Cisco was recognized yesterday by the San Francisco Business Times as #6 on its list of Top Corporate Philanthropists in the Greater Bay Area.
Cisco has a long history of supporting the communities where its employees live and work.
For example, one of Cisco’s longest-running traditions is a special program for Bay Area nonprofits, which has offered Community Impact Cash Grants to carefully selected community organizations for more than a decade. In recent years, the grant amount has been set at $15,000 each for programs focused on K-8 education and health. Cisco employee volunteers drive every aspect of the grantmaking process – from evaluating the applications to performing site visits to identifying the strongest applicants from a large and worthy pool.
Cisco gave $12.3 million to Bay Area-based charities in fiscal year 2012.
Members of my Global Delivery Center (GDC) Public Sector Team at Cisco’s campus in North Carolina recently spent an evening with more than 60 Girl Scouts, who all have a passion in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Girl Scouts, North Carolina Coastal Pines (GS-NCCP) serves girls and adults in 41 counties in central and eastern North Carolina. Through this program, girls develop leadership skills while learning the important of personal responsibility, the value of goal setting, the spirit of teamwork, and the thrill of accomplishment.
The girls visited Cisco on July 18, when 15 Cisco employees and college interns gave them a tour of Cisco’s lab, TelePresence technology, and Security Operations. The Public Sector team led the TelePresence portion of the night, during which Cisco’s TelePresence technology was shown off to the girls with an exciting game of charades and Pictionary.
At the end of the game, we shared with the girls how the TelePresence technology is used during our day-to-day lives at Cisco. They were amazed to hear that we were able to meet with people in other states and countries all over the world with such ease.
Cisco’s Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, “Girls at a young age must have something that sparks their interest in technology or science.” As the Girl Scouts entered the conference room to see another group of Girl Scouts in another building on three large screens, they shouted out beyond disbelief, “Oh! They can hear us?” By the end of the night, with quotes like “I want one of these at my house!” it was easy to see that Cisco definitely sparked every Girl Scouts’ interest in technology.
Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the privilege to assist the City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability in developing a city-wide Climate Action Plan (CAP). This scope of this plan is not limited to the city’s own operations, although there is a plan for that as well, but instead looks at the entire carbon and environmental footprint for the whole city, it’s inhabitants, businesses, everything!
It goes without saying that this in an enormous undertaking that very few cities have even tried. My biggest take-away from participating in and observing the process is the importance of broad stakeholder engagement when working to improve environmental sustainability. And that thought resonates when I consider the success factors for the programs that I have been a part of in private industry. The team working on the CAP included 50 individuals with sustainability expertise representing government, private companies, and community organizations in the greater Cleveland region.
Since joining Cisco three years ago, my job has been to reduce the climate impact of Cisco’s internal operations. We achieved our 2012 carbon reduction goals of 25% and are now gearing up for our 2017 goal of 40% reduction (for a 2007 baseline). As a resident of Cleveland, I was excited to take my experiences at Cisco and volunteer my time and expertise to Cleveland’s project.
So why is it important to cast a wide net when engaging stakeholders?
It’s 5:30am on Monday morning (10th June 2013 to be precise). “ Wake up it’s a beautiful morning” by the Boo Radleys is blasting out of the speakers at the camp site. “I shouldn’t be up at this time” is one of the lines of this songs which rings so true to me on this day. It’s not a dream although my head wishes it was. I’ve been awake since around 4am -- thanks to the and chirpy wildlife and early sunrise in the north of Scotland where the sun appears at not long after 3am. Yes I’m back on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain (“RAB”) again, aiming to cycle 220 miles over 2 days, to help Cisco raise funds for the paralympic athletes via the Paralympics GB charity.
The “RAB”, as we call it, is a cycle ride from John O’Groats, in the very north of Scotland, to Lands End, in the very south of England -- top to bottom of the United Kingdom, in fact. Cisco supports and encourages us to take part -- around 50 of us were taking on typically one or two stages, with a few mad colleagues doing the whole 9 days of 100 mile+ daily cycling! Yes we had “free” days off work, away from my usual work in Cisco Data Center Services around Cisco Domain TenSM- committing to achieve a fundraising target -- however it’s not quite what most people would call a holiday! And we also had a “Virtual RAB” in our offices to ensure everyone gets an opportunity to help further the fundraising cause.
As the video shows, we cycled through some amazing scenery, connected with new colleagues across Cisco UK & Ireland, and renewed old friendships. Our fund raising is in progress and I’d appreciate any and all donations here!
Join us tomorrow, as Cisco sponsors the launch of Changing Tack, the final report of the Regeneration Roadmap, via global webcast from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT/4 p.m. London)
The Regeneration Roadmap is a collaborative, joint initiative by GlobeScan and SustainAbility designed to advance sustainable development. What is “sustainable development?” It is defined by a United Nations commission as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In business, this equates to people and production practices that are good for society and the environment, as well as the bottom line.
The aim of the Regeneration Roadmap is to provide a roadmap for achieving sustainable development within the next generation, focusing in particular on ways the private sector can improve sustainability strategy, increase credibility and deliver results at greater speed and scale.
The Changing Tack report released today holds that choices made on sustainable development now will shape success or failure in future. It also demands that business leaders commit to doing more to guarantee that present and future societies and ecosystems thrive.