Supply Chain Sustainability

For more than two decades, Cisco's vision has been to change the way the world works, lives, plays, and learns. Central to this vision are our efforts to integrate sustainability concerns into all of our business practices.

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Within the Cisco supply chain, this means that we manage every stage in the life cycle of our products with our four pillars of sustainability in mind - labor rights, ethical management, environmental responsibility, and human health and safety.

Since we work with a range of global partners to manufacture, test, ship, return, reuse and recycle more than 95% of our products, effective management requires clear communication of our expectations, close collaboration with our partners and a strong management system to ensure continuous improvement.

To this end, we have created a Sustainability Management Program that includes the following:

  • Guiding Principles that reflect how we embed sustainability into our business practices
  • Supplier Code of Conduct outlining our expectations of how our partners should operate
  • Supplier Assessment and Responsibility Program that defines how we evaluate and engage with our partners; and our focused engagements with suppliers on specific issues to drive continuous improvement
  • Collaboration with industry partners to ensure a common approach

Cisco promotes responsible practices in the wider electronics value chain through industry collaboration. Our participation in the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and other groups enables us to exchange ideas and pool resources with industry peers, respond to stakeholder concerns, and influence the development of industry standards.

Cisco encourages all of its partners to engage with other companies in the industry to ensure that they stay aware of emerging issues and that their programs and processes reflect the best practices and standards available.

For more information about the organizations that we are collaborating and in alignment with the standards:

Industry Collaborations:

Industry Standards:

Cisco has adopted the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition's (EICC) Code of Conduct as our code of conduct for supply chain suppliers.

The Code reflects the basic tenets of responsible management agreed upon by the electronics industry. It is an evolving document that incorporates the feedback of Cisco, its peers, suppliers, customers and outside stakeholders.

Overview of the code:


  • Freely Chosen Employment
  • Child Labor Avoidance
  • Working Hours
  • Wages and Benefits
  • Humane Treatment
  • Non-Discrimination
  • Freedom of Association

Health & Safety

  • Occupational Safety
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Occupational Injury and Illness
  • Industrial Hygiene
  • Physically Demanding Work
  • Machine Safeguarding
  • Sanitation, Food, and Housing


  • Environmental Permits and Reporting
  • Pollution Prevention and Resource Reduction
  • Hazardous Substance
  • Wastewater and Solid Waste
  • Air Emissions
  • Product Content Restrictions


  • Business Integrity
  • No Improper Advantages
  • Disclosure of Information
  • Intellectual Property
  • Fair Business, Advertising and Competition
  • Protection of Identity
  • Responsible Sourcing of Minerals
  • Privacy
  • Non-Retaliation

Management Systems

  • Company Commitment
  • Management Accountability and Responsibility
  • Legal and Costumer Requirements
  • Risk Assessment and Risk Management
  • Improvement Objectives
  • Training
  • Communication
  • Worker Feedback and Participation
  • Audits and Assessments
  • Corrective Action Process
  • Documentation and Records
  • Supplier Responsibility

Our global supply chain partners are required to demonstrate a commitment to Cisco's Guiding Principles by implementing a Sustainability Management System and providing evidence of compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct.

To validate this commitment and ensure collaboration, Cisco has in place a Supplier Assessment Process that includes a series of steps that we can take to evaluate a partner's program, ensure that any sites that manufacture Cisco products or components are fully in alignment and work with any partners that need additional support or guidance.

Cisco Supplier Assessment Process

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Cisco's partners are required to demonstrate and provide evidence on:

  • Commitment and Policy: Supplier's executive management is required to review and commit to our Supplier Code of Conduct. They must also provide evidence that their policy or principles are aligned with both our Guiding Principles and the Code.
  • Sustainability Management System: Suppliers must establish, maintain, and provide evidence of a functional Sustainability Management System that drives continuous improvement in areas of ethics, labor, environment, and health and safety.
  • Self Evaluation and Audits: Suppliers are responsible for assessing their conformance with the tenets of the Code through completion of a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) for all facilities providing Cisco with products or components. The supplier must provide Cisco with access to completed SAQs and, if requested, support a site audit by Cisco or its representative.
  • Key Performance Indicators & Continuous Improvement System: Suppliers must have a system to periodically monitor and measure progress and performance on key sustainability indicators. Suppliers must maintain evidence of a management review process that includes at a minimum, the review of its policies, audit findings, progress to goals, program effectiveness and continuous improvement opportunities.

Cisco is committed to sourcing components and materials from companies that share our values around human rights, ethics and environmental responsibility. We are also committed to sharing our progress on specific issues that our customers, investors, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders are concerned about.

Congo Map

Conflict Minerals

Over the past three years, Cisco been actively involved in industry initiatives focused on eliminating conflict minerals from our supply chain. Recent US legislation that requires companies to certify that their products are "conflict free" has strengthened our efforts, and we continue to be actively involved in the development of a robust, ethical due-diligence process to meet our obligations.

Cisco's Conflict Minerals Policy (PDF)
For customers: Cisco's position and approach (PDF)
For suppliers: Initial guidance and next steps for Cisco suppliers (PDF)


Freely Chosen Employment

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657) is effective January 1, 2012. This law requires large retailers and manufacturers doing business in the state of California with gross worldwide receipts of over 100 million U.S. dollars (USD) to be transparent about the efforts they have undertaken to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in their direct supply chains for tangible goods offered for sale.

As an active member of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), Cisco has adopted the EICC Code of Conduct which prohibits the use of forced, bonded, indentured labor or involuntary prison labor. All work is to be voluntary in the production of Cisco's products and services.

Cisco's position statement

Management Systems

Labor Rights/Diversity/Corporate Citizenship, Efficient use and protection of natural resources, Ethics/Governance, Human health and safety

Cisco Assesment Process

Cisco Assesment Process