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CSR at Cisco

Stakeholder Engagement
and ESG Materiality

Input from key stakeholders and a comprehensive materiality assessment helps us set ESG strategy, commitments, and maximize impact. Ongoing analysis helps us align our business to the changing social and environmental landscape.

An important input to our CSR strategy and reporting is an ESG materiality assessment. The assessment helps us understand ESG topics that are most important to our stakeholders and continuously assess our strategy and commitments. We conduct a full assessment every two years. In years that we do not conduct a full assessment, we conduct an internal assessment refresh. This helps us validate priorities relative to business risks and opportunities.

In fiscal 2021, we completed a full ESG materiality assessment. This assessment included using big data and input from a broader set of stakeholders to understand priority ESG topics. The analysis consisted of three phases: 1) benchmarking, analysis of global trends, and identification of ESG topics and definitions; 2) interviews with key stakeholders and 3) in-depth analysis and summary of findings. Stakeholders included investors, employees, Cisco executives, customers, and thought leaders.

We identified 18 ESG topics that are important to our stakeholders and, of these, four emerged as the highest:

  • Climate change and GHGs
  • Corporate governance
  • Human rights and working conditions in the supply chain
  • Inclusion and diversity

In addition to and in support of our formal ESG materiality assessment, Cisco teams regularly gather feedback on emerging issues and the quality of our reporting and performance from sources including stakeholder inquiries and key ratings and rankings.

Stakeholder groups

  • CSR thought leaders
  • Customers
  • Employees and Cisco Executives
  • Governments and regulators
  • Industry leaders
  • Investors
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Sales channel partners
  • Suppliers

1 ESG materiality, as referred to in this website and in our CSR reporting, and our ESG materiality assessment process is different than when used in the context of Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) disclosure obligations. Issues deemed material for purposes of our CSR reporting and for purposes of determining our ESG strategy may not be considered material for SEC reporting purposes, nor does inclusion of information in our CSR reporting indicate that the topic or information is material to Cisco’s business or operating results. 

FY21 ESG Materiality Matrix

Additional stakeholder engagement

We have been a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum (WEF) since 2002. Our engagement with WEF provides us with world leader insights, influences our CSR strategy, and enables us to learn from others and share best practices. Other partnerships and memberships include Business for Social Responsibility (BSR); the Conference Board’s Sustainability Council II on Innovation and Growth; the CEF (formerly the Corporate Eco Forum); and the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). We also participate in a range of initiatives and organizations for the environment, including advancing a circular economy, and the supply chain.

FY21 ESG Materiality Matrix


  • Innovation & responsible technology (moderate importance)
  • Data security & privacy (moderate importance)
  • Business ethics (moderate importance)
  • Corporate governance (high importance)


  • Critical human needs & disaster relief (low importance)
  • Employee wellbeing (moderate importance)
  • Community impact (moderate importance)
  • Economic empowerment (moderate importance)
  • Digital inclusion (moderate importance)
  • Talent (moderate importance)
  • Human rights & working conditions in the supply chain (high importance)
  • Inclusion & diversity (high importance)


  • Water (moderate importance)
  • Operational waste (moderate importance)
  • Environmental protection (moderate importance)
  • Circular design & lifecycle management (moderate importance)
  • Climate change & GHGs (high importance)