ORLANDO, Fla., Tues., June 24, 2008 - As part of an ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility, Cisco today announced that it has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its worldwide operations by 25 percent over the next four years, reaching its goal in absolute terms by 2012. The company will deploy a unique multiprong approach focused on the power of technology to meet its objectives and to demonstrate how customers can do the same.
Cisco® Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Chambers outlined the plan at Cisco Live!, the company's annual information technology (IT) and communications conference. In his keynote speech, Chambers discussed the transformative effect that IT can have on the world's environmental challenges and demonstrated Cisco's commitment to sustainability in its operations, culture, products and customer solutions.
"Every corporation has a responsibility to help address climate change and to minimize the impact of its operations on the environment," Chambers said. "Cisco is approaching this challenge not only by curbing our own company's greenhouse gas emissions but also by taking advantage of the power of networking technology to better manage our environmental concerns. By deploying innovative information technology solutions and using the network as a platform for 21st-century environmental management, we believe we can significantly alter our greenhouse gas footprint and help our customers meet their sustainability goals."
Cisco is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders program, an industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies. Over the last six months, Cisco has worked with the EPA as well as other parties such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and sustainability consulting firm DOMANI to assess its worldwide GHG footprint, validate its metrics and establish aggressive, achievable goals. In calendar year 2007, Cisco's gross GHG footprint was 832,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2e). This footprint includes emissions from Cisco's globally owned and leased facilities, vehicles and its airline travel. Based upon the EPA Climate Leaders protocol, this figure is becomes net 724,000 metric tons of CO2e. With today's announcement, Cisco aims to reduce its GHG emissions by 2012 to a net footprint of 543,000 metric tons of CO2e.
"By setting a long-term greenhouse gas reduction goal and committing to reducing its footprint, Cisco is demonstrating corporate climate change leadership," said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.
Reducing the Impact of Operations
In his speech today, Chambers outlined Cisco's approach for achieving a 25 percent absolute reduction in GHG emissions by 2012. In its labs and data centers, which account for a significant percentage of Cisco's energy use, the company will deploy a variety of techniques. These include taking detailed measurements of energy flows, utilizing more efficient lab equipment, using the "virtual network" to store data, adding smart power-distribution units that automatically shut down machines not in use, and upgrading building mechanical and electrical systems. Cisco will also increase its use of collaboration technologies such as Cisco TelePresence and the Cisco WebEx suite of tools to reduce the need for business travel, which accounts for 27 percent of Cisco's GHG footprint. As part of its commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, Cisco has already decreased emissions from air travel by at least 10 percent per employee. Finally, Cisco will deploy its Cisco Connected Workspace solution in additional locations. This unique hybrid office environment is up and running at sites around the world, including Cisco's San Jose, Calif. headquarters, where it has significantly reduced electrical demand per employee in the impacted areas.
Cisco will also use network-based IT to reduce energy use in its facilities and operate its owned and leased space more efficiently. Cisco is currently piloting a software solution in the United States to model the impact of various factors on carbon footprint, waste reduction targets and other goals. This tool is allowing Cisco to take into account the rising cost of energy and to forecast how it will affect operations and expenditures, as well as to model how certain practices can reduce energy use.
"By employing an intelligent, Internet protocol-enabled building management system, Cisco is creating a model of 21st-century, network-based environmental accounting that will allow us to better manage and report progress on our commitment," said Laura Ipsen, co-chair of Cisco's EcoBoard and Senior Vice President of Cisco Global Policy and Government Affairs.
Finally, Cisco is incorporating environmental standards into new site design and existing site retrofits and purchasing variable amounts of renewable energy to supplement its operational efforts. In 2008, Cisco is expected to acquire approximately 460 million kWh of renewable energy worldwide. Cisco is also part of the EPA's Green Power Partnership, which ranks Cisco as No. 8 on its list of top 25 national purchasers of green power.
Cisco will report on its progress toward meeting these reduction goals each year to the EPA, among other organizations, and by way of its annual Corporate Citizenship report.
Helping Customers Meet Their Environmental Goals
By using networking technology to reduce its own impact on the environment, Cisco is demonstrating its vision of helping customers do the same. As Cisco improves upon the efficiency of its own products and uses technology to reduce its own GHG emissions, it will create IP-enabled best practices and solutions to share with customers.
To help customers manage their energy-consumption challenges, primarily in the data center, Cisco also today announced a public beta launch of a portal called the Efficiency Assurance Program (EAP). This centralized web-based tool will help Cisco customers better analyze power use and establish efficiency benchmarks across facilities and the data center infrastructure. This program will, for the first time, allow users to determine a power cost, utilization rate and CO2 emissions related to their IT operations. Additionally, Cisco's Data Center Efficiency Services help customers identify the appropriate power and cooling infrastructure to support a highly reliable network, while identifying steps to make the infrastructure more accessible, efficient and sustainable.
Cisco expects these and other innovations to exponentially increase the impact of its own GHG-management efforts as new and existing customers use technology as a means by which to manage their environmental footprint. Recent studies by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and GeSI/The Climate Group have supported this multiplier effect. Cisco is a founding member of GeSi, which in a report issued last week projected that specific ICT opportunities identified across most sectors of the economy can lead to emission reductions five times the size of the sector's own footprint, up to 7.8 Gt carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), or 15% of total BAU emissions by 2020.