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Code of Business Conduct

I Avoid Conflicts of Interest

Doing what's right for Cisco is important. It means avoiding situations that create – or appear to create – a conflict between my personal benefit and Cisco's interests.

What’s a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest occurs when an employee's personal activities or relationships interfere with his or her objectivity in doing what is best for the company. Conflicts of interest, in fact or appearance, can also decrease shareholder value and expose Cisco to legal and/or reputational liability. Cisco employees are expected to diligently avoid such conflicts.

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The five most common situations that can lead to a Conflict of Interest (COI) are:

  • Outside Business Interests

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    • External paid projects or outside employment (disclosure tool)
    • Developing new products, including inventions and writings (disclosure tool)
    • Outside selling or servicing of Cisco equipment (not approved)
    • Ownership or investing in a company that has a connection to Cisco (investment disclosure)
  • Family and Friends

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    • Interacting with them as Cisco suppliers, contractors, consultants, customers or competitors
    • Hiring them into Cisco

    Contact the Ethics Office about these situations (cobc@cisco.com).

  • External Boards

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  • Communications

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    • Speaking engagements (check with your manager)
    • Endorsements (guidelines)
    • Personal references for current or former Cisco employees (see the Social Media Policy)
  • Gifts and Entertainment

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    Since there are a variety of business gift/entertainment situations and related laws around the world, there is a specific “I Statement” and policy for these cases (see pages 18-20). (gifts and entertainment disclosure tool)

Descriptions and required actions for the first four COI categories are detailed in the Cisco Conflict of Interest Policy and Investment policy.

Details about gifts, entertainment and hospitality are provided in the Cisco Gifts and Entertainment Policy. Refer to these policies if your outside activity, situation or relationship has the potential of creating a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.

It’s not possible to list every potential COI situation. If you are not sure, contact the Ethics Office for assistance.