We live in a digitally connected world where anyone can be a global problem solver, addressing critical issues like unemployment, hunger, poverty, climate change, and income inequality. By combining the power of technology with innovative, entrepreneurial, and passionate people, we can accelerate solutions that create positive and lasting change.

Last year, Cisco set an ambitious new goal: harnessing the power of global problem solvers to positively impact the lives of one billion people by 2025.

We set out to achieve this goal and make this impact in three ways:

  • First, we want to help people build the technology and business skills needed to lead, innovate, and create in the digital economy
  • Second, we invest in breakthrough, early-stage, technology solutions that address social and environmental challenges and have the potential to be scaled, replicated, and sustainable
  • And third, we work with governments, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and other partners to support progress and drive inclusive growth

This work has already helped us positively impact 232 million people–including more than 154 million in our last fiscal year alone.

In addition to impacting one billion people by 2025, Cisco also strives to lead on environmental sustainability in our operations and supply chain.

Our 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report is a testament to the progress we have made, and of course, to the work still left to do.

In FY17, 1.3 million students in 180 countries built their digital skills through Cisco Networking Academy—bringing our cumulative total to 7.8 million students since 1997. Our nonprofit partners used our grant investments to positively impact 154 million people across the globe, pushing us towards our goal to reach one billion people by 2025. We also hit a huge environmental goal, reducing our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 41% compared with our FY07 baseline, keeping us on track for a 60% reduction by 2022.

We’re proud of these numbers, but they only tell part of the story. They sit alongside the achievements of Global Problem Solvers—Cisco’s employees, partners, and customers, who are tackling some of the big challenges affecting our industry and society as a whole.

Take for example, Cisco Networking Academy, our biggest and longest-running CSR program, which celebrates 20 years of changing worlds this year. Nineteen years ago, teachers Jeff Mason and Rod Thompson brought Networking Academy to students at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington. While 78 percent of students in the Newport High program earned Cisco certifications last year, what’s particularly unique about this program is the experiential learning that happens far beyond the school.

Each year, the teachers take students to work in underserved communities around the world for two weeks, developing global problem solvers in the process. Past trips have benefited people in Antigua, Slovakia, Turkey, and Uganda. Here, the students apply their networking and problem-solving skills as they design and build 25-30 Internet-connected computer labs in 10 days. The hands-on technology experience is invaluable, but the impact this program has on the students and the communities they touch is far greater.

Another example of Cisco’s global leadership in action is our Connected Conservation program. Rhino poaching poses serious economic and ecological problems in Africa, with three animals lost per day to poachers seeking rhino horns worth more than their weight in gold. A team of Cisco problem solvers, working with our partners at Dimension Data, built a solution that uses our technology to track human movement in game reserves, flagging suspicious activity. Currently being piloted at a South African game reserve, the program has helped reduce poaching by 96 percent since 2015.

At Cisco, we believe that anyone can become a global problem solver, and we’re turning that opportunity into action.

To learn more about the progress we’re making to positively impact people, society, and the planet, visit our CSR website and read our 2017 CSR report. We hope you’ll feel inspired to join us in our work.


Tae Yoo

No Longer with Cisco