Fixing large issues requires considering 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 essential to me. Scientific proof reveals 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 are going to 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 exhausting, it’s as a result of it will likely be. However the science says it’s potential, if we act now and with urgency.
That’s the reason one yr in the past, Cisco dedicated to reaching web zero greenhouse fuel emissions throughout its worth chain by 2040. After we set our web zero purpose, we aimed excessive. We didn’t essentially understand how we’d get there, however we knew this was the one option to make progress: by being formidable, placing the fitting individuals in place, innovating collectively and trusting science.
The science behind web zero and the journey it’s going to take to realize it are each complicated and evolving. However the cause for doing it’s easy: our future relies on it.
I’m happy to share with you a few of the developments round our web zero purpose within the final yr.
In July 2022, Cisco’s 2040 web zero purpose was authorized by the Science Based mostly Targets initiative (SBTi) underneath its Internet-Zero Customary. The SBTi Internet-Zero Customary is the world’s first framework for company web zero goal setting consistent with local weather science.
To earn SBTi validation, firms are required to scale back their emissions by a minimum of 90%. This requirement means we will’t merely depend on carbon offsets to realize our purpose. Having SBTi validation indicators 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 web zero: it’s a state the place no incremental greenhouse gases are added to the ambiance. Firms can obtain web zero by means of a mix of lowering their greenhouse fuel emissions and neutralizing any remaining GHG emissions by eradicating (sequestering) an equal quantity from the ambiance (also known as utilizing offsets).
Firms with SBTI validation can use offsets for not more than 10% of their emissions discount. Which means we should focus the majority of our efforts on deep emissions reductions over neutralizing – which is the scientifically sound option 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 means of public reporting. We revealed our first Company Citizenship Report in 2005, and we proceed to report our emissions information yearly in our Objective Report and our ESG Reporting Hub (ESG = environmental, social and governance). We do that in order that our prospects, staff, buyers, and others may be assured that what we are saying is actual. And we regularly 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 nicely. For instance, in the USA, the Securities and Trade Fee (SEC) is contemplating new necessities for the way public firms 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 consider having standardized local weather disclosure necessities gives buyers and others with extra clear, constant, comparable, and decision-useful data.
Cisco just lately employed a controller to focus solely on ESG, and we’ve 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 wish 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 chargeable for roughly 23 million tons of carbon dioxide equal (CO2e) in fiscal yr 2021. That’s solely about 0.0006 p.c of complete international greenhouse fuel emissions (primarily based on 2021 IEA information), however it’s nonetheless critically essential for us to scale back our personal emissions as a lot as potential. In doing so, we will have an excellent greater impression by enabling our prospects and others to do the identical.
For instance, lowering the power consumption of our merchandise lowers Cisco’s Scope 3 emissions, but additionally helps our prospects scale back their Scope 2 emissions. In the event you’re not accustomed to scopes of emissions, you may find out about them from this Greenhouse Fuel Protocol picture, or see our definitions on the backside of this weblog.
Rising the quantity of power generated from renewable sources like wind and photo voltaic (“greening the grid”) is one other crucial. In line with the newest Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) report, “limiting warming to 2°C or 1.5°C would require substantial power system modifications over the following 30 years. This contains lowered fossil gasoline consumption” and “elevated manufacturing from low- and zero-carbon power sources…”
Our merchandise and options may also help utility firms shift to a extra low-carbon mannequin. For instance, we’ve labored with Enel, Italy’s largest power supplier, to create a better, extra energy-efficient energy grid. Utilizing Cisco know-how, Enel can monitor its power grid and preemptively handle any faults or failures that threaten the community, and extra successfully hook up with renewable power sources.
And our efforts to extend our personal use of renewable power during the last 15 years can even assist to speed up the deployment of renewable power techniques around the globe. How? As a result of longer-term, multi-year renewable power agreements present worthwhile funding for power suppliers, making it extra aggressive with conventionally produced energy, and make sure that the power will likely be bought over a sure time period.
For instance, to extend the quantity of renewable power 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.
By way of our investments and management, we hope to speed up the adoption of renewable power and encourage different firms to spend money on renewables as nicely.
All informed, we’ve a number of multi-year renewable power energy buy agreements (PPAs) around the globe that collectively produce greater than 300,000 megawatt hours per yr. We’re actively pursuing further PPAs and count on to extend the quantity of renewable power we buy by means of PPAs and long-term renewable power agreements over the following few years.
Making the journey collectively
We may even co-innovate with our prospects, suppliers, companions, and others to develop new enterprise fashions that may dramatically speed up the transition to a low-carbon financial system. We all know that know-how advances quickly, and we need to be able to seize alternatives. It is a time for considering large, and we need to share and collaborate like by no means earlier than. The one method we are going to reverse local weather change is by working collectively and extra overtly sharing practices which might be working and never working, so we will be taught from one another.
Whereas we are going to dream large, we are going to nonetheless stay grounded within the science. And we are going to proceed to evolve our method as extra mechanisms change into accessible. We’ll use actual information to grasp what is absolutely working, what impression we’re having, and if there are any unintended penalties. The extra we all know, the higher we will do.
In the end, it’s not nearly our web zero purpose. 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 financial 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 web zero purpose and naming a Chief Sustainability Officer are essential steps ahead. However they alone will not be sufficient to reverse the impression of local weather change. We nonetheless have far 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 turbines that run on diesel, gasoline utilized in Cisco-owned automobiles.
Scope 2: Emissions from electrical energy we purchase for our operations. For instance, the ability we use in our labs and information 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 devour after we promote them, our suppliers’ power use, transporting our merchandise, and worker commuting of their private automobiles.