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So did we see the Loch Ness Monster? – Ride Across Britain to Raise Funds for Paralympic Athletes

Since ” ’tis the season” for giving in many parts of the world, and as end of the calendar year approaches, I’ve decided to finish my working year reflecting upon the biggest “Giving Back” initiative I was personally part of in September of this year (2012) –  my two stages of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, or RAB as we called it in Cisco UK & Ireland – an event we aligned to Cisco’s overall involvement in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.  Time has flown since I initially blogged about my nerves pre-ride.  I reflected on our “Virtual RAB” – designed to give everyone at Cisco an easier chance of participating – also as part of our overall fundraising, and told you about the “Network on Wheels” or Cisco NOW Van that supported us with remote (very remote!) internet access as we cycled through all weathers from the bottom to the very top of the UK.  The Cisco team raised around £20,000 (over $32,000 USD) – while the event as a whole, with over 700 riders, raised over £1 Million in total – all for paralympic athletes.

It was indeed an experience!  While the second of my two days was a beautiful day for cycling – as the video clip from Cisco UK & Ireland Senior VP Phil Smith (quite a cyclist btw!) shows – the first day was a 12 hour test in truely horrendous stormy conditions! Let me tell you more about that day and show you some of the sights on the way.

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Hunger Relief Campaign Brings Out Cisco’s Competitive Spirit

Cisco employees are always ready for some friendly competition for a good cause. During our annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign, our desire to give back brings out the competitive spirit in all of us.

The Cisco team in Richardson, Texas, held the official campus-wide kickoff for the Global Hunger Relief Campaign on November 15 with its annual Bowling for Hunger. The team with the highest score won a free bowling package, and the team that raised the most money received a huge trophy. This year, the Bowling for Hunger event raised nearly US$8,000 for the Campaign.

Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, California launched the 2012 Campaign with an executive food sort at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  More than 45 executives and volunteers divided into three teams, led by Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, Executive Vice President Randy Pond, and Chairman Emeritus John Morgridge. The teams competed to see who could sort 30,000 pounds of food to be distributed to families in need the fastest.

Randy-PondCisco Executive Vice President Randy Pond (right) and other Cisco employees volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank.

While internal competition is fun, Cisco employees really crank it into high gear when we’re up against other companies in giving back. The Cisco team in San Jose also participated in the 48-Hour Virtual Race to End Hunger from November 13 to 15.

The Virtual Race is an online challenge that rallies employees at Silicon Valley companies to support the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, which provides food to a quarter of a million of their neighbors in need each month. The Cisco team earned first place, raising almost $160,000 in 48 hours. Our prize – the Cisco logo will be featured on a Second Harvest Food Bank truck.

No matter how the money is raised, Cisco employees come through every year to fight hunger around the world with their time, energy, and creativity. Finding fun, competitive ways to raise the money just makes it that much more interesting.

Join Cisco to take action against hunger: Leave a comment on the Cisco How Do You Give Facebook tab about how you give back. For every comment made on the page through December 31, Cisco will donate $1 to the World Food Programme – enough to provide 4 meals.

Scoring Suppliers on Sustainability

At Cisco, we rely on more than 600 suppliers worldwide to manufacture, test, ship, and recycle the products we design. And, we expect these suppliers to meet the same high standards on ethics, labor rights, health and safety, and the environment that we apply to our people and operations.

So how do we manage that task over such a large network of suppliers?

One of our most powerful tools is our supplier scorecard. In the last fiscal year, we added sustainability criteria to the scorecard for the first time, and we are encouraging our suppliers to report their performance publicly in a Corporate Social Responsibility Report report and to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project.

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Ending the Global Hunger Crisis on Huffington Post

Today on the Huffington Post, Tae Yoo, Cisco Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, writes about how technology is being used to help people who don’t have enough food to eat.

She writes: “In a world that currently produces enough food for the entire population, I continue to be astonished that every year 870 million people go hungry and 5 million children die from malnutrition. In today’s world of abundance, hunger is still the number 1 health risk, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Although most of the world’s hungry are in developing countries, even here in the United States, one of the largest food producing countries, approximately 1 out of 6 people are “food insecure”; including 16.7 million children. Progress to reduce hunger is being made by tackling both the cause and the consequences of extreme poverty and famine.”

Read the full post on the Huffington Post.

Commemorating UN Human Rights Day

Randy Pond is Cisco Executive Vice President of Operations, Processes, and Systems

Today is the United Nations’ Human Rights Day and it was not so long ago that we witnessed the role of the social media revolution in the Arab Spring. This example of Internet-enabled communication in driving change illustrates the evolving impact of technology on human rights, and casts light on both the opportunities and the challenges the industry will face — the world celebrated the flow of information that facilitated change, while at the same time showing concern over efforts of governments to use the very same infrastructure to try to shut down and control communications. Over the past 20 years, we have transformed from a world communicating through paper and face-to-face interaction into communities that can share information within seconds — and innovation continues at a dramatic rate.

At Cisco, we embrace innovation, and the opportunity to expand use of the Internet as a positive force for human development. We do this primarily by working to build each of our products on open, global standards — standards that we believe are critical to overcoming censorship and keeping the world connected — and by developing architectures for using our products aimed at particular needs, such as healthcare, education, and energy efficiency.

We are also committed to not customizing our products in any way that aids repression or censorship. To provide a consolidated view of our approach to these issues, we have included a new human rights policy and roadmap in this year’s eighth annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. With the help of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and in conformance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, the roadmap was developed to concentrate on our human rights policy, and also establish a governance model, provide training, and create an effective mechanism to review our actions on an ongoing basis.

In addition to the new policy and roadmap, Cisco’s commitment to human rights includes several additional initiatives and partnerships, such as a successful engagement with the Business and Human Rights Resource Center; our continued work with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (which we helped to found) to promote a common code of conduct among electronic manufacturers, software firms, IT firms, and manufacturing services providers; and engagement with NGOs concerned with human rights.

As we approach 2013, it will be important to continue addressing the impact of technology on human rights. Challenges to global freedom of expression through the Internet will continue, and will become more complex as innovation advances. Our long-term view and ongoing implementation of Cisco’s human rights roadmap will guide Cisco’s human rights efforts going forward and will help drive a safe Internet well into the future.

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