Why does Cisco invest hundreds of millions of dollars around the world each year to help improve access to education, healthcare, critical human needs, and disaster relief? Cisco CEO and Chairman John Chambers said in a recent CNN interview that “corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a must for the future of capitalism.” He shared his insights on a panel interview at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City, which aired on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live show September 26th. Fellow panelists included host Piers Morgan, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, and Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent.
The topic of discussion was “Mobilizing Youth Around the World” and the comments focused on the role that education and business can play in job creation for young people. A question from General Wesley Clark, the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, also sparked a discussion about jobs for returning veterans. Chambers commented that the 18 percent unemployment rate for returning veterans under the age of 24 “should be something unacceptable in our country… We have to mobilize government and business working together, not just to create 100,000 jobs, but 1 million jobs for these people.” The Cisco CEO asked for a “call to action” in America to accomplish this important goal.
Later on in the interview, the topic switched to moral decisions that businesses must make. Piers Morgan noted that he always wondered why, if there is a chronic jobs crisis in America, many large American firms outsource a high percentage of their workforce to other countries. “Is there a moral capitalism ahead where American global companies should bring more jobs back to America?” John Chambers expressed that good corporate citizenship is an important component of capitalism. “Watch Cisco as an example. We are the only large corporation in high tech that has been around for 25 years that has the majority of our employees in America. We want to continue to do that.” Chelsea added, “CEO after CEO from multiple different industries have said that ‘we have consistently seen that our employees that are consistently engaged with our CSR programs are those that we promote faster, they stay longer, they are our future leaders.’ CSR is not just the morally right thing to do, it really is the smart thing to do.” Cisco agrees. Learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility at Cisco at csr.cisco.com.
The complete interview of John Chambers at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting that aired on CNN can be found on these two videos: