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Cisco Reduces Net GHG Emissions by 40%

CiscoGHGemissionsCisco has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for scope 1, 2 and 3 by 40 percent compared to fiscal year 2007, by implementing energy-efficiency programs, using collaboration technologies to reduce business air travel, and contractual efforts including the purchase renewable energy, according to the company’s fifth annual corporate social responsibility report (PDF).

The environmental portion (PDF) of Cisco’s CSR report focuses on environmental impact, GHG emissions, product materials content, waste, water supplies and land use/biodiversity.

Here are some of the highlights.

Cisco set a goal to reduce its business air travel GHG emissions worldwide by 10 percent absolute (against a FY2006 baseline) and to reduce all Scope 1, 2, and business air travel Scope 3 GHG emissions worldwide by 25 percent absolute by CY2012 (using CY2007 as a baseline). The company’s focus over FY10 is to use collaboration technologies to continue to manage it emissions and increase its energy-efficiency efforts.

The global networking company increased both its energy and electricity use in FY2009. Energy consumption grew to 1507 GWh in FY09 from 1438 in FY08, while electricity use rose to 1275 GWh from 1203 GWh in FY08. The company purchased 37 percent of its total electricity needs from renewable energy sources in FY09, up from 28 percent in the previous fiscal year.

Because roughly 70 percent of the company’s electricity is used to power equipment in labs, with the balance nearly equally split between data centers and office space, Cisco is working to improve power efficiency in its engineering labs and data centers.

Some of the energy-saving measures the company is implementing include the use of high-efficiency chillers, variable air volume systems, high-efficiency lighting systems, motion sensors, building automation system to control air conditioning and lighting operations and energy-efficient window and glazing systems.

Cisco has also reduced lighting levels in cafeterias, de-energized water fountain pumps, and installed energy-saving vending machines.

Cisco is also making headway in eliminating harmful substances from its products.

As an example, Cisco is eliminating all lead solder from its products by 2014 and has set a target to have substitute materials for brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) by 2011.

Cisco has developed a global closed-loop reverse supply chain that allows the company to recover and reuse or recycle more than 99 percent of its returned electronic equipment in major markets worldwide. In FY09, Cisco reused or recycled all electronics that were returned with only 0.44 percent of materials sent to landfill, which were non-recyclable items such as broken pallets, wet cardboard, and shrink wrap.

Cisco also implemented over 40 improvement projects focused on reducing the environmental impacts of product packaging and its offices and facilities in North America diverted 68 percent of operational waste from landfill in FY09.

Cisco’s total water consumption increased in FY09, which the company attributes to the expansion of its San Jose campus. Water consumption increased to 1,654,030 m3 from 1,570,831 m3 based on data collected from the 11 largest Cisco sites.

The company is implementing several measures to reduce water consumption at its San Jose campus, which includes using recycled water, installing irrigation controls, changing groundcover to reduce the need for watering, and eliminating decorative water features and fountains.

Cisco is also focused on helping its customers reduce their own GHG emissions. As an example, the company launched its Smart Grid business unit to help utility companies optimize power supply and demand. The company also introduced EnergyWise, a technology added to Cisco Catalyst switches that helps customers monitor and control their IP-enabled equipment to reduce energy costs and their carbon footprint.

Click here (video) to find out what Kathy Mulvany, Cisco’s director of sustainable business practices has to say about the company’s CSR report and CSR strategy.

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