The following is an excerpt from the 2020 CSR Impact Report.

Q: How has Cisco taken a stand for social justice over the past year?

A: In September 2020, we publicly unveiled Cisco’s Social Justice Beliefs and Our Commitment to Action. For all of us who poured our souls into creating this moment, it’s a remarkable milestone. Because it’s not just a platform for change. It’s a bridge. Connecting longstanding challenges with new possibilities for overcoming them. Ushering in a future of fairness. Enabling bold, deliberate, intentional action whenever— and wherever—we see injustice and inequality.

Q: What was the path Cisco took to this moment?

A: Over the past five years, Cisco has taken courageous steps to fight injustice and inequality. We’ve taken a stand—and considerable actions—to help protect the equal rights, safety, and dignity of our people and communities around the world. Now, we are ready to reach higher. To rise up. To make seismic shifts in our company, our communities, and our society. As Dr. King put it, “the time is always right to do what is right.”

Q: What are Cisco’s Social Justice Beliefs and Our Commitment to Action?

A: We began by codifying a set of beliefs to further our purpose and demonstrate publicly who we are as an organization. Those beliefs influence how we act as a business, including our commitment to social justice.

We firmly believe in Technology for Good; Commitment to Justice; Addressing Insecurity of Being; Culture of Coalescence; and Curiosity, Proximity, and Empathy. These beliefs are constant, serving as an ever-present inspiration for our team and for Cisco globally.

One of the things that I am most proud of is how we didn’t simply lay out a list of ideals that we would like to adhere to. We set out an action plan to make ideals reality and continue to take action. What we are doing isn’t just for now—it is to build an Inclusive Future for all.

Q: How are you building support for this effort?

A: We have learned a significant lesson on this journey, given the size and scope of the challenge we face— collaboration is essential. Nothing gets done if we don’t collaborate.

We are leveraging the full Cisco ecosystem. Our new motion is to lock arms and invite others to join us in taking action. Part of that action is to work with our partners and support research to better understand opportunities that are ripe for investment—both financially and otherwise.

Q: How will Cisco maintain the momentum into the future?

A: We can’t address every issue simultaneously—that’s a formula for failure. The initial 12 actions we are taking as a company are designed to address issues that most specifically impact our African American/Black employees and communities. The impact we create and the lessons we learn from this critical effort will allow us to replicate and scale for everyone.

What affects any one of us affects all of us. Our Social Justice Beliefs and Our Commitment to Action are fundamental to driving change both within and beyond the walls of our company.

We will report our progress in future CSR Impact Reports. Today, we share our intent toward these 12 goals as an invitation to all who believe we can successfully fight injustice and inequality. An invitation to join us. Create a movement. Be the change. Will you join us in our mission to power for an Inclusive Future for all?

To learn more about the progress we’re making to power a more inclusive future through CSR, visit our Cisco ESG Reporting Hub, where you can read our CSR Impact Report.

CSR Impact Report graphic


Jennifer Boynton

Corporate Social Responsibility Content Strategist

Corporate Affairs