Sir David Attenborough has always been one of my heroes, and as an avid follower of his work, I’ve become only too aware that more and more, species are pushed to the brink of extinction, as people are threatened by pollution and climate change. It’s a crisis that demands action — with collective efforts spanning public and private sectors, and groundbreaking digital innovation.
That’s why I was so excited to see Cisco as a proud partner of COP-26 where Sir David Attenborough was a People’s Advocate. This critical U.N. climate conference, held in Glasgow earlier this autumn, may have fallen short of the best hopes for comprehensive, international climate agreements. But it still represented important progress — progress that I believe we can build on in 2022, leading to COP-27.
Reaching milestones by design
At Cisco, sustainability is core to everything we do. It’s built into every design decision and product, and it’s a key element of our core purpose as an organization — powering an inclusive future for all.
From our perspective, sustainability and climate change are intertwined with many of the other big challenges facing the world today, everything from the refugee crisis and the digital divide to gaps in education, healthcare, and opportunity. After all, it’s often the most vulnerable people on our planet who are impacted by climate-related events like droughts, storms, and floods. And many of those same populations lack connectivity — limiting their access to opportunity.
The ambitious goals we have set for ourselves reflect this overarching commitment. Our 2021 Cisco Purpose Report lays out net-zero targets for scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gases by 2025, and scope 3 by 2040. This builds on the progress we have attained already. In 2021, for example, we reached a 60 percent reduction in scope 1 and 2 gases, meeting our goal for FY22; and 85 percent of our energy came from renewable sources, also reaching our FY22 goals a year early.
Every milestone on the road to Net Zero is one worth celebrating, especially when it comes a year ahead of schedule!
Circular design principles are also at the heart of everything we do, and our latest innovations reflect these principles. This year, Cisco launched the M6 generation of Unified Computing System (UCS) and HX data center server products with a new zone-based cooling feature. Zone-based cooling allows the chassis to provide targeted airflow while leaving the other zones at the lower fan speeds. Combined with other innovations, it can reduce the system’s energy consumption by 11 percent compared to the previous generation. It’s important to be lessening the massive energy demands of data centers around the world to help more efficiently grow connectivity and empower our customers, partners, and suppliers to reach their own sustainability goals.
Enabling sustainability together
It will take all of us to deliver an inclusive and sustainable future. We are working together to support innovative climate solutions to come to the fore across the globe, both within Cisco and across our ecosystem.
In the twin transition to a world that’s both digital and green, tech is a clear driver. It’s great to see our customers leveraging Cisco innovation to enable them to reach their sustainability goals. Deutsche Telekom, with over 246 million mobile customers and 22 million broadband lines were able to use Cisco’s mass-scale routers to deliver optimal secure connections across this vast network and reduce their power consumption by up to 92 percent. That represents a significant contribution towards achieving both Deutsche Telekom’s climate goals and our own.
Another great example is Irish Water. Previously, about 50 percent of treated water was lost due to leakage! But as part of our Country Digital Acceleration program, Cisco installed a smart-water network in the Ballyboden plant in south Dublin, and it is estimated that it could reduce the existing level of leakage by 10 percent and lead to a 3 percent saving in energy use. If a smart water network were to be rolled out across all of Ireland, it would save 668,250 megalitres of water (the equivalent of 267 000 olympic swimming pools worth of water!) lost to leakage every day and 30 000 Euros in operating costs.
No solution to climate change will be possible without a strong commitment to technology innovation. We share this commitment across a broad community, from our membership in the European Green Deal Coalition to the extensive global network of partners we encourage and support. This includes our Environmental Sustainability Certification and the Digital Sustainability Challenge, with cash awards for partners who innovate using Cisco technology. And it extends to the Global Problem Solver Challenge for entrepreneurs, which this year, includes a climate regeneration prize of US$100 000.
The energy and motivation that our core purpose is driving among our current and prospective employees, as well as with customers and partners, gives me hope for the future.
In 2022, I look forward to seeing this momentum accelerate. And for Cisco to continue to be an inspiration for what a large organization can accomplish — on sustainability, the digital divide, and so much more.
- Silicon One, a blazing fast chip for a sustainable world
- Building a network as fast as the future
- Powering a low carbon, zero emissions future for all