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Cisco CSR Report: GHG Emissions Down 12%

Cisco has reduced Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operations by 12 percent in fiscal year 2010, while Scope 3 GHG emissions from air travel were 45 percent lower than the 2007 baseline, according to the company’s sixth annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report.

These numbers are in line with the telecommunications giant’s commitment to cut all Scope 1, 2, 3 GHG emissions worldwide by 25 percent absolute by calendar year 2012.

To help reduce its air travel, Cisco has installed more than 800 Cisco TelePresence units in conference rooms, customer briefing centers and individual management offices in over 200 cities in almost 60 countries worldwide. Cisco also used WebEx desktop conferencing that amounted to more than 19 million people-hours in fiscal year 2010.

In addition, nearly 20,000 Cisco employees use Cisco Virtual Office to extend Cisco’s own network into their homes, permitting high speed access to voice, video and data applications and reducing GHG emissions by telecommuting one or more days each week.

In addition to using collaboration solutions and traveling less, Cisco is purchasing electricity from certified low-carbon and renewable sources to cut GHG emissions. These sources made up 27 percent of Cisco’s total energy use in FY2010.

The company also is investing in energy-efficiency measures through a self-sustaining fund established in FY10.

As an example, Cisco is installing smart power distribution units on approximately 12,000 devices at 11 Customer Advocacy Lab Operations sites, where remote shutdown of unused equipment via the network cut energy use by one-third on those devices, saving approximately $1 million in FY10 alone.

Cisco also raised the ambient temperature to 77 deg F in all its research facilities, which saved the company an estimated 10 million kWh and more than $1 million a year in energy needed for cooling.

Cisco also upgraded approximately 29,000 lights at the company’s San Jose campus in California, which saved approximately 5 million kWh and more than $500,000 annually.

The company’s energy conservation measures have cumulatively reduced energy use by 132 million kWh annually at sites worldwide, saving approximately 66,116 metric tonnes of GHG emissions and $13.2 million in energy costs since FY07.

These measures include installing high-efficiency lighting and LED exit signs, retro commissioning HVAC systems, modifying the timing of office and parking lot lights, programming environmental test chambers to automatically shut down when not in use, and removing water fountains and their pumps.

While Cisco has made strides in reducing GHG emissions and energy use, the company’s total FY10 water consumption was 1,492,927 cubic meters, an increase of 2.56 percent from FY09, which the company attributes to more reporting locations, warmer temps in some locations, a change in calculation methodology at its Richardson and Austin sites, and a higher employee count.

Cisco reported in March that its San Jose campus headquarters cut water use by about 42 million gallons annually, or about 10 percent of its total water use.

The company’s complete data inventory for water use represents approximately 68 percent of its employees. Cisco has reduced its absolute water consumption per person at these sites by 0.72 cubic meters, and reduced irrigation water consumption by 46.89 cubic meters, which is a 7.8 percent reduction from FY09.

Cisco says it is working to develop a global water data reporting system in FY10 to better understand water use at the site level.

The company also is working with suppliers to reduce water use in the manufacturing of its products. In FY10, the company completed a conversion that eliminates water washing of printed circuit boards and saved approximately 75 million liters of water.

Cisco’s sites also recycle a host of products including batteries, CDs and diskettes, bottles, cans, cardboard, paper, packaging materials, and toner cartridges.

Waste and recycling goals and progress are reported by 26 major Cisco sites as part of their ISO 14001-certified management system. These sites in North America, representing approximately 43 percent of Cisco employees globally, produced a total of 4659 metrics tonnes of waste in FY10, of which 72 percent was recycled.

The San Jose headquarters recycled 79 percent of its operational waste, exceeding its goal of 75 percent.

In addition, the installation of water purification systems in FY10 has virtually eliminated plastic water bottles from the waste stream at all its sites, following a successful trial in Boxborough, Massachusetts.

In FY10, Cisco also expanded a composting program to recycle food waste, introduced in San Jose, to six other sites in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States, says Cisco.

Employees and contractors at 79 Cisco sites around the world returned more than 190 metric tonnes of e-waste through its annual Recycle IT Day campaign, part of its Earth Day activities.

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