Cisco And …Business, Sustainability And Diversity

One of the things that caught my eye this month was that Cisco ranked 1st in Barron’s sustainability study. They ranked 3rd in Corporate Knights’ similar ranking announced in 2017, they dropped to 7th in 2018 but still are the top ranked US company in that world ranking. It is also fascinating that while Barron’s report had several tech companies in the top 10, Corporate Knights was far more diverse and, other than being in the top 10 in both, there was little additional correlation between the reports. One reason for this is that the Corporate Knights report looks at companies internationally, but Barron’s only looks at the US, but even taking that into account, it is fascinating that only , as a tech company ranked highly in both reports.

What I also think is fascinating is that both reports look at far more than what we normally group under . In both cases the judging organizations also look at , management competence and performance, and other items that we more normally connect with good governance than we typically connect with sustainability.

But, I think, this approach is right because sustainability makes no real sense if the company is poorly run, inefficient or unlikely to survive. Sustainability should not only mean strong ecological focus and execution, but strong execution in general operations because, if the firm doesn’t survive then neither will their environmental efforts. More importantly, firms emulate other successful firms, and being both successful and good for the environment should create a multiplicative impact on the market as other firms emulate Cisco for economic benefit. The message is that Cisco isn’t successful despite their sustainability and diversity focus, but because of it.

Let’s look at a couple interesting aspects of Cisco’s focus and recognition.

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NOTE: This column was originally published in the .

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