Fixing huge issues requires pondering huge and setting objectives that appear audacious. Cisco has achieved many daring objectives over its 38-year historical past by counting on good folks, innovation and science.
Now that I’m Cisco’s Chief Sustainability Officer, science has by no means been extra essential to me. Scientific proof exhibits that local weather change is an pressing disaster. If we don’t restrict world 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 world temperature rise to 1.5 levels? The world should halve world emissions earlier than 2030 and attain zero emissions by 2050. If that sounds onerous, it’s as a result of it will likely be. However the science says it’s attainable, 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. Once 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 strategy to make progress: by being formidable, placing the fitting folks in place, innovating collectively and trusting science.
The science behind web zero and the journey it would take to attain it are each advanced and evolving. However the purpose for doing it’s easy: our future relies on it.
I’m happy to share with you among the developments round our web zero purpose within the final yr.
In July 2022, Cisco’s 2040 web zero purpose was accepted by the Science Based mostly Targets initiative (SBTi) underneath its Web-Zero Commonplace. The SBTi Web-Zero Commonplace is the world’s first framework for company web zero goal setting in keeping with local weather science.
To earn SBTi validation, corporations are required to cut back their emissions by no less than 90%. This requirement means we will’t merely depend on carbon offsets to attain our purpose. Having SBTi validation alerts that we’re dedicated to the deep emissions reductions which can be wanted to reverse world 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 decreasing 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. Because of this we should focus the majority of our efforts on deep emissions reductions over neutralizing – which is the scientifically sound strategy to reverse world 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 printed 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 will 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 occurring in laws round ESG reporting proper now as properly. For instance, in america, the Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) is contemplating new necessities for a way public corporations make local weather disclosures. Whether or not the SEC drives and actually adopts these guidelines or not, we’re already doing the work to align to them. We imagine having standardized local weather disclosure necessities offers 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 now have created a working group to assist determine 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 boost 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 answerable for roughly 23 million tons of carbon dioxide equal (CO2e) in fiscal yr 2021. That’s solely about 0.0006 % of complete world greenhouse fuel emissions (based mostly on 2021 IEA information), however it’s nonetheless critically essential 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 prospects 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 prospects cut back their Scope 2 emissions. In the event you’re not acquainted with scopes of emissions, you’ll be able to study them from this Greenhouse Fuel 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 keeping with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) report, “limiting warming to 2°C or 1.5°C would require substantial vitality system adjustments over the following 30 years. This consists of diminished fossil gas consumption” and “elevated manufacturing from low- and zero-carbon vitality sources…”
Our merchandise and options might help utility corporations shift to a extra low-carbon mannequin. For instance, we now 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 connect with renewable vitality sources.
And our efforts to extend our personal use of renewable vitality during the last 15 years also can assist to speed up the deployment of renewable vitality techniques world wide. How? As a result of longer-term, multi-year renewable vitality agreements present worthwhile funding for vitality suppliers, making it extra aggressive with conventionally produced energy, and make sure that the vitality can be bought over a sure time frame.
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 situated.
Via our investments and management, we hope to speed up the adoption of renewable vitality and encourage different corporations to spend money on renewables as properly.
All instructed, we now have a number of multi-year renewable vitality energy buy agreements (PPAs) world wide that collectively produce greater than 300,000 megawatt hours per yr. We’re actively pursuing extra PPAs and count on to extend the quantity of renewable vitality we buy by means of PPAs and long-term renewable vitality 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 expertise advances quickly, and we wish to be able to seize alternatives. It is a time for pondering huge, and we wish to share and collaborate like by no means earlier than. The one manner we are going to reverse local weather change is by working collectively and extra overtly sharing practices which can be working and never working, so we will study from one another.
Whereas we are going to dream huge, we are going to nonetheless stay grounded within the science. And we are going to proceed to evolve our method as extra mechanisms turn into obtainable. We’ll use actual information to know what is absolutely 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’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 folks 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 may 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 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 main points – 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 autos.
Scope 2: Emissions from electrical energy we purchase for our operations. For instance, the facility we use in our labs and information facilities to energy our tools and preserve 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’ vitality use, transporting our merchandise, and worker commuting of their private autos.