Skip to Main Content
(Press Enter)

Environmental Employee Engagement

Through digital tools, educational activities, and volunteer opportunities, Cisco helps employees take action for the environment.

We encourage employees to be global problem solvers for environmental sustainability. The actions they take often depend on their experiences, location, expertise, and the issues they care about. Through digital tools, educational activities, and volunteer opportunities, Cisco helps improve employees’ awareness of the many ways to get involved.

Education and awareness

Cisco employees receive many hours of education and awareness training per year. One hour of our new employee orientation is dedicated to sharing information about Cisco’s CSR program. We also help employees incorporate environmental design principles into our products, packaging, and solutions.

To further embed environmental practices into our business operations, we offer employee training on our business management system. This training covers our Environment Management System (EMS) and environmental policies. We also provide ad hoc training to employees on topics such as correct waste sorting on campus.

The Cisco Green Team Network (GTN) is a global employee-led team with 21 local chapters and hundreds of members. Cisco GTN envisions a more environmentally sustainable business and world. It’s made up of people passionate about educating their fellow employees and making change. Chapters raise awareness of environmental issues, share how to make changes at work and at home, and connect employees with local resources—all while having fun. GTN-sponsored discussions and activities have included the benefits of a plant-based diet, how to plant trees, and tips for composting at home.

Since Cisco GTN was established, the team has:

  • Conducted numerous virtual activities to engage members while working from home
  • Eliminated paper cups from select Cisco buildings in India, Europe, and the United States
  • Established community gardens in San Jose and Bangalore
  • Developed an urban farm at our Diegem, Belgium site
  • Designed and installed shadow boxes above the landfill, recycling, and composting receptacles in San Jose and RTP cafeterias to help employees quickly and easily sort waste
  • Received Cisco’s Excellence in Environmental Stewardship award (December 2017)

In addition, Cisco hosts events for employees to learn more about sustainability programs and current opportunities to get involved, such as Open Conservation and SustainX, which is part of our annual Earth Aware campaign. Learning opportunities include:

  • Cisco GreenHouse. In 2016, we launched an interactive sustainability web platform for employees hosted by WeSpire. Cisco GreenHouse connects passionate employees who want to find ways to lead more sustainable lives with likeminded peers all over the world. By the end of fiscal 2021, over 10,500 employees had joined the site and taken over 16,000 actions to learn about or be more sustainable.
  • SustainX. SustainX is our thought leadership forum on sustainability. During this event, we invite internal executives to share what their teams are doing to reduce their environmental impact and external speakers to discuss the innovative ways they are working to improve the environment. In fiscal 2021, our sixth annual event was 100% virtual.
  • Virtual presentations. Cisco Green Teams host Webex presentations for employees to learn more about topics such as sustainable eating, indigenous cultures in Brazil’s rainforest, and river protection.
  • Circular economy newsletter and trainings. Each quarter, the newsletter highlights circular economy success stories, provides updates on progress towards our public goals, and shares opportunities to collaborate on circular initiatives. In fiscal 2021, we rolled out training for the design and sales communities, empowering over 7800 employees to integrate circular principles into their core job responsibilities.
  • Circular Economy Webex Teams space. Over 240 employees keep tabs on the latest announcements and events while connecting with others enthusiastic about sustainability.
  • Green & Blue Webex space. Launched in fiscal 2021, over 800 employees collaborate on topics related to the environment (green) and digital technologies (blue) to make a difference for our communities, customers and partners, and the planet.

Activities and volunteering

Cisco provides opportunities for employees to volunteer or take part in annual sustainability events. Cisco employees can also volunteer to help with a sustainable business project through our stretch assignment program or create their own green team to advocate for sustainable changes in their location.

  • Annual shutdown. Cisco requires employees in North America, and encourages other employees worldwide, to take time off at the end of December. The shutdown gives us an opportunity to power down facilities and unused equipment during a time when much of our workforce is already taking time off. Over the 12-day shutdown beginning in December 2020, Cisco avoided approximately $500,000 in energy costs and 1800 metric tonnes CO2e of emissions.
  • Stretch assignments. Cisco groups share stretch assignments for employees to get involved in sustainability-related initiatives. Examples of stretch assignments include managing communications for the Open Conservation program, calculating sustainable solutions for our customers, and circular economy projects focused on zero-waste initiatives at our manufacturing sites and embedding our Circular Design Principles into our internal tools and processes.

In a typical year, many of our sustainability events are in-person. Some examples include:

  • Recycle IT Day. Employees collect their used electronics year-round and bring them to their local Cisco office on Earth Day in April. Cisco responsibly recycles the equipment using the same vendors we use to recycle Cisco products. In fiscal 2019, Cisco collected 422,108 pounds (191 metric tonne) of electronic waste from over 160 sites around the world. We suspended Recycle IT Day in fiscal 2020 and 2021 and plan to bring it back when employees return to office.
  • Earth Aware. While Earth Day is just one day, Cisco extends the celebration with a two-month employee volunteerism and awareness campaign, Earth Aware. During Earth Aware, we invite employees to practice sustainable behaviors like biking to work and properly sorting waste in cafeterias. We also host activities like on-campus farmer’s markets and information sessions about Cisco’s species conservation efforts. Earth Aware sparks new ideas and renews dedication to live in more environmentally responsible ways.
  • Bike to Work Day. As part of the Earth Aware campaign, Cisco sponsors Bike to Work Day activities. While it is a global opportunity, Cisco employees and contractors in San Jose come out in large numbers. They visit Cisco’s energizer station, grab bagels and fruit, get free chair massages, use the repair station, and visit with fellow cyclists. In partnership with the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, Cisco helps remove thousands of cars from the roads in the Bay Area through this event.