Fixing large issues requires pondering large and setting objectives that appear audacious. Cisco has achieved many daring objectives over its 38-year historical past by counting on sensible individuals, innovation and science.
Now that I’m Cisco’s Chief Sustainability Officer, science has by no means been extra vital to me. Scientific proof exhibits that local weather change is an pressing disaster. If we don’t restrict international temperature rise to lower than 1.5° Celsius in comparison with pre-industrial ranges, we’ll face dramatic penalties. Floods, extra extreme and frequent climate occasions, longer and extra extreme droughts, meals shortages. We’re already seeing proof of those occasions each day within the information.
How can we restrict international temperature rise to 1.5 levels? The world should halve international emissions earlier than 2030 and attain zero emissions by 2050. If that sounds laborious, it’s as a result of will probably be. However the science says it’s attainable, if we act now and with urgency.
That’s the reason one 12 months in the past, Cisco dedicated to reaching internet zero greenhouse fuel emissions throughout its worth chain by 2040. After we set our internet zero aim, we aimed excessive. We didn’t essentially know the way we might get there, however we knew this was the one approach to make progress: by being formidable, placing the appropriate individuals in place, innovating collectively and trusting science.
The science behind internet zero and the journey it’ll take to realize it are each complicated and evolving. However the purpose for doing it’s easy: our future is dependent upon it.
I’m happy to share with you a few of the developments round our internet zero aim within the final 12 months.
In July 2022, Cisco’s 2040 internet zero aim was permitted by the Science Primarily based Targets initiative (SBTi) underneath its Internet-Zero Commonplace. The SBTi Internet-Zero Commonplace is the world’s first framework for company internet zero goal setting consistent with local weather science.
To earn SBTi validation, corporations are required to cut back their emissions by at the least 90%. This requirement means we will’t merely depend on carbon offsets to realize our aim. Having SBTi validation alerts that we’re dedicated to the deep emissions reductions which might be wanted to reverse international warming.
Let me again up for a second and outline internet zero: it’s a state the place no incremental greenhouse gases are added to the environment. Corporations can obtain internet zero by way of a mixture of decreasing their greenhouse fuel emissions and neutralizing any remaining GHG emissions by eradicating (sequestering) an equal quantity from the environment (sometimes called utilizing offsets).
Corporations with SBTI validation can use offsets for not more than 10% of their emissions discount. Because of this we should focus the majority of our efforts on deep emissions reductions over neutralizing – which is the scientifically sound approach to reverse international warming and reduce the impacts of local weather change.
Cisco has a historical past of being open about our objectives and our progress by way of public reporting. We printed our first Company Citizenship Report in 2005, and we proceed to report our emissions knowledge yearly in our Function Report and our ESG Reporting Hub (ESG = environmental, social and governance). We do that in order that our clients, staff, buyers, and others may be assured that what we are saying is actual. And we frequently search for methods to enhance the readability of our reporting and the accuracy with which we calculate our emissions.
There’s a main shift taking place in laws round ESG reporting proper now as properly. For instance, in the USA, the Securities and Change Fee (SEC) is contemplating new necessities for the way public corporations make local weather disclosures. Whether or not the SEC drives and really adopts these guidelines or not, we’re already doing the work to align to them. We imagine having standardized local weather disclosure necessities supplies buyers and others with extra clear, constant, comparable, and decision-useful info.
Cisco just lately employed a controller to focus solely on ESG, and now we have created a working group to assist establish areas to bolster controls; perceive SEC local weather guidelines, anticipated disclosures and different worldwide laws; and develop clear plans to deal with them.
We’re selecting to reinforce our ESG governance as a result of we would like our stakeholders to have a transparent image of our progress, our challenges, and our learnings. We welcome the elevated scrutiny as a result of it pushes us to repeatedly enhance our technique and the way we report on it.
Doing what is sweet for the world
Cisco was accountable for roughly 23 million tons of carbon dioxide equal (CO2e) in fiscal 12 months 2021. That’s solely about 0.0006 p.c of complete international greenhouse fuel emissions (primarily based on 2021 IEA knowledge), however it’s nonetheless critically vital for us to cut back our personal emissions as a lot as attainable. In doing so, we will have a fair larger affect by enabling our clients and others to do the identical.
For instance, decreasing the vitality consumption of our merchandise lowers Cisco’s Scope 3 emissions, but in addition helps our clients scale back their Scope 2 emissions. In case you’re not accustomed to scopes of emissions, you may find out about them from this Greenhouse Gasoline Protocol picture, or see our definitions on the backside of this weblog.
Growing the quantity of vitality generated from renewable sources like wind and photo voltaic (“greening the grid”) is one other crucial. In response to the newest Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) report, “limiting warming to 2°C or 1.5°C would require substantial vitality system modifications over the following 30 years. This consists of decreased fossil gasoline consumption” and “elevated manufacturing from low- and zero-carbon vitality sources…”
Our merchandise and options can assist utility corporations shift to a extra low-carbon mannequin. For instance, now we have labored with Enel, Italy’s largest vitality supplier, to create a better, extra energy-efficient energy grid. Utilizing Cisco expertise, Enel can monitor its vitality grid and preemptively deal with any faults or failures that threaten the community, and extra successfully hook up with renewable vitality sources.
And our efforts to extend our personal use of renewable vitality over the past 15 years may assist to speed up the deployment of renewable vitality techniques around the globe. How? As a result of longer-term, multi-year renewable vitality agreements present useful funding for vitality suppliers, making it extra aggressive with conventionally produced energy, and be certain that the vitality might be bought over a sure time period.
For instance, to extend the quantity of renewable vitality we use in India, we signed two long-term solar energy buy agreements (PPA) in 2018 that ship roughly 85,000 megawatt hours of electrical energy yearly to the grid the place our Bangalore campus is positioned.
Via our investments and management, we hope to speed up the adoption of renewable vitality and encourage different corporations to put money into renewables as properly.
All advised, now we have a number of multi-year renewable vitality energy buy agreements (PPAs) around the globe that collectively produce greater than 300,000 megawatt hours per 12 months. We’re actively pursuing extra PPAs and anticipate to extend the quantity of renewable vitality we buy by way of PPAs and long-term renewable vitality agreements over the following few years.
Making the journey collectively
We may also co-innovate with our clients, suppliers, companions, and others to develop new enterprise fashions that may dramatically speed up the transition to a low-carbon economic system. We all know that expertise advances quickly, and we wish to be able to seize alternatives. It is a time for pondering large, and we wish to share and collaborate like by no means earlier than. The one manner we’ll reverse local weather change is by working collectively and extra overtly sharing practices which might be working and never working, so we will study from one another.
Whereas we’ll dream large, we’ll nonetheless stay grounded within the science. And we’ll proceed to evolve our strategy as extra mechanisms develop into obtainable. We’ll use actual knowledge to know what is actually working, what affect we’re having, and if there are any unintended penalties. The extra we all know, the higher we will do.
Finally, it isn’t nearly our internet zero aim. We should construct ecofriendly companies; promote round enterprise fashions; preserve and restore the well being of our land, oceans, and ecosystems; and create alternatives for individuals to take part within the inexperienced and digital economic system. It’s about serving to to scale local weather options by investing in them now. You possibly can see an instance of this within the Cisco Basis, and the way it has dedicated to investing $100 million over ten years in promising local weather options.
Setting a internet zero aim and naming a Chief Sustainability Officer are vital steps ahead. However they alone usually are not sufficient to reverse the affect of local weather change. We nonetheless have rather more work to do within the years to return, and as our technique grows and evolves, we’re dedicated to sharing the small print – each the accomplishments and challenges – with you.
particulars on our environmental initiatives.
Scopes of emissions
Scope 1: Emissions from fuels we purchase and burn inside our operations. For instance, pure fuel used to warmth our buildings, back-up mills that run on diesel, gasoline utilized in Cisco-owned automobiles.
Scope 2: Emissions from electrical energy we purchase for our operations. For instance, the facility we use in our labs and knowledge facilities to energy our gear and maintain the lights on.
Scope 3: Emissions associated to our enterprise, however that we don’t personal or management. For instance, the electrical energy our merchandise eat after we promote them, our suppliers’ vitality use, transporting our merchandise, and worker commuting of their private automobiles.