Fixing large issues requires pondering large and setting targets that appear audacious. Cisco has achieved many daring targets 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 on daily basis 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 arduous, 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 yr in the past, Cisco dedicated to reaching internet zero greenhouse gasoline emissions throughout its worth chain by 2040. After we set our internet zero objective, we aimed excessive. We didn’t essentially understand how we might get there, however we knew this was the one approach to make progress: by being formidable, placing the best folks in place, innovating collectively and trusting science.
The science behind internet zero and the journey it can take to attain it are each complicated and evolving. However the purpose for doing it’s easy: our future depends upon it.
I’m happy to share with you among the developments round our internet zero objective within the final yr.
In July 2022, Cisco’s 2040 internet zero objective was authorised by the Science Based mostly Targets initiative (SBTi) underneath its Web-Zero Customary. The SBTi Web-Zero Customary is the world’s first framework for company internet zero goal setting in keeping with local weather science.
To earn SBTi validation, firms are required to scale back their emissions by at the least 90%. This requirement means we are able to’t merely depend on carbon offsets to attain our objective. Having SBTi validation indicators that we’re dedicated to the deep emissions reductions which might be wanted to reverse world 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. Firms can obtain internet zero by a mixture of lowering their greenhouse gasoline emissions and neutralizing any remaining GHG emissions by eradicating (sequestering) an equal quantity from the environment (sometimes called utilizing offsets).
Firms with SBTI validation can use offsets for not more than 10% of their emissions discount. Which means that we should focus the majority of our efforts on deep emissions reductions over neutralizing – which is the scientifically sound approach to reverse world warming and reduce the impacts of local weather change.
Cisco has a historical past of being open about our targets and our progress by public reporting. We revealed our first Company Citizenship Report in 2005, and we proceed to report our emissions knowledge yearly in our Objective Report and our ESG Reporting Hub (ESG = environmental, social and governance). We do that in order that our prospects, staff, traders, 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 occurring in rules round ESG reporting proper now as nicely. For instance, in the US, the Securities and Trade Fee (SEC) is contemplating new necessities for a way public firms 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 consider having standardized local weather disclosure necessities supplies traders and others with extra clear, constant, comparable, and decision-useful info.
Cisco just lately employed a controller to focus solely on ESG, and we’ve got created a working group to assist establish areas to bolster controls; perceive SEC local weather guidelines, anticipated disclosures and different worldwide rules; and develop clear plans to deal with them.
We’re selecting to boost 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 yr 2021. That’s solely about 0.0006 p.c of complete world greenhouse gasoline emissions (based mostly on 2021 IEA knowledge), however it’s nonetheless critically essential for us to scale back our personal emissions as a lot as attainable. In doing so, we are able to have a fair greater affect by enabling our prospects and others to do the identical.
For instance, lowering the vitality consumption of our merchandise lowers Cisco’s Scope 3 emissions, but in addition helps our prospects scale back their Scope 2 emissions. If you happen to’re not acquainted with scopes of emissions, you possibly can find out about them from this Greenhouse Fuel Protocol picture, or see our definitions on the backside of this weblog.
Rising the quantity of vitality generated from renewable sources like wind and photo voltaic (“greening the grid”) is one other crucial. Based on 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 contains diminished fossil gas consumption” and “elevated manufacturing from low- and zero-carbon vitality sources…”
Our merchandise and options may also help utility firms shift to a extra low-carbon mannequin. For instance, we’ve got labored with Enel, Italy’s largest vitality supplier, to create a better, extra energy-efficient energy grid. Utilizing Cisco know-how, Enel can monitor its vitality grid and preemptively handle 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 world wide. How? As a result of longer-term, multi-year renewable vitality agreements present helpful funding for vitality suppliers, making it extra aggressive with conventionally produced energy, and be 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.
By our investments and management, we hope to speed up the adoption of renewable vitality and encourage different firms to spend money on renewables as nicely.
All instructed, we’ve got 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 PPAs and long-term renewable vitality agreements over the following few years.
Making the journey collectively
We will 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 economic system. We all know that know-how 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 approach we are going to reverse local weather change is by working collectively and extra brazenly sharing practices which might be working and never working, so we are able to 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 out there. We’ll use actual knowledge to know what is de facto working, what affect we’re having, and if there are any unintended penalties. The extra we all know, the higher we are able to do.
Finally, it’s not nearly our internet zero objective. 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 economic system. It’s about serving to to scale local weather options by investing in them now. You’ll be able to 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 objective and naming a Chief Sustainability Officer are essential steps ahead. However they alone will not be sufficient to reverse the affect 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 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 gasoline 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 knowledge facilities to energy our gear and hold 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 automobiles.