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Corporate Social Responsibility: Cisco System Inc.

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Cisco system Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking for the internet. It was incorporated on December 10, 1984, and was specifically engaged in designing and selling a range of technologies across networking, security, collaborations, applications, and the cloud. The company has developed its hardware, software, and service offerings that are used to create the internet solution that makes this networking possible, offering individuals, companies, and countries easy access to information at any given time. The company extends its services through three geographical segments that include: the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA): Asian Pacific, Japan, and China APJC. Importantly, the cisco engineers have invented the internet protocol IP-based networking technologies which has formed the basis of developing industry-leading products in the core technologies or routing and switching alongside security, storage area networking, and wireless technology. 

In addition to these services, the Cisco company has operated on core values of customer focus and engages in corporate social responsibility through global involvement in education, community, and philanthropic efforts. As a result, it is important to analyze the social performance of the Cisco systems company based on various concepts that include ethical responsibilities, legal responsibilities, philanthropical responsibilities, and economic responsibilities. 

Ethical Responsibilities 

Ethical responsibility is one of the concepts that are used to analyze how a company performs socially. It concentrates on how the company strives to comply with the norms, standards, values, and expectations of society. Amazingly, Cisco company has been honored by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the 9th year running. Usually, the Ethisphere honors more than 131 companies representing 54 industry sectors, 21 countries, and five continents, and Cisco was lucky enough to be named in the Technology category. But how did the Cisco company manage to achieve these extraordinary heights in a highly competitive environment. The ranking was based on five key categories that include ethics and compliance program (35%), corporate citizenship and responsibility 20%, the culture of ethics 20% governance 15%, and leadership, innovation, and reputation 10 %. 

The cisco company is based on a foundation that enhances the preservation of an ethical workplace which is critical to the long-term success of a company. The company provides employees the opportunity to learn and understand its policies and processes that aid in working in line with the law while maintaining an ethical culture. This is done through the policy central website, reporting, and disclosure tools, ethics-related training, and the annual employee’s Code of Business Conduct (COBC) certification. Furthermore, the Cisco company maintains an ethical culture by: 

I. Enhancing open communication by providing multiple ways in which all stakeholders can share their concerns, report various allegations of misconduct or even raise their questions when they feel like doing so. 

II. The company has adopted the code of Business Conduct which offers the best guidance when confronted with a work-related ethical dilemma or compliance matter. Interestingly, all the employees are also encouraged to engage the human resource manager or employ or other available means to voice their concerns with the company. 

III. The company strongly encourages people to speak up in case they have questions or ethical concerns without fear of retaliation and even do so anonymously if they don’t want to conceal their identity. IV. Cisco company values the employee’s concerns and feedback and takes it seriously by making follow-ups to determine whether any violations were made on the COBC. 

V. The Cisco company requires employees to annually certify compliance with the code of Business Conduct. VI. The company also has a supplier code of Ethics that ensures that partners operate ethically whenever they are doing Cisco business. It provides Partner Anti-corruption Training and online reporting of alleged misconduct. 

VII. The company has a dedicated and knowledgeable ethics team that works in tandem with the cross-functional executive committee to maintain ethical standards in all company transactions. It also includes a financial officer’s code of conduct. 

Furthermore, the Cisco company has embarked on a mission of addressing issues that affect the planet. Being part of the solution to the most pressing environmental challenges is the CSR priority of this company that has set long-term goals to reduce the environmental impact of our products and operations. This move also entails working with suppliers to ensure that they reduce their impact on the environment and also increase their energy efficiency. Therefore, the company has gone a step further to manage the lifecycle of its products and solutions while driving a continual improvement in its business processes and addressing their environmental impacts using a certified Environmental Management system. Moreover, the company engages its employees to be problem solvers by empowering them to innovate solutions and participate in actions such as reducing or doing away with paper cup use and trying to make a meaningful difference at the workplace and the world in general. 

The Cisco company has also gone a notch higher to participate in reducing threats to endangered species such as the Rhino. The rhino is on a fast track of extinction by the year 2025 since its lost three animals per day. However, an employee team at Cisco saw the opportunity to use technological know-how and passion for conservation to address the threat. Members of the Cisco team spent their time In Africa in a complex and harsh environment to understand the challenges and the needs in these issues. The solution needed to be reliable, adaptable, resilient, and easy to operate and maintain to protect the animals and also benefit the surrounding communities. They eventually came up with the connected conservation program that embraced the use of technology in tracking human movements in and around the game reserves detecting any suspicious activities before any harm can occur to the animals. This program has been launched in a popular game reserve in Southern Africa and it has reduced poaching by 96 percent. 

Philanthropic Responsibility 

This is another important concept that can be used to define the social performance of the Cisco company. Philanthropic Responsibility can be defined as the voluntary support of socially valued activities such as supporting education programs, health programs, and critical human needs, and disaster relief. Firstly, the company has invested on unleashing a digital-savvy network of problem solvers by ensuring that over fifty billion things will be connected to the internet by 2020 with an estimated 1.4 million new full-time jobs emerging by this year for people who can solve problems, think creatively and have embraced the digital skills needed by Iot. There exist a huge gap between employment opportunities and people with the skills needed to fill the positions. For instance, by March 2017, there were 7 million unemployed people in the US yet there existed 5.7 million unfilled jobs. Nearly half of these employers reported that they were not able to find qualified candidates to assume these positions. 

The expansion of digitalization in both developed and developing countries raises the demand for people with digital skills and hence the Cisco company has a mission of accelerating a new era of digitality savvy problem solvers to raise people who are raised for the jobs of tomorrow. Twenty years ago, Cisco donated networking equipment to local schools and they went ahead to create a Cisco Networking Academy to try and combine technology and education to change the lives of students. Two decades later, the networking Academy program has expanded to more than 180 countries and admitted more than 7.8 million students. Cisco works with various educational institutions across the world, preparing students for entry-level jobs and industry-recognized certification. The students get exposed to practical and gain skills that are needed to get certified, land a job and even start their own business. In the past one decade, the Cisco company has witnessed the admission of more than 3000 students with disabilities that are benefitting from the Networking Academy courses and the company is targeting over 10000 in the next five years. It also works hand in hand with the Deaf Aid to empower students with vision, hearing, and select physical disabilities. 

Networking Academy students have become a popular commodity in the job market and the Cisco company has managed to connect their channel partners with qualified talents from around the world. The cisco company supports access to economic opportunity to more than 2.5 billion people globally who are unbanked. Out of 2 billion of these people have access to mobile phones and can have access to mobile financial services that can help them to contribute to economic growth. A study done by Boston Consulting Group examined the impact of mobile financial services across multiple countries and found out that mobile financial services has the power to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to 5 percent. Cisco company-funded international with seed funding to design and pilot digital mobile money solutions in three countries. Opportunity International is a nonprofit making organization that empowers poverty-stricken people to transform their lives through financial products and training. Through the support from Cisco, the program scaled to reach more than 400 000 people within two years in six countries. Motivated by this success, the Cisco company has decided to expand its program with opportunity by providing multi-year support including cash grants, donation of cisco technology, and expertise to apply digitization solutions in the quest to transform the operation of the organization worldwide. 

The support from Cisco is extremely crucial to this course since it will not only improve efficiency in its business operation but also scale operations to connect more people to financial services and enhance the impact evaluation. In the long run, the opportunity organization will be able to achieve its goal of creating more than 20 million jobs and positively impact 100 million lives by 2020. Legal Responsibility The third concept is the legal responsibility whereby the company is required to obey society’s legal requirements. The success of this company is built upon the culture of integrity whereby it has created a strong trustworthy among all the stakeholders in including the government and non-governmental organizations. To adhere to the legal requirements of the government and the society, the company has developed a COBC code of business conduct and training that reinforces all the ethical standards expected in products and all services delivered to consumers helps to reinforce different laws in the market including market competitions and doing business ethically. These are antitrust laws around the world that prohibit business practices that reduce competition. For instance, these laws forbid agreements between competitors who agree on the prices or other terms and discourage discrimination between similarly situated resellers. 

Cisco is fully committed to competing fairly and complying to the antitrust and competing laws. On the same note, Cisco underlines the importance of corporate confidentiality and inside trading. There is no one individual who should engage in selling Cisco securities or engaging in any other actions to take advantage on pass information to others. Cisco employees are prohibited from tipping others or trading in any Cisco derivative securities such as put and call options. The cisco company has also given zero tolerance to bribery and corruption underlining the importance of working with utmost integrity, honesty, and transparency while complying with regional and international anti-corruption laws (Wammack,2015). Cisco will forgo business opportunities in case bribes are involved and they will always stand by their employees in case they face losing sales due to refusal to engage in corruption. Interestingly, Cisco engages in with business partners who share the value of transparency and honesty in all business dealings and who strictly adhere to the Anti-corruption policy for partners. Similarly, it’s against Cisco policy to copy, reproduce distribute or broadcast third-party copyrighted materials as part of Cisco products, promotional materials, or written communication unless they get prior permission from the original owners. 

Finally, the Cisco company insists on adhering to the US and international export laws. The export of cisco products requires an appropriate license and is allowed in most countries except in territories that are embargoed destinations and countries that are designated to be terrorist supporters. Any employee importing products on behalf of Cisco must have appropriate customs declarations and licenses and adhere to destination customs regulations. On the same note, the Cisco company and its subsidiaries are committed to playing a role in international efforts to combat money laundering and the funding of terrorists and criminal activities. This is a policy that is engraved on cisco’s legal obligations across jurisdictions. 


In conclusion, the Cisco company has performed exemplary well as far as corporate social responsibility is concerned. Ranging from the ethical responsibilities, the economic responsibilities, legal responsibilities, and philanthropical roles, the Cisco System company has left a mark in the social world that should b emulated by many other international companies. Most importantly, the company has enhanced an ethical working environment that gives voice to all stakeholders without any type of discrimination. They have also gone ahead to introduce the digital academy that has served to improve the education levels in various parts of the world and reduce the levels of unemployment among the youths. Finally, on law issues, the company is in the frontline fighting against corruption, money laundering, terrorism activities, and other unlawful activities that may taint the image of other companies. 


  1. Bunnell, D., Brate, A., & Foreword By-Southwick, K. (2000). 
  2. Making the Cisco connection: the story behind the real Internet superpower. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Gawer, A., & Cusumano, M. A. (2002). 
  3. Platform leadership: How Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco drive industry innovation (Vol. 5, pp. 29-30). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Tae Yoo. (2018, July 30). 
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility 2016 Report. Retrieved from › About Cisco › CSR Wammack, A. C. (2015). 
  5. An Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Mississippi).

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