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Social Justice Beliefs and Actions

Between one and everyone, there’s a bridge.

Cisco’s purpose is to power an inclusive future for all. That means everyone.

When we see injustice-whether affecting everyone or specific groups-we act boldly, bravely and deliberately to make change, remove barriers and support communities. 

Our Beliefs

Our purpose is fueled by what we believe. These beliefs inform how we act as a business, including our commitment to social justice.

Our beliefs are constant. They don’t go away, or end. They serve as an ever-present inspiration.

Technology for Good

We believe that technology makes the world better. We’re committed to building technology that empowers people and communities to create new possibilities. In doing so, we will not customize our technology to facilitate censorship, injustice or oppression.

Culture of Coalescence

We believe in fostering a culture that is beneficial to all. In moments when we see an opportunity to unite the whole, we will coalesce our people and our resources to take action to drive meaningful change. And, we will encourage our employees, suppliers, communities and partners to join us in working alongside diverse communities.

Commitment to Justice

We believe that social justice is apolitical. It’s our calling to ensure that communities on the margins experience a world that is just where they are valued, validated and empowered.

Curiosity, Proximity & Empathy

We believe in modeling curiosity by continually educating ourselves about all forms of inequality and injustice. Our understanding grows more when we get proximate to the most vulnerable and insecure in our communities. By engaging in proximity, empathy and ultimately action can be realized.

Addressing Insecurity of Being

Cisco has long believed in addressing insecurity across fundamental human needs, rights and access. We are expanding our commitment and addressing a new area: an insecurity of being. Insecurity of being happens when one is a target of hate and violence solely due to their existence in a marginalized group, be it in the physical or virtual world. 

Our Actions

Beliefs are important. But more important are the actions they inspire. The umbrella of inequality manifests differently across groups. We are confident we can answer the call to action when we see discrimination, injustice or inequality in whatever form it takes. We will be relentless in our efforts to do so. 

Our Commitment to the Black Community

Our collective history, recent murders of unarmed Black people in the United States and demonstrations in the streets across the globe have forced us all to take a hard look at our world and the racism within it.

Cisco is anti-racist in all of its forms across all groups, from small slights to extreme acts of violence. We can no longer ignore our reality. The lack of attention to the Black experience has galvanized us to lead needed change. We must change how we focus on the Black community, specifically because of the distinct ways in which they experience racism that is grounded in anti-blackness.

Anti-blackness is a unique version of racism where society rejects the humanity of anyone marked as Black. This form of racism is relentless and unforgiving, denying the opportunity to change the narrative of centuries of suffering.

The 12 proposed actions below, organized in four categories, represent Cisco's commitment to the Black community.

The Most Vulnerable

1. Cisco will influence our ecosystem to support policy, legislation and organizations working to ensure equal rights for AA/Black people in 2020 and beyond. 

  • Social justice will only sustain if we place an equal focus on our regional communities as we have internally at Cisco. We support national policing reform efforts and encourage Congress to reach a resolution designed to better protect, respect and serve AA/Black communities across the United States.
  • Voting rights are at the core of our democracy and Cisco supports policies that promote the full, equal and active participation of all communities in federal, state and local elections. 
  • We will provide employees with up to one business day of paid time off to vote in major country elections across the world, where applicable. We will use our influence to encourage other companies in our ecosystem and communities to do the same.    
  • We will support the endeavors of policymakers as they pursue establishing a commission to examine the legacy of slavery and systemic discrimination in the United States and to propose solutions. 
  • We will partner with and invest in organizations on the frontlines that bridge insecurities in the AA/Black community—including being, critical human needs, education, healthcare, and economic empowerment. 

Families and Community

2. Cisco will increase the representation of AA/Black employees at all levels of the company. 

  • By 2023, achieve a 25% increase in representation of all employees who self-identify as AA/Black from entry-level through manager level and a 75% increase in representation of employees who self-identify as AA/Black from Director through VP+ level.   
  • We will use this learning as a blueprint to expand increased representation across the full spectrum of diversity at every level. 

3. Cisco will expand our pay parity program to include additional forms of compensation and promotion practices to ensure fairness for all employees. 

  • We will aggressively expand our approach to Fair Pay beyond base salary to also include additional forms of compensation — promotion, stock and bonus. We will expand the program to ensure it addresses all employees across the full spectrum of diversity through new methodologies and practices, expansion to our global self- reported data collection, along with intentional transparency of the process. 
  • We will maintain focus on promotion fairness across the company to ensure our leadership and pipeline represent an inclusive future for all.

4. Cisco will focus on increasing the diversity of its Board Members. 

  • Our executives and board must reflect the full spectrum of diversity. We know we have gaps in the representation on the board and our Executive Leadership Team (ELT). We are committed to closing these gaps, beginning in 2020 and beyond, by leveraging diverse candidate slates, robust succession planning and a commitment to developing a pipeline of diverse talent for the executive ranks.

5. Cisco will deliver anti-discrimination education for our workforce and will make content available to all partners and suppliers by 2022. 

  • Within the next 18 months, we will require all Cisco teams to participate in learning focused on anti-discrimination. The design of this content will be for a global audience recognizing that bias, discrimination, racism, colorism, and classism are experienced all over the world and that learning interventions are the catalyst for allyship.
  • This content will be the first offering of a new and ever-expanding library of trainings focused on educating our teams about the full spectrum of diversity and the challenges groups face in the workplace. 
  • We will also build new avenues and models to make foundational anti- discrimination content available to all suppliers and partners by 2022. 

6. Cisco will enable leaders to get proximate to AA/B employees and Cisco Networking Academy  students to create a culture of sponsorship and drive adoption of The Multiplier Effect by partners and suppliers by 2022. 

  • Within the next 12 months, we commit to ensuring our AA/Black employees have the opportunity to meet 1:1 with a senior leader other than their direct manager with the intended outcome of securing sponsorship. We will also extend this to other communities.
  • Within the next 18 months, we will focus on ensuring our AA/Black talent have access to mentoring or sponsoring relationships. Every Cisco executive is expected to sponsor at least one or more AA/Black or diverse talent within Cisco or Networking Academy.
  • By the end of CY2022, drive adoption to The Multiplier Effect (TME) in our partner and supplier organizations to grow cultures of sponsorship across industries by offering a powerful and engaging sponsorship platform with resources to 100% of our partners and suppliers. In the next 18 months, conduct a pilot with 5 to 10 of our largest suppliers and partners to drive adoption of TME in their organizations and achieve 80%+ pledge adoption with their executive teams. This cross-industry pilot will yield success stories that will enable other organizations to successfully drive TME and sponsorship in their environments. 

7. Cisco will require preferred suppliers in 2021 to report annually on the full spectrum diversity of their US workforce provided to Cisco, where permissible, and we will recognize and reward those that excel in increasing diversity. 

  • Our suppliers are an extension of Cisco. We will expand our competitive sourcing to require 100% of bids include at least one qualified diverse supplier with an objective of doubling our percentage spend with diverse suppliers by 2023. 
  • Cisco will insert core anti-discrimination training into standard training provided to preferred suppliers that work with Cisco.
  • In the US, we will focus on offering AA/Black-owned businesses access to Cisco mentorship and coaching. Outside the US, we will focus our diverse supplier program to address inclusion of marginalized communities.

Research and Resilience

8. Cisco will commit to the strategic recovery, sustainability and legacy of HBCUs, post-COVID & beyond.  

  • Over the next 5 years, we will invest in HBCUs to ensure a successful post COVID-19 recovery. We commit to providing technology upgrades to ensure exceptional remote learning options and scholarships to ensure enrollment to those in need due to COVID-19. By 2025, we will commit to partner with HBCUs to develop a long-term sustainable strategy focused on delivering student success, innovation opportunities, and investment into AA/Black-owned startups.   

9. Cisco will provide access to capital, education and customers for AA/Black-owned financing companies.

  • We will partner with financing providers that serve AA/Black-owned companies and communities to provide attractive financing offers to ensure access to the most impactful technology solutions that drive business results. 
  • We will implement an education program for AA/Black-owned Cisco Partners on how to use Cisco financing programs to increase revenue and profitability. 
  • Cisco will seek to incorporate AA/Black-owned US equipment financing companies into Cisco Capital’s portfolio of finance partners to provide these companies with access to a broader base of potential customers.

10. Cisco will commit $50M over 5 years to increase the diversity in our partner ecosystem.

  • Cisco will increase the number of AA/Black-owned technology companies in our partner ecosystem with the goal of promoting the financial growth and opportunities for these partners.
  • We will also drive the hiring of AA/Black employees into tech and management roles, especially from HBCUs and Cisco Networking Academy across the partner ecosystem.

Strategic Recovery

11. Cisco will invest $50M in innovation through incubation and venture capital.

  • We will launch a $50M venture investment fund (the “Aspire Fund”) to make investments in Venture Funds and Startups with diverse founders and leadership teams. Aspire Fund will be managed by the same team in Cisco Investments.
  • Cisco Investments will help its portfolio companies, as well as the portfolio companies of the venture funds (in which Cisco Investments is an investor), scale up their businesses through its dedicated team of portfolio development professionals.

12. Cisco will ensure technology solutions and day-to-day operations maximize human rights benefits, mitigate potential human rights harms, and respect ethical principles.

In FY21, Cisco’s human rights team will partner across the business to ensure a human rights perspective is integrated into our technology solutions and day-to-day operations. This will include, among other actions:

  • Identifying the salient human rights issues associated with key product groups: Collaboration, Meraki, Security, IoT, and 5G, and conducting a review of Cisco’s product design requirements and guidance to ensure human rights and fairness principles are integrated from the very beginning.
  • Continuing to train relevant employees on how to identify human rights concerns and how to seek guidance on mitigation and remediation strategies.
  • Engaging with stakeholders to refine our human rights approach, including affected or potentially affected stakeholders or their legitimate representatives to ensure an inclusive design process. 
  • Working to ensure that our suppliers and partners abide by these same standards.

Cisco will continually reassess and recalibrate our efforts when needed to meet the above metrics and goals. And we’ll be transparent about where we still need to do more work. This is how we hold ourselves accountable in the service of true impact and change, as we continue to expand these actions across the full spectrum of diversity.