Cisco and Sustainability – Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Darrel Stickler, Cisco Systems, Sustainable Business Practices

In this guest blog, Darrel Stickler shares Cisco's approach to addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Environmental sustainability is increasingly important for Cisco’s stakeholders, employees, customers and partners. 

Recently, Verizon pledged that by 2015, it will focus 40 percent of its overall supplier spending on partners with public GHG reduction targets.  With a longstanding focus on climate change, Cisco is one of the first suppliers meeting Verizon’s GHG criteria.

Cisco Facility Banner

Cisco’s climate change strategy is approached in many layers:

  • Reducing GHG emissions from our own worldwide operations and those of our suppliers.  We use the term "extended operations" for our supply chain to emphasize our responsibility for outsourced activities.
  • Designing energy efficient products and networks
  • Supporting the development of global standards for greenhouse gas accounting and ICT product energy efficiency
  • Promoting the adoption of Cisco solutions that can reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions by demonstrating their effectiveness at Cisco and at our customers

Comprehensive, transparent and public CSR reporting of all facets of our strategy, initiatives and performance.

Reducing GHG emissions from operations requires attention on multiple fronts, for example:

  • In 2012, Cisco successfully completed our first, five-year, GHG-reduction goals. These goals were EPA Climate Leaders commitments to reduce all Scope 1 and 2, as well as business-air-travel Scope 3, GHG emissions worldwide by 25% absolute by calendar year 2012 (CY2007 baseline).
  • In February of this year, we announced our new set of five-year goals. We've extended the 25% absolute reduction to 40%, again with a 2007 baseline. This 3%-per-year additional reduction is consistent with the recent CDP/WWF report, The 3% Solution, and aligns with required reductions outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We included several lower-level goals as a result of stakeholder feedback. More detail is available on the Cisco blog.
  • To address our extended operations (supply chain), we have asked Cisco suppliers, each of the last five years, to report to CDP.  More detail on our efforts working with our suppliers to report to CDP is also available on the Cisco blog. Our supplier reporting performance is provided in Table 12 on page F26 of the Environment chapter of Cisco’s latest CSR Report.

Cisco believes we've built a solid operational foundation, in our own facilities and those of our suppliers, to reduce GHG emissions. Last month, CDP released its assessment of how companies in the FTSE Global 500 and S&P 500 did on CDP’s 2013 carbon investor questionnaire. PricewaterhouseCoopers performed both assessments for CDP using information submitted earlier this year by Cisco and other companies responding to the CDP survey.

Along with six other companies, Cisco tied for the top spot on the Global 500 with a disclosure score of 100 and an “A” performance rating. We were alone in first place in the IT sector. We were also at the top of the U.S.-focused S&P 500 assessment (tied with BNY Mellon and Entergy). “Top” is certainly a great place to be, but I think we take the most pride in being on the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) for six years in a row. For a long-term problem like climate change, consistently high rankings over an extended period are strong evidence of a company’s commitment to improving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions disclosure and performance. More information on CDP and carbon reporting is available on the Cisco blog.

Watch the video to learn about the benefits of Cisco remote collaboration technology in a global economy.  Additional information on the other steps of our climate change strategy is included in our CSR Report.