Cisco has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its worldwide operations by 25 percent over the next four years, reaching its goal in absolute terms by 2012.
Over the last six months, Cisco has worked with the EPA’s Climate Leaders program as well as other parties such as the Environmental Defense Fund and sustainability consulting firm Domani to assess its worldwide GHG footprint and set 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 airline travel. Based upon the EPA Climate Leaders protocol, this figure 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.
Here’s how the company hopes to do it:
In its labs and data centers the company will deploy a variety of techniques that 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 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.
Cisco will also use network-based IT to reduce energy use in its facilities and operate its owned and leased space more efficiently.
Finally, Cisco is incorporating environmental standards into new site design and existing site retrofits and purchasing renewable energy – in 2008, Cisco is expected to acquire approximately 460 million kWh of renewable energy worldwide.
Here’s a video of Laura Ipsen, SVP, Global Policy and Gov’t Affairs, explaining the program in more detail.