Tae Yoo, Cisco’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs on Cisco’s CSR Philosophy

Jan 3, 2020 3:20 PM ET

The following is an excerpt from Cisco’s 2019 CSR report

Tae Yoo leads Cisco’s social investments and stewards CSR and sustainability across the business. She directs Cisco’s business, technical, and financial assets to accelerate global problem solving to positively impact people, society, and the planet.

Q: How would you describe Cisco’s CSR and social impact philosophy?

A: It all goes back to our purpose: to build bridges between hope and possibility. Creating new possibilities for people, society, and the planet requires Cisco to take a holistic approach where CSR and social impact are integrated across the business. We use the power of our technology and the expertise of our employees to accelerate global problem solving and advance social and environmental benefits. Some CSR priorities are owned by various business functions; others are championed by Corporate Affairs. All are integrated into ongoing business strategy and long-range planning, focused on the programs and partnerships with the greatest potential for impact.

Q: CSR has emerged as a top priority for many organizations and their stakeholders. How has this affected Cisco’s CSR and social impact strategy and programs?

A: The good news is that for Cisco, it doesn’t change much. We’ve always been about doing good and driving impact. It’s part of our culture and woven into all we do. In 1997 we launched Cisco Networking Academy, the world’s largest and longest-running CSR education program, and we set our first GHG emissions reduction goal in 2006. We’ve learned and evolved over the years, including in how we communicate. There’s more interest in our CSR and social impact work now—from investors, customers, current and prospective employees, and beyond. Today, we’re using data and storytelling to connect the dots between actions and impact for our stakeholders, and to inspire them and others to help solve global problems.

Q: Cisco has made significant progress towards our ambitious goal of positively impacting 1 billion people with digital solutions by 2025. Cisco takes measurement seriously and in FY19, reassessed how we’re evaluating our progress. Can you share what’s changed this year?

A: With more data available and accessible to both our partners and Cisco, we advanced and refined our reporting methodology to a more conservative approach. For consistency in reporting, we have recast the prior period numbers to conform to the revised methodology. Under the revised methodology, the number of people positively impacted for FY16, FY17, and FY18 are 118 million, 100 million, and 123 million, respectively. In addition, we are pursuing an external limited assurance of the cumulative-to-date number. Through these efforts, we aim to provide our stakeholders with an even deeper level of transparency of the impact we’re making through our partnerships. Today, we are excited to report that we impacted 128 million people in FY19, for a cumulative impact of 469 million (47 percent of our 2025 goal), with great anticipation that we will achieve—and hopefully exceed— our 1 billion goal.

Click here to explore the full Cisco 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Report