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Corporate Social Responsibility

Yesterday, I attended the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) annual Supply Chain Members Roundtable. Cisco has hosted this meeting for several years using Cisco TelePresence rooms in our offices, this year in London, New York City, São Paulo, and San Francisco, with AT&T attending from their own Cisco TelePresence room in Denver.

Supply chain GHG emissions is a complex topic, but the biggest challenge is simple… appropriately “encouraging” suppliers to report their corporate emissions to CDP.  I put “encouraging” in quotes because throughout the typical year, we see two views on supplier reporting (or any desired supplier action).

A lot of external stakeholders see reporting as a requirement, something to be demanded, as if failure to report can simply be corrected with larger sticks. If this sounds reasonable, just imagine your boss managing your performance similarly. Not much fun and not the way to sustained high performance.

For the last several years, Cisco has reported how many of our suppliers report to CDP. Table 12 of the Environment chapter of our 2012 CSR report shows 100 percent, 80 percent, and 93 percent of our manufacturing, component, and transportation partners, respectively (as measured by spend), now report to CDP.

A facsimile of the letter we sent last February to about 1500 of our suppliers and partners is provided in Appendix 2 of the Environment chapter (use the Acrobat bookmarks on the left). What have we learned about really encouraging suppliers?

The first Reference document in Appendix 2 is our markup of the full CDP survey. We’ve highlighted the minimum questions needed to make sense of Scope 1 and 2 reporting. We concentrated on the “number questions.”

We eventually want a high percentage of suppliers to complete all five steps listed, but we realize this is an effort measured in years, since that’s what it took Cisco. Right now, we’re focusing on Step 1, reporting to CDP annually, so that is the metric we report  in our CSR report.

Now that reporting has reached critical mass in the three categories of suppliers listed in Table 12, we’ll be raising the bar in a couple ways:

Let us know what you think.

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