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Environmental Goals

Cisco is committed to understanding the ESG topics that are most important to our stakeholders, and continuously assesses our strategy and commitments to reflect internal and external prioritization. We have set a number of public goals that reflect our environmental priorities and help hold us accountable to consistent progress. Our public goals are accompanied by strong ESG governance.

Governance of environmental topics

Three executives sponsor our environmental sustainability initiatives. This structure reflects the multipronged nature of the issue affecting operations, extended operations (supply chain), and our products.

  • The Chief People, Policy, and Purpose Officer is the executive sponsor for all initiatives impacting operations, including Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction, renewable energy, and our response to the annual CDP climate change questionnaire.
  • The Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Operations is the sponsor of initiatives related to circular economy and supply chain sustainability.
  • The Senior Vice President, Hardware Engineering, along with two Cisco Fellows, sponsors product power architecture and product energy-efficiency efforts.

The table below lists Cisco’s active environmental goals in chronological order.

Links in the table’s left-hand column direct to Cisco blog posts announcing each goal. Links in the right-hand column direct to other places where we report performance against the goal.

Active Cisco environmental goals
Date goal announced Goal topic Goal FY21 performance
Date Goal announcedSeptember 2017 Goal topicEnergy/GHG Goal
  1. Reduce total Cisco Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions worldwide by 60% absolute by FY22 (FY07 base year).
  2. Use electricity generated from renewable sources for at least 85% of our global electricity by FY22.
FY21 performanceESG Hub: Summary of Scope 1 Table and 2 GHG emissions and Electricity from low-carbon sources (renewables)
Purpose Report 2021 pp. 14 and 83
Date goal announcedSeptember 2018 Goal topicEnergy/GHG GoalImprove large rack-mounted-equipment system power efficiency—as measured from the input power from the facility to the board-mounted ASICs, memory, and other chip devices—from 77% to 87% by FY22 (FY16 base year). FY21 performance85% power efficiency.
Date goal announcedOctober 2018 Goal topicProduct and packaging materials GoalDecrease use of virgin plastic by 20% by FY25 (FY18 base year).1 See Circular Design for details. FY21 performance38% reduction. Goal exceeded and closed out.
Date goal announcedDecember 2018 Goal topicProducts and packaging materials GoalIncorporate circular design principles into 100% of new Cisco products and packaging by FY25.2 See Circular Design for details. FY21 performancePilot year
Date goal announcedJuly 2019 Goal topicProduct and packaging materials Goal
  1. Reduce all foam used in Cisco product packaging by 75%, measured by weight, by FY25 (FY19 base year). See Packaging for details.
  2. Increase product packaging cube efficiency by 50% by FY25 (FY19 base year)3. See Packaging for details.
  3. 70% of Cisco component and manufacturing suppliers by spend achieve a zero-waste diversion rate at one or more sites by FY25.4 See Supply Chain Environmental Stewardship for details.
FY21 performance
  1. 19% reduction
  2. 26% improvement
  3. 27% by spend with at least one certified site
Date goal announcedAugust 2019 Goal topicEnergy/GHG Goal
  1. 80% of Cisco component, manufacturing, and logistics suppliers by spend have a public, absolute GHG emissions reduction target by FY25.5 See Supply Chain Environmental Stewardship for details.
  2. Reduce Cisco supply chain-related Scope 3 GHG emissions by 30% absolute by FY30 (FY19 base year).6 See Scope 3 GHG Emissions for details.
FY21 performance
  1. 38% with targets
  2. 23% improvement7
Date goal announcedSeptember 2021 Goal topicGHG GoalReach net zero greenhouse gas emissions for Scopes 1 and 2 by 2025 (FY19 base year) See Climate Change and Scope1 and 2 Emissions for details. FY21 performanceNew goal. We will start reporting progress in FY22.
Date goal announcedSeptember 2021 Goal topicGHG GoalReach net zero greenhouse gas emissions for Scopes 1, 2, and 3 by 2040 (FY19 base year). See GHG emissions goals for details. FY21 performanceNew goal. We are in the process of refining our methodology for calculating several Scope 3 categories. We will start reporting progress in FY22.

1 The plastics included in this goal make up the majority of Cisco’s use. However, it excludes plastics contained in commodity components sourced from suppliers (such as printed circuit boards). Most of these electronic components require the electrical insulating property provided by plastics. Cisco exceeded the goal as a result of increased use of recycled plastic and COVID-19 impacts, and we continue to explore ways to further reduce virgin plastic use.

2 Fifteen products and ten packaging solutions were included in the pilot. Of these, nine products and three packaging solutions met the threshold for the integration of the Circular Design Principles.

3 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.

4 According to current standard definitions used in certification protocols, “zero waste” diversion is defined as a 90 percent or greater overall diversion of solid, nonhazardous wastes from landfill, incineration (waste-to-energy), and the environment. Diversion methods can include reduction, reuse, recycling, and/or compost.

5 Preferably in line with an approved science-based methodology (applying either a 1.5 or well below 2°C reduction scenario). Includes suppliers that set intensity targets that produce an absolute emissions reduction during the target period.

6 Includes allocated emissions from Cisco’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 manufacturing, component, and warehouse suppliers, and calculated emissions associated with transportation emissions managed and paid for by Cisco. Emissions are allocated based on Cisco’s financial share of the supplier’s reported global Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions. Transportation emissions will be reported as Upstream Transportation and Distribution according to GHG Protocol methodology because they are paid directly by Cisco.

7 Due to standard reporting lag for supply chain emissions, reporting fiscal 2020 data. Significant reduction in emissions related to global supply chain disruptions; emissions expected to increase with supply chain recovery as we continue progress toward fiscal 2030 goal.

This table lists our completed goals with a link and page reference to the Purpose Report corresponding to the target or completion year.

Completed goals
Date Goal Established Goal topic Environment goal Final reporting fiscal year
Date Goal EstablishedSeptember 2006 Goal topicEnergy/GHG GoalClinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to reduce GHG emissions from all Cisco business air travel worldwide by 10% absolute by FY09 (FY06 base year). FY21 performance2009 CSR Report (p. C32)
Date Goal EstablishedJune 2008 Goal topicEnergy/GHG GoalU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Leaders commitment to reduce all Scope 1, Scope 2, and business-air-travel Scope 3 GHG emissions worldwide by 25% absolute by end of CY12 (CY07 base year). FY21 performance2012 CSR Report (p. F14)
Date Goal EstablishedFebruary 2013 Goal topicEnergy/GHG Goal
  1. Reduce total Cisco Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions worldwide by 40% absolute by FY17 (FY07 base year).
  2. Reduce total Cisco business-air-travel Scope 3 GHG emissions worldwide by 40% absolute by FY17 (FY07 base year).
  3. Reduce Cisco’s FY17 net consumption-weighted electricity emission factor to half of the latest International Energy Agency (IEA) world average emission factor publicly available before the end of FY17.
  4. Reduce total Cisco operational energy use per unit of revenue worldwide by 15% by FY17 (FY07 base year).
  5. Use electricity generated from renewable sources for at least 25% of our electricity every year through FY17.
FY21 performance2017 CSR Report (pp. 101, 102, 106, and 108)
Date Goal EstablishedJune 2016 Goal topicEnergy/GHG GoalAvoid 1 million metric tonne cumulative of GHG emissions in our supply chain from FY12 to FY20. FY21 performance2019 CSR Report (pp. 135, 142, 150, 152, 169, and 170)

Cisco has also made public environmental commitments that reflect our aspiration and willingness to tackle difficult problems. For example:

  • At Davos in January 2018, CEO Chuck Robbins committed to 100% product return, pledging that Cisco will take back used equipment upon request from any customer, expand tools and incentives to promote that practice, and grow our reuse of equipment through remanufacturing, refurbishment, and repair (Learn more about the PACE Capital Equipment Pledge).
  • At our RTP campus, we are piloting techniques to achieve water neutrality and zero waste.
  • Our recycling partners will maintain a diversion rate to landfill of less than 0.38 percent by weight of all material received.

Cisco’s publicly stated environmental goals align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Learn more here.