How HR Contributes to Sustainability at Cisco and Johnson & Johnson

What makes a company sustainable? Reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency immediately come to mind. But sustainability also extends to the impact companies have on people – their employees and the communities in which they operate. Corporate Knights, “the magazine for clean capitalism,” publishes an annual list of the top 100 sustainable companies around the world. Companies are evaluated against 14 criteria that include the HR-focused areas of employee turnover, leadership diversity, CEO-average employee pay, and pension fund status – in addition to expected criteria such as energy use and carbon emissions. Making the world a better place includes treating workers well, compensating them appropriately, helping them prepare for retirement, and encouraging diversity.

Sustainable values are in increasing demand by job seekers – the Deloitte 2017 Millennial study revealed that 74% of millennials believe that multinational companies have the potential to solve the economic, environmental, and social challenges of the time. Showing how your company is taking strides to make the world a better place will help attract informed candidates who care to apply for your open positions.

Here’s a look at how two U.S.-based companies in the top 10 of the Corporate Knights global list are contributing to sustainability and demonstrating it on Glassdoor.

Cisco Systems

As a manufacturer of networking hardware and telecommunications equipment, Cisco has taken the opportunity to use post-consumer materials in its equipment and reduce packaging. In its fiscal year 2016, the company implemented over 100 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It also launched an internal engagement platform called Cisco Greenhouse, on which employees can learn how to reduce their environmental footprint and inspire others to live more sustainably. In the Corporate Social Responsibility 2016 Report, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins writes, “I truly believe that we are at our best when we combine our business strength with our desire to do good in the world.”


(photo on Glassdoor)

Demonstrating true leadership diversity, Cisco has four women on its board of directors and five women on its executive leadership team. On the benefits front, Cisco offers 401(k) matching of up to 4.5% of pre-tax contributions. But it’s the environmental sustainability efforts that have truly resonated with employees, as this Glassdoor reviewer writes, “In my role, I have learned so much about the importance of Sustainability and how WE need to sever the umbilical cord to Mother Earth. Cisco creates conscious citizens that are culturally responsible and push beyond their wildest imagination.”

Johnson & Johnson

As a maker of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and consumer health products, Johnson & Johnson has the opportunity to demonstrate sustainability in myriad ways. In keeping with its mission, many of the sustainability efforts at J&J are focused on health in underserved communities. Some of its recent employee-driven efforts include a wind farm in Texas, water filtration in India, and sanitary pads for girls in Africa. On a product level, J&J promotes sustainability with its Earthwards products, which aim to use natural ingredients, reduce packaging, reduce energy use in manufacturing, and/or use sustainable materials.

Johnson & Johnson’s diverse board of directors has two women and two African Americans, while its executive team has four women and a diverse group of men. The company runs a $22.3 billion dollar pension plan with five-year vesting for employees.

Ranked #26 on Glassdoor’s 2017 Best Places to Work list, Johnson & Johnson makes liberal use of videos on Glassdoor profile. One video in the “Why Work for Us” section features an employee sharing his passion for the company’s mission to make the lives of people better. The profile also includes a link to the Johnson & Johnson YouTube page, which includes videos about its global health initiatives and giving programs.

Both Johnson & Johnson and Cisco have taken multiple diversity-related pledges on Glassdoor, including the Social Responsibility Pledge and the Diversity Commitment. Candidates can view these pledges in the Benefits section of your Glassdoor Profile. Log in to your Employer Account today and follow these instructions to demonstrate your company’s commitment to sustainability.