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Cisco shows the way in cross-sector partnerships & social value

The power of social value creation through cross-industry collaboration is not to be overlooked. Cisco is a great example in promoting technological solutions with social impact.

Responsible business management and value creation represent the new competitive advantages for those companies who want to be at the edge of innovation.

The business sector recognizes its legitimate responsibilities and the importance of contributing to a sustainable growth and therefore many corporations are investing more and more in a healthier future for people and the planet through all of their business practices.

Collaborative activities across businesses, governments and civil society are increasing and cross-sector partnerships are addressing social issues and causes around the world as a “new paradigm for business and social sector, that eliminates barriers between the sectors while preserving their core mission” (Sagawa & Segal, 1999).

Cross-sector partnerships have huge potential but there are many challenges that do not allow for a smooth and effective collaboration between different industries and sectors (lack of expertise, different priorities and resources, financing, etc.). In order to solve these issues the role of the broker is essential and new social organizations are emerging with the mission to change and improve collaboration between different sectors.

Bridge For Good is an example of such a broker organization that creates social value and has the mission to enhance collaboration between companies and social organizations through CSR initiatives that create shared value. Bridge For Good wants to build collaborative bridges between the profit and non-profit world and offers CSR consultancy services, volunteering/team building initiatives and innovative win-win initiatives that create value for both companies and social organizations.

Responsible management and value creation represent the new competitive advantages for those companies who want to be at the edge of innovation.

One of its initiatives quickly growing is the “social catering”, a simple way for a company to make a social impact through social inclusion. Bridge For Good collaborates with several disability employment centers and offers professional and high quality catering services to companies and institutions.

Each catering represents an opportunity to employ people at risk of exclusion (unemployed women with problematic family situation, people with intellectual disabilities, etc.) and to raise funds for social organizations.

The company makes a social impact by contracting high quality services instead of making donations while supporting sustainable development.

Companies and organizations such asMásMovil , Dow , Impact Hub ,Ecologing and UnltdSpain collaborates with Bridge For Good and have already tested and tasted the social catering while making a social impact.

Another example of social value creation through cross-industry collaboration is given by Cisco as for years they have been promoting technological solutions with social impact.

The American multinational corporation leader in networking solutions, heavily invests in initiatives that make a social impact. In almost every country where the company is present there is the Civic Council team leading the corporate citizenship activities. Cisco has several international partnerships with public institutions and social organizations in order to achieve the same goals: support developing countries with technology, empower women, bring education to people at risk of exclusion, and, as overall, improve life conditions of the most disadvantaged part of society.

In addition to that Cisco is also implementing its technical expertise in innovative solutions that make a positive impact on people’s health and life.

A very recent example is Safety For Food (S4F) , a project launched by the Italian ICT consultancy company Penelope spa and Cisco Italy last December that sees the agro-food industry and the ICT sector going hand on hand for sustainable growth.

Safety For Food is a technology platform aiming to generate a “food safety worldwide database” allowing the entire agri-food industry, authorities and consumers to obtain a complete and transparent product traceability in line with quality and safety international standards.

Safety For Food is an innovative tool able to track and manage more effectively all the food production phases along the entire supply chain and that combines quality food control technologies (tools, parameters, analysis methods) with the most advanced collaboration technologies (diagnostics, tracking, connectivity, communication) for a transparent common database accessible to all supply chain actors. The final aim is to have a digital food ID easily accessible to consumers and organizations that brings innovation and food safety to the market.

These examples shows how cross-sector and cross-industry alliances are bringing innovation to the market while creating a new social value, based not only on profit but on people.