Employee Volunteers Initiate Creative CSR Activities in France
Cisco France has always had a special interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We want to contribute to our country’s main economical and societal challenges. And we want to do it by using our expertise in network technology and our energy.
As everywhere, France faces many social, economic, and environmental issues. Let’s state a few:
- A 22% youth unemployment rate, near to the highest in French history
- A shortage of IT professionals, by 2020 there should be 87 000 potential vacancies for ICT practitioners
- Too few women employed in the IT sector – only 20% of IT engineers are women
- A troubling decrease in biodiversity
Under the impulse of several Cisco employees, a team of volunteers came together to lead local projects. Five years later, the team is structured with a strategy, leaders, a coordinator, and an executive sponsor. We also aim to give our colleagues an additional reason to come and work every day: to contribute to a better world.
As you’ll see on the video, we’ve decided to focus on five areas:
- Inclusion and diversity
- Local sustainability activities
- Community involvement and solidarity
- Training and employability
- Innovation and access to technologies
And we are proud to say, all the CSR activities are led by volunteers.
From a society perspective, and among all the great projects this fiscal year, let’s highlight “Le Défi Cisco,” a student entrepreneurial challenge for social innovation. This project is the perfect example of our employee’s creativity and willingness to work in favor of our community. It has entirely been designed and led by Cisco employees. Starting from scratch, the team wanted to stimulate the French student’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. We designed a contest that could enable talented young people to make their innovative social idea come true, thanks to mentoring and donations of cash and materials. The team’s efforts were highly rewarded by the discovery of the Handisco project – but that’s already in another post!
The Cisco Networking Academy program launched in France in 2001, and over 100 000 persons have been trained in IT skills. This year, we publicly committed to train 100 000 more in next 4 years.
Our team also partners with local nonprofits to help the unemployed prepare for job interviews, or to collect funds and in-kind donation for those who are most in need.
Another meaningful accomplishment, from an inclusion perspective, is a 3-year agreement with the French government to help disabled people find jobs. The agreement focuses on 3 major topics: improving our actions to help disabled persons to stay employed, recruitment, and increasing our collaboration with the adapted sector in our region.
Lastly, our Connected Bees team keeps on taking care of 3 hives on the office roof-top and has harvested 70 kilos of sweet honey that our sales team offers to our customers and partners. Beyond the immediate benefit of fostering the local bee population, the program has raised funds for charity and is evaluating new ideas for using Cisco technology to help scientific research on bees. Also, the Connected Bees idea has spread to other Cisco locations such as Amsterdam and Reading, U.K.
We are proud of our CSR activities in France and their potential to have a positive impact on people, communities, and the planet. Learn more about CSR at Cisco.