Privacy Data Sheets and Data Maps.

SDG 11

  • Cisco is using new technology to enhance existing products to promote energy efficiency and benefits to the environment. Connecting networks and communities through IT enabling effect, Connected Goods Showcase, E-flex, Smart and Connected Communities, Container 42, Open Conservation

SDG 12

  • Cisco meets this goal through its supply chain, including social and environmental regulations, ensuring responsible production methods, and fair and ethical working conditions. Use of ethics and policy codes of conduct as well as Supply Chain Human Rights, Circular Economy Program, and Capital Equipment Pledge. Several goals and target set to reach in the upcoming decade

SDG 13

  • Cisco has the overall goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making renewable energy purchases, energy efficiency in work offices, labs, and data centers. In addition, they have several targets in place to reach in the next decade.

Secondary SDGs: 6, 7, 15


Cisco has only set a few targets for sustainability. The company has many awards and listings and is compliant with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The company has made progress with its environmental policy, but the company cannot be classified as 100% sustainable until there has been substantial progress made. Therefore, Cisco has been given a “C” rating.

Analyst Outlook: Positive

Cisco has received many awards in recent years, but the company does not have many labels or certifications to back their progress.


Key Points

  • Minimal certifications
  • Numerous awards and listing
  • Create more targets to achieve over the upcoming years
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