We may not always remember to “stop and smell the roses,” but slowing down and appreciating the natural beauty all around us can serve as a reminder of lucky we are to call planet Earth our home. Last month, employees around the world came together to do just that; celebrating Earth Day throughout April as part of Cisco’s Earth Aware campaign.

Earth Aware is Cisco’s annual month-long volunteerism and awareness campaign in support of the sustainability and the environment. Through dozens of “green” events, such as volunteer-led tree plantings, Earth fairs, beach cleanups, recycling seminars, and more, employees took action to positively impact the planet, at work and at home.

Here are a few of our favorite Earth Aware events from around the world:

Recycle IT Day

Employees at 143 global locations were able to bring in end-of-life electronics from home, the office, or lab to be recycled during our annual Recycle IT Day. The items collected are shredded for data protection and then recycled by Cisco’s e-waste recycling vendors, keeping metal, plastics, and other reusable materials out of the landfill and reducing the amount of new material that needs to be produced. At last year’s event, we recycled over 394,000 pounds of electronics.

Beach cleanup in Portugal

In Portugal, employees spent a morning picking up trash on the beaches of Algés in collaboration with the local government. With more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently littering the ocean, community clean-ups can have an immediate, positive impact on wildlife, ecosystems, and local economies.

Urban IoT garden in Belgium

A team of Cisco employees continues to maintain an IoT garden in Belgium using Cisco equipment and a specialized robot. The vegetables grown in the garden are donated to local charities. Most recently, the team donated an entire harvest to Resto du Coeur, a local organization that distributes food and hot meals to those in need. The team is now preparing the garden for the next sowing season.

India solar plant opening and tree planting

In addition to opening a new solar facility for its Bangalore campus in mid-April, employees in India celebrated Earth Aware by planting trees and reducing food and paper waste in the cafeteria. Later this month, more than 200 employees will take part in Cisco India’s Zero Emissions Ride by traveling to work on their bicycles instead of vehicles, reducing the carbon emissions associated with their daily commute.

San Jose Bike to Work Day

Nearly 150 Cisco employees took part in the annual Bay Area Bike to Work Day, an event held in conjunction with Silicon Valley’s Bike Coalition. Volunteers manned energizer stations open to all bike commuters that day at our San Jose campus and passed out Cisco-branded water bottles, cycling t-shirts, and snacks as a thank you to those employees who went “green” by riding their bikes.

Even though April is over, we aren’t done celebrating. On May 22, employees around the world are invited to attend Cisco’s annual sustainability speaker series, SustainX.

The event will feature leaders from both inside and outside Cisco exchanging ideas on how our people, technology, and a new way of thinking will lead us to solving today’s sustainability challenges for the future. This year’s event will also include a hands-on design thinking course for Cisco employees.

Subscribe to our CSR blog to stay up to date on all of our corporate social responsibility initiatives including our progress towards achieving the greenhouse gas reduction goals we announced in 2017.


Catherine Paquette

Business Analyst

Global Energy Management and Sustainability (GEMS)