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Exclusive: A Conversation with Mary de Wysocki, Chief Sustainability Officer Cisco

Exclusive: A Conversation with Mary de Wysocki, Chief Sustainability Officer Cisco

ESG News Executive Spotlight with Mary de Wysocki, CSO at CISCO
ESG News Executive Spotlight with Mary de Wysocki, CSO at CISCO
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By Michael Fabiano and Matt Bird, April 26, 2024

Mary de Wysocki, Chief Sustainability Officer at Cisco, shares insights into the company’s approach to adaptation, its impactful attributes, and the evolving role of sustainability in today’s business landscape.

De Wysocki attributes Cisco’s remarkable willingness to adapt to a combination of factors. Firstly, she emphasizes the importance of honoring past investments while committing to continuous learning and development. Effective communication of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives is crucial for accelerating adoption across the organization. De Wysocki highlights Cisco’s evolution within the Cisco Foundation and emphasizes networking, both in technology and human connections, as pivotal in driving change.

She identifies Cisco’s early involvement and organizational capacity as key attributes in driving social good. Programs like Cisco Networking Academy and initiatives such as combating homelessness reflect Cisco’s commitment to social impact. The company’s organizational culture, emphasizing accountability and continuous improvement, has been critical to its success. De Wysocki stresses the importance of measuring and communicating impact effectively and highlights collaborative problem-solving through programs like the Country Digital Acceleration program.

Regarding the evolving role of companies in sustainability, de Wysocki emphasizes the need for effective communication to both business stakeholders and the broader public. She discusses Cisco’s journey towards incorporating circular design in all new products and packaging by Cisco’s fiscal year 2025, underscoring the shift towards accountability at all levels for driving meaningful change.

The conversation also delves into incorporating emissions and environmental impact into product information, highlighting the urgency of addressing environmental challenges and the role of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in fostering global collaboration.

De Wysocki addresses the generational gaps in understanding sustainability, stressing the importance of aligning internal and external expectations and leveraging research capabilities to navigate complexities.

Transitioning sustainability goals from aspirational to mandatory requirements introduces challenges but underscores the need for a pragmatic approach. She acknowledges varying levels of reliability and granularity in sustainability metrics but emphasizes the importance of including these metrics in assessments to enhance goal integrity.

De Wysocki identifies areas that have lagged behind in addressing sustainability, emphasizing the need for a fundamental shift in mindset and fostering collective action across communities and industries. She discusses the responsibility of businesses towards conservation efforts and strategies for incentivizing conservation.

In conclusion, de Wysocki acknowledges a significant shift in attitudes towards sustainability, particularly among Generation Z, and underscores the importance of understanding and accommodating these evolving perspectives in driving sustainable solutions.

For a summary of our entire conversation, click here.


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