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Circular Economy

Cisco maintains an enterprisewide circular economy program that focuses on designing out waste, extending the life of products and materials, and regenerating natural systems.

We are committed to moving from a linear economy, where products are used and then thrown away, to a circular economy that makes better use of our limited natural resources. Instead of “take-make-dispose," we see products as valuable assets that can be used again and again. This approach is driven by the concept of circular economy, which is based on a few simple principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution from the beginning.
  • Use the products and materials we already have longer.
  • Regenerate natural systems.

Cisco maintains an enterprisewide circular economy program, and focuses on five main impact areas in our strategy:

  • Circular Design: Design products and packaging with circularity in mind (e.g., design for reuse, repair, recycling, and resource efficiency).
  • Circular Operations: Reduce consumption and use renewable sources across our value chain.
  • Circular Consumption: Manage our equipment for multiple lifecycles and deploy new business models to facilitate this approach.
  • Circular Solutions: Shape and pioneer technology solutions and services to enable circular economy value creation for customers.
  • Ecosystem Leadership: Advance a circular economy through industry innovation, collaboration, and public policy.

Circular design

Circular design means designing products and systems that enable reuse, minimize environmental impact, drive innovation, and realize value for our stakeholders. We are designing products and packaging with circularity in mind, aligning to 25 Circular Design Principles organized across five focus areas.

Cisco’s circular design focus areas

Cisco's Circular Design Principles
Focus Area Principle
Focus AreaMaterial use Principle
  • Use recycled instead of virgin materials
  • Use light weighting techniques to minimize material use
  • Remove cosmetic features that do not serve an engineering purpose
Focus AreaStandardize & modularize Principle
  • Design modular subassemblies to enhance repairability and upgradability
  • Use standard modules (main subassemblies) across products
  • Use standard components across products
  • Use standard materials, finishes, and processes
Focus AreaPackaging & accessories Principle
  • Remove accessory items that are not required for a standard configuration
  • Reduce virgin packaging materials used
  • Design products for efficient packaging and transportation
  • Eliminate foam packaging
  • Optimize packaging efficiency with bulk/multipack packaging
Focus AreaSmart energy consumption Principle
  • Increase energy efficiency and reduce the energy consumption of products
  • Reduce product energy use related to temperature control systems
  • Develop scalable energy usage and low power modes
  • Optimize the energy efficiency and energy consumption of the Front End Power (FEP) Supply
Focus AreaDesign for disassembly, reuse, & repair Principle
  • Optimize the design of components for repair, reuse, and replacement
  • Ensure product structure allows for identification and accessibility of valuable components
  • Use homogeneous materials that are compatible for recycling
  • Design batteries to be easily removable, or eliminate batteries altogether
  • Design products to be disassembled using common tools
  • Simplify fastening and joining methods
  • Apply design practices and joining methods that optimize the recovery of plastics at end of life
  • Design metal parts with disassembly in mind
  • Design product to allow for self service data wiping

After launching our Circular Design Principles in fiscal 2020, we prioritized training the design community and further integrated the Principles into standard design tools and requirements. This included developing and releasing a circular design evaluation methodology and tool that will help us track progress toward our goal that 100 percent of new Cisco products and packaging incorporate the Design Principles by 2025. The evaluation methodology was developed with the help of a cross-functional team of leaders from our product design, manufacturing, and service organizations.

In fiscal 2021 we tested the new tool by evaluating to what extent 15 products and 10 packaging solutions, at different stages of new product introduction (NPI) and from across our product portfolio, incorporated our Circular Design Principles. Of those, nine products and three packaging designs met the defined threshold for integration. The pilot included product families that have been collaborating closely with the Circular Economy team on integrating the Principles. Therefore, we believe these results are not representative of the current status of all new products across our portfolio. In the coming year, we will continue to integrate the evaluation tool into our product development processes and expand scoring to additional product families.

As we continue to incorporate Cisco’s Circular Design Principles into all NPI product design and packaging, we are also identifying new opportunities to reduce unwanted or redundant items in shipments and reduce plastic waste. We have expanded our power cord opt-out model to additional products, and in fiscal 2022, we will evaluate where we can provide customers with expanded options for opt-out of accessory kits.

In fiscal 2021, Cisco met our 2025 goal to reduce virgin plastic by 20 percent, and we closed out the goal. We reduced virgin plastics by 38 percent compared to our base year due to an increase in the use of recycled plastic and COVID-19 impacts. We remain focused on reducing use of virgin plastic, facilitating reuse of materials, and increasing the use of recycled plastic by further embedding Cisco’s Circular Design Principles throughout the business. This includes efforts like further eliminating plastic bags where possible for product-configurable options such as external power supply units, and power and accessory cables. We are also considering potential future goals that align with our focus on reducing the use of virgin materials and increasing the use of recycled plastic.

We also made progress toward our commitment to eliminate all paper documentation included in new product shipments by end of calendar year 2021. By eliminating millions of sheets of paper shipped annually alongside the product—in the form of licenses, manuals, and compliance documentation—we reduced our material use, waste, cost, and bottlenecks in the manufacturing process. An additional benefit from reducing paper is that we can optimize the size of packaging, no longer needing to accommodate paper of all sizes along with products. Cisco is also continuing to expand our use of pointer cards, further consolidating compliance documentation and driving additional paper reductions.

Packaging

In an ideal circular economy, there is no such thing as waste. The current reality is that many packaging materials become waste immediately after first use. We are working to remove unnecessary packaging and make what remains reusable and/or easy to recycle. Some common materials used for packaging are difficult to recycle, like foams or expanded polymers, yet they continue to be selected due to their ability to protect products during shipment with strong cushioning. Products that are damaged in transit create additional negative business and environmental impacts, since repairing or replacing a damaged good requires significant resources.

Beyond basic packaging and material requirements, Cisco evaluates four additional aspects of environmental package design:

  • Packaging material optimization: Design a package that adequately protects the product from transport damage or waste while optimizing the volume of material and complying with all relevant environmental regulations.
  • Space efficiency optimization: Design a package that optimizes space/cube efficiency during transport.
  • Multipack evaluation: Design a multipack solution when appropriate for high volume products to reduce the total amount of packaging material.
  • Sustainable materials: Design packaging with recycled content and for recyclability.

In fiscal 2021, we reported 26 percent improvement towards Cisco's 2025 packaging efficiency goal. Packaging efficiency is measured by comparing actual weight to dimensional weight, to determine how well products are packaged to optimize the amount of space used for shipping and storage. Dimensional weight is an industry-standard calculation used to determine the amount of space utilized by a carton or container. It is calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of the carton and dividing by a dimensional factor. The goal is to reduce the gap between the dimensional weight and the actual weight, indicating a reduction in unnecessary excess space.

We also implemented several projects that target key focus areas for sustainable packaging. For example:

  • A 10-pack (multipack) option for the Catalyst IR1101 Rugged Series Router is now available to customers with large orders, providing an estimated material waste reduction savings of 7500 pounds per year of corrugate.
  • The “Box Patch” program was launched to avoid disruption and reduce waste by keeping products and materials in use. The program provides adhesive labels that cover minor cosmetic blemishes on external packaging at distributor sites worldwide. This minimizes corrugate material waste and also avoids the cost, delays, and emissions from additional shipments due to reboxing.
  • The Catalyst IR8140 Heavy Duty Router is the first solution at Cisco to use a fiber-flute material in its packaging suited for heavier products instead of using foam cushioning.
  • The packaging for the Catalyst C9600 Series Line Cards from a Regular Slotted Container (RSC) now uses a Full Overlap (FOL) design, which is estimated to eliminate up to 9000 pounds of corrugated packaging per year by using a new lift table that will facilitate better handling of the products into new packaging from the side instead of top-loading.

Overall, we eliminated 336,000 pounds of corrugate from our total packaging shipped, equivalent to nearly half a million pizza boxes, in fiscal 2021.

Focus areas for sustainable packaging and fulfillment solutions
Category Benefits Initiatives
CategorySecondary product configurable options BenefitsReduce materials, packaging, and shipping costs by providing customers with a way to opt out of receiving cables, brackets, and similar items. InitiativesImplementing initiative to expand the availability of order options such as optimized accessory kits and opt-out ordering for power cables to reduce excess components included with product shipments.
CategoryElectronic delivery of software, licenses, and product documentation BenefitsIncrease dematerialization and operational efficiencies. Reduce CDs, paper, and packaging. Reduce packaging and fulfillment costs. InitiativesThe eDelivery program updates products available for electronic delivery through unique product IDs and/or Cisco Commerce-based electronic fulfillment preferences. “Pointer cards” are used across Cisco product lines to consolidate web links for product and compliance documentation.
CategoryMultipacks BenefitsReduce packaging and shipping costs and increase operational efficiencies and logistical savings by shipping products in multiunit packaging InitiativesVarious products offer a multipack option for customers to choose for large orders. Results in lower amounts of packaging material waste, cost reduction, and increased pallet use efficiency.
CategoryWaste reduction BenefitsReduce amount of packaging being used for Cisco products. InitiativesImproved product testing has led to a reduction in the amount of packaging needed to protect products. Designs have been optimized to reduce corrugate, paper, and foam.
CategoryUse of recycled materials BenefitsReduce the amount of new materials required to produce our packaging while diverting waste from landfill. InitiativesSourcing alternative materials with recycled content, such as molded fiber, fiber-flute, and thermoform cushions.
CategoryPackaging innovation BenefitsBroaden pathways to sustainable packaging by seeking new materials, methods, and processes. InitiativesHost innovation-focused forums and collaborations with suppliers, distributors, and/or industry professionals to identify new technologies and materials beyond current practices.

Packaging innovation through collaboration

Only 9 percent of the world's plastic is recycled today, and Cisco continues to explore alternatives to plastic-based stretch wrap to stabilize and protect palletized products in transit. In fiscal 2019, we piloted reusable pallet wraps in our operations and continued to use reusable wraps through fiscal 2021. This effort allowed us to avoid the use of 174,490 pounds of plastic wrap over the three years, which is equivalent to 14 million high-density plastic shopping bags. We built on this pilot in fiscal 2021 by joining with Microsoft and nine other companies for an Ellen MacArthur Foundation network project that is exploring three different pathways to eliminate single-use stretch wrap. To learn more about this collaboration, click on "Stretch Wrap Alternative Project" here.

Packaging materials

Generally, our packaging uses corrugate that includes a minimum of 25 percent recycled content. Almost all of our packaging for new products is made either of a single material or of multiple materials that are separable for recycling. In our global market, customer, municipal, and regional recycling practices vary greatly. Customers’ ability to recycle our packaging depends on the recycling facilities in place in their location.

The plastic used in Cisco packaging falls into categories identified by Resin Identification Codes 1 to 7. Polyethylene (codes 2 and 4) is the predominant material. Some plastic components carry labels indicating their plastic recycling code number to support end-of-life recycling. We use thermoformed medium-density polyethylene cushions made from virgin material or from recycled substitutes. When regionally available and technically feasible, we use cushions made from recycled polyethylene. Cisco legacy products, including those produced by our acquired companies, may not incorporate all current packaging best practices. A similar challenge also exists for packaging provided with OEM products that a Cisco supplier delivers directly to a customer.

We strive to use recyclable packaging. However, sometimes this is not possible due to limited options for alternative, sustainable materials. For example, although metallized antistatic bags are not easily recycled, they are essential to the safe transport of products susceptible to damage from electrostatic discharge. We size bags to fit the product being shipped and minimize the amount of material we use. Our contract manufacturers also reuse antistatic bags.

Product packaging end-of-life

Cisco product packaging is designed to be separable and recyclable so it can be absorbed by local packaging material recycling programs. Cisco does not collect used packaging, as shipping empty product packaging to Cisco for recycling would create unnecessary environmental impacts. However, we are exploring reusable packaging options for specific scenarios. One example is using reusable packaging for customers near our distribution sites. This would allow packaging to move between two locations for reuse while minimizing the environmental impact of shipping empty material. Read more about Cisco’s compliance with environmental packaging regulations.

Reducing material waste in our supply chain

Our focus on developing and promoting a circular economy has driven efforts to better understand how materials are consumed upstream in our supply chain. Cisco has committed that 70 percent of Cisco component and manufacturing suppliers by spend will achieve a zero-waste diversion rate at one or more sites by fiscal 2025. Learn more about how we engage our suppliers on zero-waste commitments.

Transportation

Cisco is focused on engaging our component, manufacturing, and logistics suppliers on setting public, absolute GHG emissions reductions targets. Our logistics partners' reductions will enable Cisco to meet our own fiscal 2025 and 2030 goals.

Over 90% of our transportation-related emissions come from air shipments, so this is a key area of focus. Cisco has a Mode Shift initiative that optimizes global factory-to-factory shipments, shifting transportation modes from air to ocean whenever feasible while still meeting customer expectations. This leads to a lower transportation footprint since the greenhouse gas emissions from transporting products by ocean is significantly lower than transporting products by air.

In fiscal 2022, Cisco took new action to improve how we measure and manage our logistics emissions footprint. We interviewed 11 of our logistics partners to learn more about their greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategies, explore opportunities for collaboration, and discuss ways to increase the granularity and specificity of reported emissions data.

In addition to our GHG reduction efforts, we are also working to minimize material waste associated with logistics. For example, at our fulfillment centers in North America, we are utilizing reusable pallets, which are more durable and have a longer lifespan than the wooden pallets they replaced. Since FY19, we have also leveraged reusable pallet wraps as a sustainable alternative to the traditional plastic stretch film. This effort allowed us to avoid the use of 202,953 pounds of plastic wrap from FY19-FY22, which is equivalent to over 16 million high-density plastic shopping bags. Learn more about Cisco’s effort, as well as some other innovative pilots to reduce the use of stretch film.

Product returns, reuse, and recycling

Central to the concept of a circular economy is maintaining assets at their highest and best use for as long as possible.

Cisco has a long-standing commitment, with programs in place for more than two decades, to facilitate product returns for reuse and recycling, to offer comprehensive service and repair, and to remanufacture used equipment for sale through Cisco Refresh. These programs create a second life for equipment, thereby saving the resources required for new manufacturing and reducing waste.

At the World Economic Forum in 2018, our CEO joined forces with the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) in signing the Capital Equipment Pledge, committing to 100 percent product return upon request, at no cost to our customers.

Service programs

The use phase of our products is the first key step as we incorporate our circular economy approach into the lifecycle management of our equipment. Cisco’s Global Service Supply Chain organization delivers and supports customer and partner hardware Return Material Authorizations (RMAs). We are constantly optimizing our network and inventory levels as parts are used, customers deploy new products, and old hardware becomes obsolete. To maximize products’ useful life, we replace, recover, and refurbish equipment and components as necessary through an extensive logistics, warehouse, planning, and repair operations network. Each device is repaired and repeatedly tested to ensure compliance with the latest manufacturing specifications.

Returns Programs

Returns Portal – The Returns Portal is an online destination for customers and partners to find consolidated information for all types of Cisco returns. Some of the returns programs are highlighted below. Please visit the portal for a comprehensive list of options.

Customer and partner programs

  • Takeback Incentive–Takeback Incentive is a Global Partner incentive that motivates Partners to migrate customers to new advanced technologies and return displaced hardware back to Cisco for responsible reuse or recycling.
  • No-cost pickup and return for end-of-use products—There are multiple options for customers to return working equipment to Cisco based on their needs and location, including using the Send IT Back app and the Cisco Returns Portal. For non-working equipment, customers can use Customer Recycling Solutions (CRS), focused on Cisco-branded items and Cisco-acquired company equipment that is ready to be recycled, providing a simple, secure, and sustainable means of returning end-of-use hardware at no cost.

Programs for companies producing or repairing Cisco products

  • Manufacturing Scrap/Reuse Program—The Cisco Manufacturing Scrap/Reuse Program collects and works to redeploy excess, obsolete, or damaged materials from our contract manufacturers, manufacturing partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), original design manufacturers (ODMs), and proprietary component suppliers.
  • Global Scrap—The Global Scrap Program supports the recycling needs of our contracted repair manufacturers and distribution depots.

Internal programs

  • eBin Program—The largest of Cisco’s internal programs is the eBin/Lab Scrap Program. eBins are green plastic rolling bins, or in some cases gaylord boxes, that are placed in labs or Cisco offices around the world to collect orphaned, used, and test equipment for recycling. During fiscal 2021, with limited access to Cisco offices due to the pandemic, employees were able to recycle electronic office equipment at their homes through Cisco’s eBin program by completing a simple form and requesting free pick-up.
  • Cisco DC Server Recycling—The Cisco Data Center Server Recycling Program serves data centers in 11 countries. When a data center no longer needs a server, it is offered to other Cisco data centers for possible reuse. When one of these servers reaches the end of its useful life, it is recycled, and all parts are shredded.
  • Recycle IT Day—We also hold an annual Recycle IT Day for our employees. Cisco employees and contractors can bring their e-scrap from home (both Cisco and non-Cisco products), and we pay to have the materials recycled properly. Any Cisco office location can host a recycling day event. Recycle IT Day usually takes place on or around Earth Day in April. Since Cisco started holding these events in 1995, our employees and contractors have helped recycle 3044 metric tonnes of used electronics. In fiscal 2021, we couldn’t host this annual event due to COVID‑19.

In fiscal 2021 our reuse, resale, and refurbishment rates remained fairly consistent despite a number of factors that impacted product return volumes, and the percent of material sent to landfill continues to decrease. Product returns (in metric tonne) reflect both the overall trend of lightweighting of materials for the electronics industry and COVID-19 impacts, including a significant reduction of internal return and reuse with offices shut down and logistical challenges for our customers and partners in executing returns.

Product return, reuse and recycling
KPI FY19 FY20 FY21 Comments
KPIProduct returns, metric tonnes FY199881 FY2010,523* FY219481 CommentsAll materials sent for harvesting, recycling, and reuse including materials received via a product RMA.
KPIRefurbish, resell, and reuse rate, percent FY1913.14% FY2015.29% FY2114.1% CommentsMaterial returned from customers, stock rotations, or internal sources that is redeployed by Value Recovery and Repo Depot groups to Cisco Service Supply, Cisco Refresh, or internal users to avoid new purchases.
KPIRefurbish, resell, and reuse, metric tonnes FY191298 FY201609 FY211336 CommentsMaterial returned from customers, stock rotations, or internal sources that is redeployed by Value Recovery and Repo Depot groups to Cisco Service Supply, Cisco Refresh, or internal users to avoid new purchases.
KPIRecycle rate, percent FY1986.48% FY2084.55% FY2185.82% CommentsAll remaining electronic waste materials, including plastics, precious, and non-precious metals, that are shredded and recycled by our contracted e-scrap recyclers.
KPIReturned material sent to landfill, percent FY190.38% FY200.16% FY210.08% CommentsLandfill material consists only of nonelectronic waste materials, such as broken pallets, wet cardboard, and shrink wrap accompanying Cisco products returned by customers for recycling.

*The FY20 value for metric tonnes of product returns has been revised due to initial underreporting of FY20 data.

Reuse and Recycling

Reuse is always our first priority. Returned devices that can be reused are remanufactured, refurbished, or repaired, and resold by Cisco Refresh, or used by Cisco Service Operations or our internal labs. Any products that are not reusable are harvested for components and recycled by one of our authorized recyclers.

Alongside our efforts to increase the reuse of equipment, we must also address external barriers to scale these opportunities. We collaborate with peer companies, NGOs, and policymakers to address challenges and unintended consequences, such as the many global classifications of waste for transboundary movement which can impact our ability to repair equipment.

Reuse programs

When products are returned to Cisco, we evaluate the condition and eligibility for reuse. If the product is in usable condition or repairable and there is demand for the product, it undergoes a testing and/or repair process to meet Cisco’s quality standards. Cisco prioritizes data security to ensure data wipe is complete before any product is reused.

  • R2A—Our Return to A-Stock program sends unused products from our distribution centers to be reused by our contracted manufacturing sites. In fiscal 2021, Cisco expanded this program from 10 sites to 12. Returned products that are considered “new-in-box” are sent back to be tested and, if necessary, reconfigured. This allows us to better reuse these products while also improving our ability to satisfy demand for new equipment without new manufacturing.
  • Services—Cisco Services evaluate products returned under service contracts for reparability. Repairable items are delivered to service repair vendors that categorize, repair, and refurbish products as equivalent to new. Once repair is complete, these items are shipped to Service Logistics warehouses, to be supplied as advanced replacement parts to other customers and partners in the event of a Service RMA. Service keeps replacement parts strategically located near its customers to maximize RMA response efficiency and minimize transport emissions.
  • Cisco Refresh—Cisco’s certified remanufactured products are backed by the same Cisco warranty and service options as new products. Equipment is sold through Cisco authorized resellers and is available in more than 70 countries. Inventory includes products from all technology areas, including switching, routing, wireless, IP telephony, security, and other advanced technologies.
  • Repo Depot—The Repo Depot program collects and redistributes lab equipment for Cisco internal use in the United States. Over the last three years (fiscal 2019–2021), Repo Depot has redistributed more than 40,000 items, representing an estimated cost avoidance of US$23 million while diverting approximately 246,000 pounds of equipment from Cisco’s recycling stream.

Recycling programs

Cisco’s overarching goal is to redeploy as much material as possible, which includes recycling and harvesting of commodity components. We currently have two contracted e-scrap recyclers. Each recycler uses both company-owned facilities and subcontracted recyclers to provide global recycling coverage. Cisco’s contracted recyclers are certified to one or more e-scrap-specific recycling standards, such as R2, R2 RIOS, eStewards, and WEEELABEX.

Additionally, our contracts require recyclers to enforce our strict and formally documented recycling processes with any of their subcontractors doing Cisco work. We approve every prospective recycling company and every recycling location before sending any Cisco equipment for processing.

Each contracted recycler provides Cisco with monthly reports showing all cases opened and processed on a lot-by-lot basis. Reports include a mass balance showing the weight as received and the weights of each fractional commodity adding up to the gross weight received. On a quarterly basis, we hold business reviews with the recyclers to review recent results, action items, and upcoming focus areas. We also conduct random site audits of recycling facilities.

After material is received and weighed on a calibrated scale, recyclers review items for possible component harvesting. They may harvest processors, memory, and other hardware with sufficient market value to offset the cost of their harvesting, cleaning, packaging, and resale. Harvested components must be cleared of data in compliance with the NIST 800-88 standard before being available for resale.

After harvesting, the unit proceeds to the recycling process. The recycling process starts with each load of e-scrap being dismantled and sorted into “commodity fractions.” This separates steel, aluminum, cardboard, plastic, wire/cable, and printed circuit boards (PCBs). PCBs are shredded and sorted further before going to a specialized smelter where copper, palladium, silver, and gold are recovered. These metals are then sold on the global metals markets.

All other materials, including any batteries or packaging materials, are sent to downstream recyclers to become raw material inputs for new products.

Countries in which Cisco has product recycling locations

WEEE compliance

Cisco closely monitors developing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation globally and complies with product recycling regulations such as the WEEE Directive and others. Products are labeled with a crossed-out “wheelie bin” symbol to encourage users to reuse or recycle electronics instead of putting them in the trash.

14001 requirements of EOL providers

Cisco’s Global eScrap Management Aspect Test (SMAT) is responsible for setting objectives for all ISO 14001 Cisco offices. These objectives are crafted in line with significant environmental aspects identified by Cisco’s EMS and Environmental Aspect Management process. They drive Cisco’s environmental performance, commitment to pollution prevention, and continual improvement. Beginning in fiscal 2016, our target was to keep the percentage of material sent to landfill after initial processing under 0.48 percent. In fiscal 2019, the SMAT team lowered the objective to 0.38 percent. While we continue to aim for decreased material sent to landfill, we also recognize that Cisco has limited control over the material received at the recycler. Therefore, we expect our landfill percentage to remain consistent annually and will maintain the 0.38 percent objective.

Collaboration

Circular economy initiatives and organizations in which Cisco participates
Organization Engagement areas
OrganizationCDP IT Industry Collaboration Group Engagement areasCisco reports annually to CDP, a not-for-profit organization that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts. Cisco engages with CDP and a group of peer technology companies through the IT Industry Collaboration Group to set clear expectations and provide joint training for our suppliers.
OrganizationCENELEC Engagement areasCisco is actively working with CENELEC, a European standards organization, on standards for circular design.
OrganizationCircular Electronics Partnership (CEP) Engagement areasCisco is an active participant in a multistakeholder collaboration with seven organizations (GeSI, Green Electronics Council, ITU, PACE, Responsible Business Alliance, World Economic Forum, WBSCD) and peer companies to establish a shared vision and roadmap for a circular electronics value chain.
OrganizationDigital Europe Engagement areasCisco is a member of Digital Europe, a trade association representing digitally transforming industries in Europe, leading industry input to the EU ICT impact study and participating in the Sustainable Products Initiative and Digital Product Passport Initiatives.
OrganizationEllen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) Engagement areasCisco was a founding partner of EMF, and we continue to leverage member connections, trainings, and shared learnings as a Member of EMF.
OrganizationETSI Engagement areasCisco actively engages with ETSI, a European Standards Organization that is a recognized standards body dealing with telecommunications, broadcasting, and other electronic communications networks and services. Cisco engages in material efficiency standards related to mandates from the European Commission, and is leading the work on secure data deletion and on energy metrics for servers.
OrganizationInternational Telecommunication Union (ITU) (worldwide) Engagement areasCisco is a contributor to the ITU-T SG5 WP2 Lead Study Group on ICT and climate change. On circular economy aspects, we co-edited the standard “ITU-T L.1023: Assessment method for circular scoring” and are contributing to L.GDSPP (global digital sustainable product passport).
OrganizationPartnership to Reuse, Refill, Replace Single-Use Plastics (PR3) Engagement areasCisco is a technology sponsor of PR3, a cross-industry initiative with the goal of replacing single-use packaging by making reuse systems globally scalable, and economically, socially, and environmentally preferable for consumers and the whole value chain.
OrganizationPlatform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) Capital Equipment Coalition Engagement areasCisco is an active member of the Capital Equipment Coalition, an affiliated project of PACE, which includes nine companies focused on advancing a circular capital equipment industry. Members of the coalition share best practices and capture progress towards company pledges established in 2018.
OrganizationProduct Attribute to Impact Algorithm (PAIA) Engagement areasCisco is part of a multistakeholder consortium of ICT companies using shared industry-standard inputs in the PAIA platform—a joint initiative of MIT and Quantis—that provides a streamlined methodology for ICT product environmental footprinting.
OrganizationResponsible Business Alliance (RBA) Engagement areasCisco is an original founder and full member of the RBA. We collaborate with peers at the RBA to propagate best practices across the industry and supply chain, including those related to circular economy.
OrganizationReverse Logistics Association (RLA) Engagement areasCisco serves on the Advisory Board and is a Diamond member of the RLA, a global trade association for the returns and reverse logistics industry.

Read more about supply chain sustainability initiatives and organizations in which Cisco participates.

Cisco’s circular design principles

Material use: Incorporate recycled content into our products, reduce the use of nonrenewable materials, and consider resource scarcity risks as part of material selection.

Standardization and modularization: Standardize and modularize components and enclosures to simplify our supply chain and enable reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling.

Packaging and accessories: Use recycled and renewable packaging materials, reduce foam and plastic use, move toward fiber-based designs, eliminate unused accessories, and increase packaging efficiency.

Smart energy consumption: Improve product energy efficiency through activity-based power and power management features.

Disassembly, repair, and reuse: Design products with easily separable components that use similar materials to facilitate reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling.