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A New Look for Corporate Social Responsibility at Cisco

For years I suppose I was just like you, pretty cynical about the whole concept of “Corporate” social responsibility. Can an organization be truly socially responsible given the bottom line is selling product? Five years ago I left an industry I loved, education technology, and entered into the amorphous world of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Thanks to my tutor Teri Treille, who is a queen among luddites when it comes to articulating the intricacies of capturing, and tracking, a corporation’s commitment to society, my level of understanding for the movement of sustainability and socially responsible corporate actions has grown deep.

What I discovered about my company is that giving back to global communities to ensure they thrive is as integrated into our culture as is building networks. Over the years Cisco leaders such as Tae Yoo, Randy Pond, Kathy Mulvany and others have refined a strategy that is unique among our peers. By tying technology, partnerships, and expertise together they have built a strong network that is flexible and allows all employees to integrate CSR into their strategic plans.

There is no doubt that managed well, CSR can create great social and environmental value, support a company’s business objectives while reducing operating costs, and enhance relationships with key stakeholders and customers. But it is no easy task for executives to reconcile various CSR programs, quantify their benefits, and articulate the connection to the business goals while securing the support of his or her business line counterparts. When you see it happen it sometimes seems spontaneous. Digging deeper though you begin to understand that CSR is more than the framework by which to measure success: It is always about the people in the organization who care about taking initiatives to improve our world.

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Cisco Among Top 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World

This week, Cisco was again included in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations – a select group of the world’s most sustainable large-cap companies based on 12 indicators, including energy, innovation, corporate governance issues, and diversity.

Cisco was #1 in the IT category and 11th overall, up from 20th last year. The Global 100 were chosen from a starting universe of more than 4000 companies worldwide.

In its tenth year, the Global 100 has come to be a widely followed analysis of corporate sustainability. Companies named to the Global 100 are the top overall sustainability performers in their respective industrial sectors.

The index is compiled by Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based media and investment advisory company, and announced each year during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Read more about Cisco’s commitment to sustainability in our 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

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Cisco Publishes 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

I am pleased to announce that Cisco has released its ninth annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. I have come to realize that creating a CSR Report is not about reaching a project deadline – rather it is just one part of an ongoing stakeholder dialogue. We write our annual CSR Report to demonstrate commitment, and to hold ourselves accountable to those commitments — even during phases that have been challenging due to macro-economic or organizational change.

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The 2013 Cisco CSR Report outlines our strategy to use our expertise, technology, and partnerships for social, environmental, and business impact. We report using a framework of five core pillars.

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Cisco’s Kathy Mulvany Featured in Women in CSR Series

October 24, 2013 at 6:26 am PST

This week TriplePundit featured Cisco Corporate Affairs Senior Director Kathy Mulvany in its series on leading female CSR practitioners. Read the complete interview below. Thanks to TriplePundit for permission to republish this interview.

Kathy Mulvany_personal photoTriplePundit: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.

Kathy Mulvany: As senior director of corporate affairs, I’m responsible for helping to steward Cisco’s overall corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, build awareness of our CSR programs around the world, and engage with a broad set of stakeholders including customers, shareholders, governments, nonprofit partners and advocacy groups. Within Corporate Affairs, I oversee a number of teams, including CSR strategy and planning, marketing and communications, the Cisco Foundation and corporate grant making, CSR reporting and stakeholder engagement, as well as our veterans program.

I’ve been a part of Cisco’s Corporate Affairs organization for seven years and with Cisco since 1996. One benefit of working for a large corporation is that I’ve had the opportunity to move around within the business, which keeps it fresh while broadening my expertise and professional network. Having worked in various Cisco organizations over the years, including Corporate Marketing, Latin America Marketing and Office of the Chairman and CEO, I can honestly say I’ve found my passion in Corporate Affairs with CSR.

3p: How has the sustainability program evolved at your company?

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Cisco Tops CDP Global and U.S. Carbon Rankings

Yesterday, CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) released its assessment of how companies in the S&P 500 did on CDP’s 2013 carbon investor questionnaire. About a week ago, CDP released a similar assessment for the Global 500, the 500 largest companies by market capitalization on the FTSE Global Equity Index. PricewaterhouseCoopers performed both assessments for CDP using information submitted earlier this year by the responding companies.

SP500 CDP report coverAlong with six other companies, Cisco tied for the top spot on the Global 500 with a disclosure score of 100 and an “A” performance rating. We were alone in first place in the IT sector. We were also at the top of the S&P 500 assessment (tied with BNY Mellon and Entergy). “Top” is certainly a great place to be, but I think we take more pride in being on the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) for six years in a row. For a long-term problem like climate change, consistently high rankings over an extended period are strong evidence of a company’s commitment to improving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions disclosure and performance.

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