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Supply chain sustainability

Making the world a better place with technology begins with how that technology is made.

How our products are made matters to us. Cisco sees the opportunity and responsibility in leveraging our business, global operations, and overall footprint to catalyze an inclusive future for all. Taking action to drive a more just and sustainable future for the workers, communities, and ecosystems in our supply chain starts with protecting human rights and wellbeing and the planet that we live on.

Cisco believes suppliers are better off when they join our supply chain. We are proud of our record identifying, mitigating, and communicating about human rights and environmental risks in our supply chain.

How Cisco's supply chain catalyzes positive impacts for workers and communities

The breadth and complexity of Cisco's supply chain means that there are many ways we can make a positive impact. By setting a baseline and conducting due diligence, we protect workers and the environment from negative impacts of our operations. We work to enable positive impacts through targeted initiatives designed to support rightsholders, communities, and local ecosystems where we operate so that they can thrive.

Promoting responsible minerals sourcing

We conduct due diligence aligned with our Responsible Minerals Policy to source responsibly and collaborate with other stakeholders to support miners and improve their livelihoods.

Upholding baseline expectations for responsible conduct

We help protect workers' rights, health, and safety by ensuring compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct across the value chain. This includes holding our manufacturing partners, components suppliers, and key logistics partners accountable for meeting our expectations.

Improving conditions for workers

We work with suppliers to identify opportunities to improve working conditions and to remediate impacts on workers' experiences. We enable workers to have a voice and provide feedback on their working conditions without reprisal.

Protecting the environment

We work to find and stop pollution violations within multiple tiers of our supply chain and build suppliers' capabilities to conserve natural resources, drive a circular economy, and address the challenge of climate change.

Raising the bar

We participate in multistakeholder groups to advocate for more robust standards across the industry, encourage better worker engagement practices among manufacturers, and design solutions that influence better outcomes for rightsholders and the environment.

Details are available for each of the program areas outlined above. Please see the following pages: Code of Conduct, Human Rights in the Supply Chain, Supply Chain Environmental Stewardship.

Our supply chain

Cisco operates a global, diverse, and resilient supply chain. Through our network of specialist suppliers and partners, Cisco manufactures goods in a sustainable and responsible manner. For the third year in a row, Gartner awarded Cisco #1 in the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2022 report, due to our emphasis on corporate social responsibility, community involvement, and adapting in various ways to the changing landscape.

Cisco has created a due diligence system that incorporates the reality on the ground at supplier sites, factories, and in neighborhoods. No supply chain risk occurs in isolation, and human rights and environmental risks are interconnected. Cisco's due diligence system embodies the philosophy that Cisco can be an agent for good, and the company has put in place processes to ensure our system works to catalyze both short- and long-term change.

Inherent in Cisco's due diligence philosophy is the preference for collective action. Cisco's multistakeholder due diligence approach allows us to leverage our influence in order to address time-sensitive nonconformances, or activate a collective industry approach to galvanize others around a specific incident or issue.

See our fiscal 2022
Cisco supplier list

Cisco's manufacturing, logistics, and global repair sites

World map showing our manufacturing, logistics, and global repair sites.

About our supply chain

  • Component suppliers: A large group of suppliers that provide parts to our manufacturing partners according to our specifications
  • Manufacturing partners: A select group of suppliers that produce finished Cisco products
  • Logistics service providers: Suppliers who transport components and finished products
  • Repair partners: Suppliers who operate repair sites and complete service repairs

Supply chain sustainability due diligence process

Infographic detailing our supply chain sustainability due diligence process

Our due diligence system

Cisco uses the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights as the basis for our supply chain due diligence system. Below is an overview of how we drive due diligence, with additional detail by program on the Code of Conduct, Human Rights, and Environmental Stewardship pages.

Embedding responsible business conduct into policies and management systems

Engaging our suppliers is foundational to driving positive outcomes for rightsholders and the environment. To propagate consistent standards across our supply base, we work to hold suppliers accountable to our policy expectations during the lifecycle of our relationship with them. Suppliers acknowledge and affirm that they will abide by Cisco's:

Establishing strong policies demonstrates our commitment, sets expectations for our suppliers, and helps guide how we and our suppliers operate. Cisco communicates relevant supply chain policies to suppliers and ensures acknowledgement of those policies, either at onboarding or during annual evaluations. Cisco's policies are also embedded in our standard master purchasing agreements with suppliers.

Our Supply Chain Human Rights Governance Committee maintains executive oversight of human rights risks and opportunities. It regularly reviews our progress and results and drives integration of sustainability into business operations. The committee is chaired by our Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Operations and includes other executives representing Global Manufacturing Operations, Services and Logistics, Global Supplier Management, Product Operations, Technology and Quality, Supply Chain Transformation, and Legal. Supply Chain Operations employees are trained on human rights issues in the supply chain, and are regularly briefed on supplier sustainability requirements and the importance to the business.

Identify and assess actual and potential adverse impacts

Cisco conducts annual assessments of existing supplier sites focused on social and environmental risks. These assessments inform the scope of our programs and guide where Cisco will conduct deeper investigation. These risk assessments incorporate geographic risk indicators from reputable sources, risks from supplier operations and production, and the supplier relationship to Cisco.

The results of these assessments inform the selection of supplier sites at which Cisco will conduct deeper investigation through onsite audits or surveys. If suppliers are found to be nonconformant to our policies, we will engage them to correct all issues through Corrective Action Plans.

Cisco also prioritizes and acts on adverse supply chain risks based on their severity and likelihood of occurrence across the supply chain. For example, we create regional action plans based on geographic risk prevalence or commodity-focused strategies based on operational risk. Cisco also analyzes nonconformances from audits and other assessments and then creates trainings to ensure suppliers can prevent or mitigate the most likely or frequent risks.

In addition to our annual risk assessment of all sites, we assess new suppliers or new supplier sites, including from acquisitions. If risks are identified, we follow up to determine if these need to be addressed prior to scaling business with the supplier. Examples of risks that we vet for are:

  • Employment of foreign migrant workers
  • Employment of workers under the age of 18
  • Any open critical Code nonconformances in the suppliers' most recent Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) audit
  • Existing pollution violations

Cease, prevent, and mitigate adverse impacts

Cisco uses multiple strategies to prevent, cease, or mitigate supply chain risks. There are five main levers Cisco employs—some on their own, some in concert with others—when dealing with human rights or environmental noncompliance.

  • Supplier capability-building: We aim to give suppliers and site workers a baseline set of skills to address social and environmental risks and promote best practices. For example, in fiscal 2022 we delivered trainings, among others, on responsible recruitment, health and safety, worker engagement, water conservation, greenhouse gas reporting, and goal setting.
  • Supplier accountability: If a supplier is nonconformant with our policies, we require Corrective Action Plans and monitor to their closure. Supply chain management is routinely informed of suppliers' performance on these plans and holds suppliers accountable to make progress. When we lack leverage to drive resolution, Cisco collaborates with industry peers to foster collective action. If a supplier fails to make efforts to improve, we may stop awarding new business, and, when warranted, terminate the relationship.

    We use supplier scorecards to help measure and manage suppliers' conformance to Cisco's environmental and human rights requirements. Scorecards inform sourcing decisions and are discussed with suppliers during business reviews. Scorecards also factor into Cisco's supply chain business processes for sourcing and procurement decisions. Having sustainability metrics reported alongside cost, quality, and service delivery allows procurement managers to make informed decisions when awarding business to suppliers. The sustainability portion of the scorecard includes:
    • Conflict minerals reporting and sourcing of minerals in compliance with our policy
    • RBA Audit completion and timely closure of Corrective Action Plans
    • Protection of vulnerable workers, such as foreign migrant workers and young workers
    • Pollution prevention activities and Environment Health and Safety certifications
    • Greenhouse gas, water, and waste reporting
    • Public reporting to the GRI standard
  • Industry collaboration: Cisco believes cross-industry collaboration is key to ensuring suppliers have clear, consistent, and attainable standards. In presenting a united front, industry can work collectively to help suppliers make necessary improvements. Cisco is an active participant in the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), of which it was a founding member, the Responsible Labor Initiative (RLI), the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), and the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM). Cisco also partners with the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), CDP, and Alliance for Water Stewardship. Learn more about the stakeholders we engage with to drive impact.
  • Rightsholder engagement: Cisco wants to promote the voices of workers in our suppliers' factories and people in surrounding communities. This includes worker interviews and programs to promote worker-management collaboration and communication in supplier factories. We also support engagement of communities surrounding our supplier sites on environmental issues and work through multistakeholder partnerships to benefit mining communities. In fiscal 2022, Cisco's supply chain team held internal workshops to strengthen our focus on vulnerable groups and rightsholder consultation, ultimately helping us prioritize actions for the coming year. This, coupled with a supply chain Human Rights Impact Assessment planned for fiscal 2023 incorporating worker interviews, will put rightsholders front and center in Cisco's sustainability strategy.
  • Remediation: Cisco aims to provide affected rightsholders access to remediation, where appropriate. For example, if workers in a supplier site have paid recruitment fees, Cisco will work with all involved parties, from the supplier to the affected workers, and even leverage industry partnerships, to help facilitate the repayment of fees to workers.

Cisco works to ensure data and information gleaned from the above efforts influence ongoing strategic and programmatic decisions.

Track implementation and results, use lessons learned to improve due diligence

Cisco uses multiple key performance indicators to track implementation and outcomes for our risk mitigation efforts. Our approach to creating key performance indicators for risk measurement focuses on visibility (audits, surveys, or reports that assess supplier conformance to our policies), performance (whether suppliers meet Cisco's requirements), and change (metrics showing Cisco's impact on supplier behavior). For example, Cisco tracks and reports the number of audits performed as well as key nonconformances identified by country. In addition, we track suppliers' performance on audits to determine who demonstrates strong conformance and who requires further capability to make effective corrective actions. When corrective actions are needed, we monitor to closure and track if the improved performance is sustained over time. We leverage this approach across our programming to drive continuous improvement of our programs and supplier performance.

In addition to tracking performance of the supplier level, Cisco analyzes these data for insights to inform ongoing strategic and programmatic decisions, such as capability-building, engagement with stakeholders, and program strategies. This ability to digest and reflect on due diligence efforts creates a positive feedback loop whereby we can continue to improve our initiatives.

Cisco Champions of Sustainability

Champions of Sustainability

Cisco's employees are important to advancing sustainable and ethical practices in our procurement and supply chain. Each quarter, we recognize Champions of Sustainability–individuals who have proudly integrated our sustainability and circularity goals into their daily responsibilities. Read their stories on our website.


No due diligence effort is complete without communicating to key internal and external stakeholders about successes, challenges, and ongoing issues. As a public company operating in multiple jurisdictions, Cisco complies with disclosing our efforts in the supply chains space pursuant to applicable regulatory requirements. We publicly report our efforts here, the ESG Hub, and in our annual Purpose Report, as well as our annual Statement on the Prevention of Slavery and Human Trafficking, Conflict Minerals Report, and CDP reports on greenhouse gas and water.

Cisco's manufacturing, logistics, and global repair sites

Manufacturing sites

  • Sorocaba, Brazil
  • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Juarez, Mexico
  • Houston, Texas, USA
  • Austin, Texas, USA
  • Pardubice, Czech Republic
  • Zhuhai, China
  • Shenzhen, China
  • Bayan Lepas, Malaysia
  • Khlong Luang, Thailand
  • Chonburi, Thailand
  • Bac Giang, Vietnam
  • Carlsbad, California, USA

Logistics sites

  • Juarez, Mexico
  • Venray, Netherlands
  • Hong Kong

Global repair sites

  • Austin, Texas, USA
  • Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  • Szombathely, Hungary
  • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Sorocaba, Brazil
  • Zoetermeer, Netherlands
  • Shenzhen, China
  • Zhuhai China,
  • Klong Luang, Thailand
  • Chonburi, Thailand
  • Bangalore, India

Supply chain sustainability due diligence process

Step 1: Embed responsible business conduct into policies and management systems

  • Establish and communicate policies
  • Embed in supplier contracts
  • Exercise governance
  • Train supply chain employees

Step 2: Identify and assess actual and potential adverse impacts

  • Risk assessments
  • Audits and assessments
  • Prioritization of impacts
  • Alignment of sustainability strategy and business strategy

Step 3: Cease, prevent, and mitigate adverse impacts

  • Capability-building
  • Scorecards and accountability
  • Corrective Action Plans and closure
  • Industry collaboration
  • Consultation with rightsholders
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships
  • Assessment of Cisco's role in impacts

Step 4: Track results, use lessons learned to improve programs

  • Key Performance indicators
  • Identify improvements to programs

Step 5: Communicate

  • Public reporting
  • Report to supply chain teams on suppliers' performance
  • Champions of sustainability

Step 6: Remediate identified adverse impacts

*Based on the OECD Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct