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Our operations

We are reducing the environmental impact of our direct operations.

This page covers the environmental footprint at our facilities, buildings, and labs. For information on how we address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste, and water within our supply chain, see Supply Chain Environmental Stewardship.

Real estate sustainability strategy

We are embedding environmental sustainability into our operations by creating and maintaining workplaces that support our employees’ wellbeing and productivity.

Workplace sustainability strategy

Optimize our portfolio for hybrid work.

Increase the sustainability and efficiency of our real estate operations.

Source renewable energy for our global operations.

Engage our stakeholders, including customers and employees, on our sustainability strategy.

Our Global Energy Management and Sustainability (GEMS) team leads energy and sustainability initiatives across Cisco’s 18 million square feet of global real estate. The team has the following primary responsibilities:

  • Managing Cisco’s global annual utility budget and contracts
  • Identifying and implementing demand- and supply-side energy solutions, such as energy efficiency upgrades and onsite renewable energy projects
  • Sourcing renewable energy for our global operations
  • Embedding sustainability and efficiency criteria into our building, lab, and data center design standards
  • Engaging our stakeholders, including customers and employees, on our sustainability strategy

Hybrid work

Cisco is embracing hybrid work by creating an inclusive, flexible work environment where people are empowered and enabled by our technology to contribute from anywhere while also being attentive to their personal needs.

To support this evolved future of work, we’ve reevaluated our global real estate strategy, shifting our focus away from the quantity of sites and seats and toward the quality and location of our facilities. Driven by purpose, we are optimizing our real estate portfolio to free up resources that we can reinvest to modernize our facilities in key locations. This allows us to thoughtfully create spaces that are designed to bring people together for a reason, while accommodating the different ways people want to work when they are in the office. By being prudent about where we are located and why, we can be more intentional about how we design the workplace and what technology we integrate to generate meaningful experiences while also being efficient and responsible with our footprint.

Two such examples are Cisco’s new talent center in Atlanta and our recently renovated product showcase site in New York City. Each site’s experience was designed to match the purpose of the space, elevated with supporting technology and collaboration spaces for people to more seamlessly innovate, collaborate, and connect with one another. These spaces are also outfitted with smart building technology from Cisco and our partners. The technologies, which include automated blinds, Power over Ethernet lights, and integrated environmental sensors, advance both energy efficiency and indoor environmental air quality awareness.

Green building certifications

Sustainable building practices and standards for how we select, design, operate, and maintain our facilities are embedded into our hybrid work strategy. We have integrated green building standards into our real estate since our first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certified building was built in 2009. By the end of fiscal 2023, 35 Cisco facilities were certified by LEED, WELL Building Standard, CASBEE, BREEAM, or another comparable green building certification, and five were in progress. The fully certified facilities represent 3.5 million square feet of certified space, which is about 19 percent of Cisco’s global real estate portfolio.

These standards make our spaces healthier and more comfortable for our occupants while reducing our buildings’ environmental impact.

Energy and emissions

In FY23, our Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions were 48% lower than our FY19 baseline on an absolute basis.

We’ve been working to increase the efficiency of our facilities and reduce their associated energy use and emissions for more than 15 years. In September 2021, we set a goal to reduce global Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 90 percent absolute by fiscal 2025 (compared to fiscal 2019 base year) and to neutralize any remaining Scope 1 and 2 emissions by permanently removing an equal amount from the atmosphere through credible GHG emissions removal projects.

This target supports our ambitious net-zero goal. The majority of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions comes from electricity use in our buildings. As a result, we focus on implementing projects that reduce our electricity use and increasing our use of renewable electricity.

To achieve our Scope 1 and 2 goals, we plan to invest approximately US$39 million from fiscal 2023 to fiscal 2025 to reduce our emissions through a combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electrification projects. Read more about our efforts in these areas below.

Summary of Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions1
KPI FY19 (base year) FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23 Comments
KPI: Total GHG emissions: Scope 1, metric tonne CO2e FY19 (base year):47,276 FY20: 38,743 FY21: 26,694 FY22: 34,931 FY23: 40,402  
KPI: Total GHG emissions: Scope 2 (location-based), metric tonne CO2e FY19 (base year):651,331 FY20: 607,218 FY21: 579,445 FY22: 564,012 FY23: 568,141 Comments: "Location-based" is used consistent with GHG Protocol and does not include renewable energy purchases.
KPI: Total GHG emissions: Scope 2 (market-based), metric tonne CO2e FY19 (base year):187,428 FY20: 163,645 FY21: 147,801 FY22: 108,373 FY23: 81,711 Comments: "Market-based" is used consistent with GHG Protocol and includes renewable energy purchases.
KPI: Total GHG emissions: Scope 1 and 2 (market-based), metric tonne CO2e FY19 (base year):234,704 FY20: 202,388 FY21: 174,494 FY22: 143,303 FY23: 122,112 Comments: Totals may not match Scope 1 and 2 figures reported above due to rounding.
KPI: Percent progress against FY25 goal to reduce Cisco Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 90% absolute (FY19 base year) FY19: Base Year FY20: 13.5% FY21: 25.5% FY22: 38.9% FY23: 48.0% Comments: Cisco's FY25 GHG reduction goal was announced in September 2021 as part of our net zero goal.
KPI: Scope 1 and 2 emissions (market-based) intensity, metric tonne CO2e per million dollars of revenue FY19 (base year):4.5 FY20: 4.1 FY21: 3.5 FY22: 2.8 FY23: 2.1 Comments: Market-based intensity is a measure of operational efficiency commonly used by many Cisco stakeholders.
KPI: Scope 2 emissions from primary data, percent FY19 (base year):97.5% FY20: 97.7% FY21: 98.4% FY22: 98.6% FY23: 98.6% Comments:  

1 Historical Scope 1 and 2 emissions data may vary from previous publicly reported values, either in the most recent 2023 CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) survey or our previous Purpose Report. This is due to updated reporting guidance, emissions factors, adjustments for acquisitions or divestitures, or correction of inconsistencies found during review.

Summary of operational energy usage
KPI FY19 (base year) FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23 Comments
KPI: Energy generated, GWh FY19 (base year):2.2 FY20: 2.3 FY21: 2.4 FY22: 1.4 FY23: 1.3 Comments: Cisco has onsite solar photovoltaic systems at our campuses in Texas, North Carolina, and India.
KPI: Energy usage, GWh FY19 (base year):1813 FY20: 1717 FY21: 1624 FY22: 1629 FY23: 1616 Comments:  
KPI: Indirect energy usage, GWh FY19 (base year):1612 FY20: 1556 FY21: 1515 FY22: 1489 FY23: 1456 Comments: Electricity is the primary indirect energy source used by Cisco, but we also use district cooling.
KPI: Direct energy usage, GWh FY19 (base year):201 FY20: 162 FY21: 109 FY22: 140 FY23: 159 Comments: Direct energy consumption is the sum of Cisco's natural gas, propane, and diesel usage for heating and backup power generation and regular gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel used in Cisco's fleet.
KPI: Electricity usage, GWh FY19 (base year):1612 FY20: 1556 FY21: 1515 FY22: 1489 FY23: 1455 Comments:  
KPI: District cooling, GWh FY19 (base year):  FY20:   FY21:   FY22:   FY23: 1 Comments: Data from FY19-FY22 is not available.
KPI: Natural gas usage, GWh FY19 (base year):93 FY20: 79 FY21: 53 FY22: 46 FY23: 45 Comments:  
KPI: Stationary diesel usage, GWh FY19 (base year):20 FY20: 19 FY21: 10 FY22: 18 FY23: 21 Comments: Stationary diesel is typically used for backup power generation.
KPI: Propane usage, GWh FY19 (base year):2 FY20: 0.9 FY21: 0.8 FY22: 0.2 FY23: 1 Comments:  
KPI: Transportation fuel usage (combined gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel), GWh FY19 (base year):86 FY20: 62 FY21: 47 FY22: 75 FY23: 91 Comments: Transportation fuel includes regular gasoline and diesel fuel used in Cisco's car fleet, and jet fuel used in leased jets.
KPI: Energy use per unit of revenue, GWh of energy consumed per billion dollars in revenue FY19 (base year):34.9 FY20: 34.8 FY21: 32.6 FY22: 31.6 FY23: 28.3 Comments:  

Cisco uses the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard as the basis for our Scope 1 and 2 calculations. We report market- and location-based Scope 2 emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Center for Corporate Climate Leadership provides additional program guidance. Of the seven GHGs covered by the GHG Protocol (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, and NF3), four (CO2, CH4, N2O, and HFCs) are applicable to our operations. We do not have biogenic carbon emissions. We report Scope 1 and 2 emissions based on operations over which we have operational control. Calculations are based on site-specific data for fuel consumed and utilities purchased, applying published emissions factors and global warming potentials.

Cisco used emission factors from the following databases for its fiscal 2023 GHG inventory: 2023 International Energy Agency (IEA) Electricity Information Database 2021 IEA factors, 2022 EU Residual Mix Factors from RE-DISS, Center for Corporate Climate Leadership GHG Emission Factors Hub (updated September 2023). Country-specific emission factors for Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, and United Kingdom in 2023 were provided from those countries’ governments.

Renewable energy

A key pillar of Cisco’s environmental sustainability strategy is to accelerate clean energy adoption. One element of our approach to GHG reduction is increasing our use of renewable energy in our own global operations.

In fiscal 2023, we consumed more than 1.3 million MWh of renewable electricity, making up 91 percent of our total global electricity demand. This includes sourcing 100 percent of the electricity used at Cisco facilities in the United States, Canada, and various countries from renewable sources—see table below. Our renewable energy procurement takes four forms:

  • Onsite solar installations at our larger key facilities around the world

    Solar installations at our campuses in Texas, North Carolina, and India produce about 1.3 million kWh of electricity and avoid approximately 1000 metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

  • Longer-term offsite power purchase agreements (PPAs) that support development of new renewable energy systems in locations where we operate

    Over the past few years, Cisco has made significant strides to execute numerous long-term renewable energy contracts like PPAs. We are doing so because these add new renewable energy sources to electric grids, and can generate local jobs and economic growth. These contracts now deliver more than 314,269 MWh per year of renewable energy for Cisco.

    In June 2023, Cisco signed a new virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) in Europe, which we anticipate will allow us to purchase enough solar energy to match 100 percent of our European electricity needs.* We expect the project to be operational in March 2024.

    We also continue to source 114 MW of solar power through our PPAs in Karnataka, India, 20 MW of solar power through our PPA in California, and 10 MW of wind power through our PPA in Texas.

  • Utility green power contracts, through which we source renewable energy from local utilities

    In the United States and in Europe, we source locally generated renewable energy by participating in utility green power programs like Austin Energy's Green Choice program in Texas and Duke Energy's Green Rider program in North Carolina.

  • Energy Attribute Certificates, such as renewable energy certificates (RECs). These certificates are a flexible way to source the environmental attributes of renewable energy when other options are not as readily available.

    While unbundled RECs still represent the largest portion of Cisco's global renewable energy purchases (see table below), we are working to significantly reduce this percentage as we execute more long-term contracts and the projects associated with those contracts come online.

    Long-term contract options like PPAs need to be carefully selected and vetted, and it typically takes 12 to 24 months for a new renewable energy system to be built after a contract is signed.

The RECs that Cisco purchases in the United States are generated from wind and solar sources in the United States and adhere to the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance regarding renewable energy purchases. For further information see Cisco's response to the latest annual CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) Climate Change questionnaire (C4.3b and C8.2e). Information is updated annually.

Cisco also recently joined the RE100 initiative, which brings together businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity. Beyond helping us meet our own goals, joining RE100 also supports Cisco’s ambition to increase clean energy access globally and contributes to the private sector demand signal for renewables. We also continue to engage with green power providers and buyers through the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance (CEBA) and the EPA's Green Power Partnership.

* Excluding the United Kingdom, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, which are not Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) countries and are therefore not covered by the scope of the VPPA.

Electricity from renewable sources
KPI FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23
KPI: Electricity from renewable sources, GWh FY19: 1344 FY20: 1292 FY21: 1292 FY22: 1320 FY23: 1332
KPI: Electricity from renewable sources, % FY19: 83% FY20: 83% FY21: 85% FY22: 89% FY23: 91%
FY23 sources of renewable electricity
Onsite solar 1347 MWh 0.1%
Direct procurement from an offsite system, e.g., PPA 314,269 MWh 23.6%
Green power contracts with energy suppliers or utilities 72,577 MWh 5.4%
Unbundled energy attributes1 943,744 MWh 70.9%

1 RECs, Guarantees of Origin (GOs), Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs), International RECs (I-RECs).

FY23 renewable energy consumption mix
Solar/Wind 92.6%
Hydro 2.4%
Other/Unknown 4.9%
Electricity usage from renewable sources by region and country
Region FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23
Region: EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) FY19: 65% FY20: 63% FY21: 61% FY22: 80% FY23: 92%
Region: AIB countries1       FY22: 100%2 FY23: 100%
Region: Israel FY19:   FY20:   FY21:   FY22: 0% FY23: 100%
Region: Poland FY19:   FY20:   FY21:   FY22: 84% FY23: 100%
Region: South Africa FY19:   FY20:   FY21:   FY22: 100% FY23: 100%
Region: United Kingdom FY19:   FY20:   FY21:   FY22: 100% FY23: 100%
Region: APJC (Asia Pacific, Japan, and China, includes India) FY19: 40% FY20: 46% FY21: 52% FY22: 61% FY23: 68%
Region: Australia FY19:   FY20:   FY21:   FY22: 0% FY23: 100%
Region: India FY19: 52% FY20: 60% FY21: 66% FY22: 77% FY23: 81%
Region: Singapore FY19:   FY20:   FY21:   FY22: 0% FY23: 100%
Region: Americas FY19: 99% FY20: 97% FY21: 99% FY22: 99% FY23: 99.8%
Region: Canada FY19: 100% FY20: 0% FY21: 100% FY22: 100% FY23: 100%
Region: Mexico FY19:   FY20:   FY21:   FY22: 0% FY23: 100%
Region: United States FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100% FY23: 100%

1 Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

2 Sourced renewable energy from green power contracts and GOs/REGOs.

Energy efficiency

The global EnergyOps program, managed by the Global Energy Management and Sustainability (GEMS) team, is dedicated to implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Cisco buildings. In fiscal 2023, the GEMS team enabled Cisco to avoid approximately 4.9 GWh of energy consumption and 2100 metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by investing US$4.1 million to implement 27 energy efficiency projects, including:

In FY23, the GEMS team implemented 27 energy efficiency projects that avoid approximately 4.9 GWh of energy consumption and 2100 metric tonne CO2e

  • Updating lighting controls and installing LED lights to increase lighting efficiency
  • Balancing airflow and improving hot and cold aisle containment within our labs
  • Retrofitting and optimizing major mechanical equipment and control systems to improve energy efficiency of our heating and cooling systems
  • Installing meters and using AI to better monitor and optimize energy usage in our buildings
  • Participating in emergency energy demand response programs in both Texas and California
  • Continuing an employee engagement campaign to promote, educate, and incentivize employees to conserve energy

We estimate that more than 170 energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy projects implemented since fiscal 2019 have avoided approximately 65 GWh of energy and 28,500 metric tonne of CO2e.

Energy and GHG emissions reduction projects1
KPI FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23 Total
KPI: Number of projects implemented FY19: 48 FY20: 44 FY21: 24 FY22: 34 FY23: 27 Total: 177
KPI: Annual energy avoided, GWh/yr FY19: 19.4 FY20: 19.3 FY21: 6.6 FY22: 14.5 FY23: 4.9 Total: 64.7
KPI: Total estimated annual CO2e savings, metric tonne CO2e/yr FY19: 7100 FY20: 8550 FY21: 2700 FY22: 8000 FY23: 2100 Total: 28,450

1 Does not include renewable energy purchases.

Lab and data center efficiency

The world’s data centers are responsible for nearly 1 percent of global electricity demand. As part of Cisco’s overall sustainability efforts, we are working with our procurement, logistics, and other teams to increase the sustainability of our data centers globally. Our strategy focuses on sustainable design, optimized operations, energy management, asset recovery and reuse, and responsible procurement.

Through our Lab and Data Center Modernization program, we are consolidating our lab footprint and designing for longer-term efficiency and functionality. We are prioritizing updates to aging equipment through our Building Infrastructure Lifecycle Replacement program. Finally, we are evaluating innovative technology and control strategies such as UPOE+, AI, and new sensor technologies to manage energy use and airflow in our labs and data centers.

Read our Cisco IT Data Center Sustainability white paper to learn more about our efforts.


We are electrifying our building heating systems, moving from natural gas systems to heat-recovery chillers and electric systems. Transitioning to consuming electricity gives us an opportunity to source more renewable electricity, which reduces our emissions. Electrification projects are underway at our headquarters campus in San Jose, California, and projects are being evaluated for sites in EMEA with natural gas usage.

Electric vehicles (EVs)

Cisco maintains a fleet of company cars for our employees in Europe and has been working to transition to EVs, which now represent over 50 percent of our employee fleet vehicles in use today. We have set a limit on the allowable CO2 emissions of newly purchased vehicles and promote EVs when possible. The current limit we set is 151 g/km for diesel cars and 160 g/km for gasoline cars. We expect to further reduce these limits over time, as the automobile industry continues to release more fuel-efficient and less polluting vehicles, as well as an increased number of fully electric models.

Percentage of electric vehicles in Cisco company cars
  FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23
Total fleet size FY19: 4772 FY20: 4620 FY21: 3562 FY22: 3722 FY23: 4281
Number of EVs FY19: 540 FY20: 773 FY21: 984 FY22: 1535 FY23: 2184
Percentage of EVs FY19: 11% FY20: 16% FY21: 28% FY22: 41% FY23: 51%

Cisco maintains over 550 EV charging ports for employees and guests at campus locations, and many of our leased sites include access to EV charging stations as well. Over 500 of these ports are located at our headquarters in San Jose, California.


Even though Cisco does not use significant amounts of water in our direct operations, we understand the importance of reducing water consumption in our operations and supply chain. It’s essential to protect this limited resource for our business needs and for the sake of the communities in which we operate.

In our direct operations, Cisco:

  • Provides access to fully functioning, safely managed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services for all employees
  • Benchmarks and reports water use and risks according to industry best practices (including annually in the CDP Water Questionnaire)
  • Conserves water in our operations, focusing on water-scarce and water-stressed locations

Cisco’s primary use of fresh water in our direct operations is for basic services in the workplace, such as in restrooms and cafeterias. Between fiscal 2019 and 2023, we reduced our fresh water withdrawals by 34 percent. Our primary use of recycled water is for irrigating landscapes and for use in our cooling towers at several of our major campuses. We use fresh water as a second resort. See the Water Use table below for details on Cisco’s water use.

We use the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct tool to better understand our water use and risks within our operations. The Aqueduct1 tool revealed that 33 percent of Cisco’s water use by volume is withdrawn from water-stressed areas—mainly in Bangalore, India. Given the projected impacts of climate change, we continue to monitor our portfolio for changes in water availability and develop contextual water management strategies accordingly.

Campus water stewardship initiatives

We have implemented numerous water conservation projects in our direct operations over the past few years. These projects conserve water today and will continue to do so for many years to come.

At multiple campuses:

  • Installing variable frequency drives in our cooling towers
  • Installing two-way valves for toilets, waterless urinals, sink aerators, low-flow showerheads, and pre-rinse spray valves for kitchen sinks
  • Replacing water fountains and turf with native planter beds that require little water and installing drip irrigation lines to improve irrigation efficiency

In San Jose, California:

  • Updated irrigation controllers

At Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina:

  • Using reclaimed water for irrigation and cooling towers.
  • Maintaining our water neutrality goal to restore a volume of water equal to RTP campus' annual water use each year by investing in water restoration projects that restore local watersheds in North Carolina and the Southeast. One of the projects we invested in is the removal of a decommissioned dam in Western North Carolina, completed in June 2021.

In Bangalore, India:

  • We maintain a comprehensive water management system at this campus, which is a zero-discharge facility, meaning no wastewater is discharged to third parties or the environment. Building water discharge is sent to two sewage treatment plants that use filtration and reverse osmosis to treat the water for eventual reuse. The treated water is used in an evaporative cooling system, for irrigation, and for toilet flushing in two campus buildings.

Visit Supply chain environmental stewardship for information on how we are working to improve water security in our supply chain.

1 Baseline Water Stress using 2030 Water Stress Under Business As Usual Scenario.

Water use in direct operations
KPI FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23 Comments
KPI: Total water withdrawn, m3, thousands FY19: 3299 FY20: 3183 FY21: 2902 FY22: 2369 FY23: 2164 Comments: This figure covers Cisco's facilities within our operational control. Withdrawal sources are reported below. Cisco does not withdraw water from any source not listed below.
KPI: Water withdrawn from municipal supply (third-party sources), m3, thousands FY19: 3111 FY20: 2929 FY21: 2674 FY22: 2204 FY23: 2004 Comments: The majority of Cisco's water withdrawals are from third-party sources.
KPI: Water withdrawn from fresh surface water, m3, thousands FY19: 165 FY20: 220 FY21: 228 FY22: 164 FY23: 160 Comments: We withdraw water from a nearby lake at our Vaud, Switzerland, location, use it on site in a closed-loop cooling system, then discharge it back to the lake.
KPI: Water withdrawn from groundwater, m3, thousands FY19: 22 FY20: 34 FY21: 0 FY22: 0 FY23: 0 Comments: Prior to fiscal 2021, water was treated on site at our Boxborough facilities and then discharged back to the groundwater. Starting in fiscal 2021, the site began using municipal water.
KPI: Total water recycled and reused, m3, thousands FY19: 109 FY20: 62 FY21: 33 FY22: 39 FY23: 55 Comments: Cisco recycles the water withdrawn at our Bangalore Campus in India through the use of our sewer treatment plant.
KPI: Total water consumption, m3, thousands FY19: 358 FY20: 334 FY21: 271 FY22: 297 FY23: 264 Comments: We continue refining our water accounting and reporting practices, including regarding the water we use for evaporative cooling and irrigation.
KPI: Total water discharged, m3, thousands FY19: 2941 FY20: 2848 FY21: 2631 FY22: 2072 FY23: 1901 Comments: This figure covers Cisco's facilities within our operational control. Discharge destinations are reported below. Cisco does not discharge water to destinations not listed below.
KPI: Total water discharged to sewer (third-party destinations), m3, thousands FY19: 2753 FY20: 2595 FY21: 2403 FY22: 1908 FY23: 1740 Comments: The majority of Cisco's water discharges are to third-party destinations.
KPI: Total water discharged to fresh surface water, m3, thousands FY19: 165 FY20: 220 FY21: 228 FY22: 164 FY23: 160 Comments: We withdraw water from a nearby lake at our Vaud, Switzerland, location, use it on site in a closed-loop cooling system, then discharge it back to the lake.
KPI: Total water discharged to groundwater, m3, thousands FY19: 22 FY20: 34 FY21: 0 FY22: 0 FY23: 0 Comments: Prior to fiscal 2021, water was treated on site at our Boxborough facilities and then discharged back to the groundwater. Starting in fiscal 2021, the site began using municipal water.
KPI: Real estate portfolio covered by water reporting FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100% FY23: 100% Comments:  
KPI: Real estate portfolio where we receive water data from the utility FY19: 71% FY20: 70% FY21: 68% FY22: 67% FY23: 69% Comments:  

Water-energy nexus

The production of electrical power is one of the largest users of fresh water. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates in their most recent water report, from 2015, that an average 15 gallons of water is used to produce 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity in the United States. Therefore, one of the greatest opportunities for Cisco to reduce our impact on water resources globally is by continuing to make our products and operations more energy efficient. We estimate our fiscal 2023 energy efficiency projects, which avoided 4.9 GWh of energy usage, also avoided 280,000 m3 of water—roughly 13 percent of our total fiscal 2023 water use.

Next steps in our water strategy

The next phase of our water stewardship journey is to develop targeted strategies to conserve water and evaluate partnerships with local organizations to address local water issues at our major campuses around the world. We are preparing for this initiative by refining our approach to water and reviewing the water impacts of our business.


Cisco’s waste reduction and recycling program is a key component of our ISO 14001 certification and global corporate environmental policy. While municipal and regional practices vary, our facilities take steps to reduce their operational waste and reuse and recycle materials. Our strategy is to reduce both our total waste generated and the proportion of waste sent to landfill by incorporating the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle throughout our direct operations. In fiscal 2023, we diverted approximately 81 percent of the waste generated at our facilities from landfill globally. Information on reducing solid waste at our supply chain manufacturing facilities is addressed in Supply chain environmental stewardship.

Solid waste from operations (trash)
KPI FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23 Comments
KPI: Total operational waste generated,
metric tonne
FY19: 10,498 FY20: 5715 FY21: 2112 FY22: 2458 FY23: 3047  
KPI: Waste sent to landfill (municipal solid waste),
metric tonne
FY19: 2018 FY20: 1072 FY21: 568 FY22: 611 FY23: 581  
KPI: Waste incinerated,
metric tonne
FY19: FY20: 5 FY21: 4 FY22: 2 FY23: 8 Comments: Data prior to FY20 is not available
KPI: Landfill diversion rate,
metric tonne
FY19: 81% FY20: 81% FY21: 73% FY22: 75% FY23: 81% Comments: Does not include e-waste.
KPI: Total operational waste diverted,
metric tonne
FY19: 8480 FY20: 4638 FY21: 1540 FY22: 1844 FY23: 2458 Comments: This includes waste recycled, composted, hazardous/universal waste recycled, and waste to energy. Total waste diverted decreased in FY20 and FY21 due to impacts from COVID-19.
KPI: Recycled,
metric tonne
FY19: 6683 FY20: 2296 FY21: 730 FY22: 852 FY23: 1113 Comments: Municipal recycling.
KPI: Composted,
metric tonne
FY19: 1180 FY20: 1945 FY21: 438 FY22: 691 FY23: 1137  
KPI: Hazardous/ universal waste,
metric tonne
FY19: 617 FY20: 255 FY21: 76 FY22: 248 FY23: 108 Comments: This includes batteries, kitchen oil, lamps, printer toner.
KPI: Waste to energy,
metric tonne
FY20: 142 FY21: 61 FY22: 54 FY23: 100 Comments: This is waste burned to generate energy. Data prior to FY19 is not available.
KPI: Percent real estate portfolio covered by waste reporting FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100% FY23: 100%  
Operational waste diversion rates for major campus locations
Campus location FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23
Campus location: San Jose FY19: 87% FY20: 86% FY21: 89% FY22: 88% FY23: 84%
Campus location: RTP FY19: 67% FY20: 69% FY21: 75% FY22: 70% FY23: 63%
Campus location: Bedfont Lakes FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100% FY23: 100%
Campus location: Tokyo FY19: 90% FY20: 75% FY21: 92% FY22: 90% FY23: 90%
Campus location: Bangalore FY19: 84% FY20: 91% FY21: 33% FY22: 68% FY23: 82%
Campus location: Total FY19: 81% FY20: 81% FY21: 73% FY22: 75% FY23: 81%

Campus waste initiatives

As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce waste, we continue to evaluate where we can increase the number of reusable items (such as cups, plates, and mugs) in many offices around the world, including our campus in RTP, our Bedfont Lakes campus in the United Kingdom, and many facilities in Asia and Europe. The next phase of our waste reduction journey is to work toward setting long-term waste diversion and reduction goals at our major campuses, likely over the next few years.


Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes they are a part of. Organizations impact biodiversity directly through their own activities or indirectly through their supply chains. Cisco’s primary impact on biodiversity is the land we use for our facilities. As more of our employees adopt hybrid work, we can reduce the square footage of our real estate space, thereby reducing our land use impact.

Cisco has used environmental impact assessments to evaluate the biodiversity and land use impacts of our main sites. We have experienced no major impacts or changes at these sites since the last assessment. We have worked to mitigate the potential negative impacts to biodiversity that have been identified. For example, some of the buildings we own in San Jose are located near a protected area for the American Cliff Swallow, which is a bird species on the Least Concern category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. To protect the birds’ habitat during nesting season, we close our balconies on those buildings. We then remove the mud nesting locations on our buildings after nesting season is over. Cisco is also a signatory to the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Principles.

In December 2019, we installed beehives near our RTP campus, in partnership with Bee Downtown and the RTP Foundation. The hives are home to over 100,000 honeybees. Our hives support the growing pollinator population in North Carolina, advance honeybee education across the region, and contribute to the largest pollinator corridor in the country.

Non-GHG emissions

Because our production is outsourced to supply chain partners, our global operations primarily consist of standard office activities and research labs. This limits our non-GHG emissions to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products, nitrous oxides (NOX), and sulfur oxides (SOX) from onsite fuel combustion (from vehicle engines, boilers, or emergency generators), and the subsequent formation of ozone from the photochemical reaction of NOX.

We comply with applicable California Air Resources Board (CARB) requests and do not use mechanical equipment, such as gasoline-powered lawn mowers, after 11 a.m. on designated Spare the Air days, when air quality is poor in the San Francisco Bay Area. We also have policies and procedures in place and work with our supply chain partners regarding substances restricted by regulations from use in manufacturing, as applicable.

Non-GHG emissions
KPI FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23
KPI: VOC emissions* FY19: Negligible FY20: Negligible FY21: Negligible FY22: Negligible FY23: Negligible
KPI: NOX, metric tonne FY19: 156 FY20: 223 FY21: 81 FY22: 121 FY23: 134
KPI: SOX, metric tonne FY19: 0.59 FY20: 0.58 FY21: 0.28 FY22: 0.36 FY23: 0.48
KPI: Particulate matter FY19: Negligible FY20: Negligible FY21: Negligible FY22: Negligible FY23: Negligible

*Quantities of VOC-based chemicals deployed are minimal, and monitoring is not required.