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Our operations

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our direct operations.

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

Real estate sustainability strategy

We are committed to 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 all 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

According to a global Cisco study, hybrid work, in which employees split their time working from home, office, and on the go, has helped improve employee wellbeing, work-life balance, and performance across the world. However, more needs to be done to build an inclusive culture and fully embed hybrid work arrangements to enhance employee experience.

Internally, we are partnering with leaders across the business to accelerate the optimization of our real estate portfolio. Over the past few years, our hybrid work strategy has enabled us to close underused offices and consolidate existing spaces, while reinvesting in key locations critical to our growth. These initiatives help us enable hybrid work within our own operations and meet our fiscal 2025 goals.

Two sites we've reinvested in are Cisco's new Chicago and New York offices. These offices include a variety of spaces optimized for teams to innovate, collaborate, and connect. Here, and in our headquarters in San Jose, we've opened state-of-the-art Collaboration Centers where teams can come together to create meaningful and productive connections.

Green building certifications

Sustainable building practices and standards for how we 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 LEED-certified building was built in 2009. By the end of fiscal 2022, 40 Cisco facilities were certified by LEED, CASBEE, BREEAM, or another comparable green building certification, and five were in progress. The fully certified facilities represent 3.9 million square feet of LEED-certified space, which is about 22 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

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 committed to reduce global Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 90 percent absolute by 2025 (compared to fiscal year 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.

In fiscal 2022, our Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions were 39% lower than our fiscal 2019 baseline on an absolute basis.

This new target supports our ambitious net-zero goal, and builds upon the Scope 1 and 2 goal we completed last year. The vast majority of our scope 1 and 2 emissions comes from electricity use in our buildings. As a result, implementing projects to reduce our electricity use and increasing our use of renewable electricity are the biggest focus of our GHG reduction strategy. See table below for details.

To achieve our new 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, and neutralize any remaining Scope 1 and 2 emissions (no more than 10 percent) by investing in credible removal projects that capture GHG emissions from the atmosphere and permanently store them. Increasing our use of renewable electricity is the most critical part of our strategy to meet our goals. Read more about our use of renewable energy.

Summary of Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions1
KPI FY18 FY19 (base year) FY20 FY21 FY22 Comments
KPI: Total GHG emissions: Scope 1, metric tonne CO2e FY18: 41,171 FY19 (base year):46,652 FY20: 38,743 FY21: 26,694 FY22: 34,264  
KPI: Total GHG emissions: Scope 2 (location-based), metric tonne CO2e FY18: 666,708 FY19 (base year):651,331 FY20: 607,218 FY21: 579,445 FY22: 563,944 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 FY18: 205,141 FY19 (base year):187,428 FY20: 163,645 FY21: 147,801 FY22: 108,853 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 FY18: 246,312 FY19 (base year):234,080 FY20: 202,388 FY21: 174,494 FY22: 143,117 Comments:  
KPI: Percent progress against FY25 goal to reduce total Cisco Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 90% absolute (FY19 base year) FY18:   FY19: Base Year FY20: 13.5% FY21: 25.5% FY22: 38.9% Comments: Cisco's FY25 GHG reduction goal was announced in September 2021 as part of our net-zero goal. Assurance statement available in April 2023.
KPI: Scope 1 and 2 emissions (market-based) intensity, metric tonne CO2e per million dollars of revenue FY18: 5.0 FY19 (base year):4.5 FY20: 4.1 FY21: 3.5 FY22: 2.8 Comments: Market-based intensity is a measure of operational efficiency commonly used by many Cisco stakeholders.
KPI: Scope 2 emissions from primary data, percent FY18: 98.2% FY19 (base year):97.5% FY20: 97.7% FY21: 98.4% FY22: 98.3% Comments:  

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

Summary of operational energy usage
KPI FY18 FY19 (base year) FY20 FY21 FY22 Comments
KPI: Energy generated, GWh FY18: 2.6 FY19 (base year):2.2 FY20: 2.3 FY21: 2.4 FY22: 1.4 Comments: Cisco uses all the energy generated by its onsite solar PV systems and does not sell any energy.
KPI: Energy usage, GWh FY18: 1815 FY19 (base year):1810 FY20: 1717 FY21: 1624 FY22: 1628 Comments:  
KPI: Indirect energy usage, GWh FY18: 1637 FY19 (base year):1612 FY20: 1556 FY21: 1515 FY22: 1488 Comments: Electricity is the only indirect energy source used by Cisco—we do not purchase any heating, cooling, or steam.
KPI: Direct energy usage, GWh FY18: 178 FY19 (base year):199 FY20: 162 FY21: 109 FY22: 140 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 FY18: 1637 FY19 (base year):1612 FY20: 1556 FY21: 1515 FY22: 1488 Comments:  
KPI: Natural gas usage, GWh FY18: 90 FY19 (base year):93 FY20: 79 FY21: 53 FY22: 47 Comments:  
KPI: Stationary diesel usage, GWh FY18: 21 FY19 (base year):20 FY20: 19 FY21: 10 FY22: 19 Comments: Stationary diesel is typically used for backup power generation.
KPI: Propane usage, GWh FY18: 2 FY19 (base year):2 FY20: 0.9 FY21: 0.8 FY22: 0.2 Comments:  
KPI: Transportation fuel usage (combined gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel), GWh FY18: 65 FY19 (base year):84 FY20: 62 FY21: 47 FY22: 75 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 FY18: 36.8 FY19 (base year):34.9 FY20: 34.8 FY21: 32.6 FY22: 31.6 Comments:  

Emissions calculation methodology

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 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 (GWPs).

Cisco used emission factors from the following databases for its fiscal 2022 GHG inventory: 2022 IEA Electricity Information Database 2020 IEA factors, 2021 EU Residual Mix Factors from RE-DISS, Center for Corporate Climate Leadership GHG Emission Factors Hub (updated January 2022). Country-specific emission factors for Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, and United Kingdom in 2022 were provided from those countries' governments.

Energy efficiency

The global EnergyOps program, managed by the GEMS team, is dedicated to implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Cisco buildings. In fiscal 2022, the GEMS team enabled Cisco to avoid approximately 14.5 GWh of energy consumption and 8000 metric tonne of CO2e by investing US$14.8 million to implement 34 energy efficiency projects, including:

In fiscal 2022, the GEMS team implemented 34 energy efficiency projects that avoid approximately 14.5 GWh of energy consumption and 8000 metric tonne CO2e annually

  • 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 290 energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy projects implemented since fiscal 2018 have avoided approximately 92 GWh of energy and 36,650 metric tonne of CO2e. This program directly contributes to the achievement of our fiscal 2022 sustainability goals and the creation of our fiscal 2025 Scope 1 and 2 goals. Below is a summary of the energy savings associated with GHG reduction projects implemented between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2022.

Energy and GHG emissions reduction projects1
KPI FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22
KPI: Number of projects implemented FY18: 145 FY19: 48 FY20: 44 FY21: 24 FY22: 34
KPI: Annual energy avoided, GWh/yr FY18: 32.4 FY19: 19.4 FY20: 19.3 FY21: 6.6 FY22: 14.5
KPI: Total estimated annual CO2e savings, metric tonne CO2e/yr FY18: 10,300 FY19: 7100 FY20: 8550 FY21: 2700 FY22: 8000

1 Does not include renewable energy purchases.

Data center sustainability

The world's data centers are responsible for nearly 1 percent of global electricity demand. As part of Cisco's overall commitment to sustainability, Cisco has been working with our procurement, logistics, and other teams to make our global data centers more sustainable. Our strategy focuses on sustainable design, optimized operations, energy management, asset recovery and reuse, and responsible procurement. From 2016 to 2021 we consolidated from 26 to 16 data centers, including four colocation facilities. (Migrating IT loads into key locations, like colocation facilities, increases efficiencies. See Scope 3 category 1: purchased goods and services, for a discussion of outsourced IT GHG emissions.)

Consolidation involved closing some facilities and retrofitting others to take over their workloads. Retrofitted data centers have the power and cooling infrastructure to support more workloads in a smaller space. So far, we've retrofitted our data centers in Singapore, Bangalore, Amsterdam, San Jose, and Ottawa.

Other highlights from our data center sustainability program include:

  • 100 percent of Cisco's U.S. data center electricity and 72 percent of Cisco's global data center electricity comes from renewables
  • Two of our data centers are Gold LEED-certified for Building Design and Construction: Allen, Texas and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Our largest data center is designed to operate below 1.35 Power Usage Effectiveness, considered industry leading
  • Since 2016, we've reduced data center power capacity by 40 percent—from 29.3 MW to 17.6 MW
  • We've significantly increased internal reuse of equipment—for example, 58 percent of server cabinets (5100) that were removed from service were redeployed, and 43 tons of cabling infrastructure and equipment was reused
  • We reduced facility data center costs by 23 percent

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

Renewable energy

Sourcing renewable electricity is a critical part of Cisco's GHG reduction strategy. In fiscal 2022, we consumed 1,319,605 MWh of renewable electricity, making up 89 percent of our total global electricity demand.

Over the past few years, Cisco has made significant strides to execute numerous, longer-term renewable energy contracts like power purchase agreements (PPAs) and utility green power contracts that have stronger additionality claims than unbundled renewable energy certificates (RECs). These contracts now deliver more than 300,000 MWh per year of renewable energy for Cisco.

While unbundled RECs still represent the largest portion of Cisco's global renewable energy purchases (see table below), we will significantly reduce this percentage as we work toward our new net-zero goal and as our long-term 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.

Other highlights of our renewable energy program in fiscal 2022 include:

  • Installing a small rooftop solar system at one of our sites in Pune, India. Our 1.2 MW of onsite solar systems in Texas, North Carolina, and India produce about 1.4 million kWh of electricity and avoid approximately 750 metric tonne CO2e a year
  • Sourcing 100 percent of the electricity used at Cisco facilities in the United States, Canada, and various European countries* from renewable sources
  • Sourcing 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
  • Continuing to source 20 MW of solar power through our PPA in California and 10 MW of wind power through our PPA in Texas
  • Continuing to focus on identifying and executing renewable energy PPAs in India. In total, our renewable energy purchases in India brought the percentage of renewable electricity used in the country to 77 percent, up from 2 percent in fiscal 2015
  • Engaging with green power providers and buyers through the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance (CEBA) and the EPA's Green Power Partnership
Electricity from low-carbon sources (renewables)
KPI FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22
KPI: Electricity from renewable sources, GWh FY18: 1344 FY19: 1344 FY20: 1292 FY21: 1292 FY22: 1320
KPI: Electricity from renewable sources, % FY18: 82% FY19: 83% FY20: 83% FY21: 85% FY22: 89%
FY22 sources of renewable electricity
Onsite solar 1385 MWh 0.1%
Direct procurement from an offsite system, e.g., PPA 307,095 MWh 23.3%
Green power contracts with energy suppliers or utilities 80,072 MWh 6.1%
Unbundled energy attributes* 931,053 MWh 70.6%

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

FY22 renewable energy consumption mix
Solar/Wind 88.9%
Hydro 5.7%
Other/Unknown 5.5%
Electricity usage from renewable sources by region and select countries
Region FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22
Region: EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) FY18: 62% FY19: 65% FY20: 63% FY21: 61% FY22: 81%
Region: United Kingdom and Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) countries*         FY22: 100%**
Region: APJC (Asia Pacific, Japan and China, includes India) FY18: 38% FY19: 40% FY20: 46% FY21: 52% FY22: 61%
Region: India FY18: 49% FY19: 52% FY20: 60% FY21: 66% FY22: 77%
Region: Americas FY18: 99% FY19: 99% FY20: 97% FY21: 99% FY22: 99%
Region: United States FY18: 100% FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100%
Region: Canada FY18: 100% FY19: 100% FY20: 0% FY21: 100% FY22: 100%

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

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

Electric vehicles

Cisco maintains a fleet of company cars for our employees in Europe and has been working to transition to electric vehicles, which now represent over 40% 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 vehicles.

Percentage EVs in Cisco company cars
  FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22
Total fleet size FY18: 5440 FY19: 4772 FY20: 4620 FY21: 3562 FY22: 3722
Number of electric vehicles FY18: 469 FY19: 540 FY20: 773 FY21: 984 FY22: 1535
Percentage of electric vehicles FY18: 8.6% FY19: 11.3% FY20: 15.7% FY21: 27.6% FY22: 41.2%

Cisco also maintains over 500 ports available for employees and guests at our headquarters in San Jose, California. Globally, Cisco has over 400 stations with more than 720 charging ports in over 35 locations. Cisco includes the electricity used to charge employee EVs in our Scope 2 emissions.

Water

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

Cisco's water strategy is to:

  • Benchmark and report water use and risks according to industry best practices (including annually in the CDP Water Questionnaire)
  • Conserve water in our operations, focusing on water-scarce and water-stressed locations
  • Work toward setting long-term water goals at our major campuses

Cisco's primary use of fresh water in our direct operations is for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in the workplace, such as in restrooms and cafeterias. We also use water in our cooling towers and for irrigation where we are unable to use recycled water. Between fiscals 2018 and 2022, we reduced our fresh water withdrawals by 30 percent. Our primary use of recycled water is for irrigating landscapes and use in our cooling towers at several of our major campuses. See Water Use table below for details on Cisco's water use.

We use the WRI Aqueduct tool to better understand our water use and risks within our operations. The Aqueduct1 tool revealed that 26 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 will continue to monitor our entire portfolio for changes in water availability and will develop contextual water management strategies accordingly.

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 BAU Scenario.

Water use in direct operations
KPI FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 Comments
KPI: Total water withdrawn, m3, thousands FY18: 3394 FY19: 3299 FY20: 3183 FY21: 2902 FY22: 2376 Comments: This figure covers 100 percent of 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 FY18: 3366 FY19: 3111 FY20: 2929 FY21: 2674 FY22: 2193 Comments: The majority of Cisco's water withdrawals are from third-party sources.
KPI: Water withdrawn from fresh surface water, m3, thousands FY18: 169 FY19: 165 FY20: 220 FY21: 228 FY22: 183 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 FY18: 28 FY19: 22 FY20: 34 FY21: 0 FY22: 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 FY18: 116 FY19: 109 FY20: 62 FY21: 33 FY22: 39 Comments: Cisco recycles all of the water withdrawn at our Bangalore Campus in India through the use of our sewer treatment plant.
KPI: Total water consumption, m3, thousands FY18: 108 FY19: 358 FY20: 334 FY21: 271 FY22: 289 Comments: We are in the process of improving our water accounting practices and expect to more accurately report the water we use for evaporative cooling and irrigation.
KPI: Total water discharged, m3, thousands FY18: 3286 FY19: 2941 FY20: 2848 FY21: 2631 FY22: 2087 Comments: This figure covers 100 percent of Cisco's facilities within our operational control. Discharge destinations are reported below. Cisco does not discharge water to any destination not listed below.
KPI: Total water discharged to sewer (third-party destinations), m3, thousands FY18: 3258 FY19: 2753 FY20: 2595 FY21: 2403 FY22: 1904 Comments: The majority of Cisco's water discharges are to third-party destinations.
KPI: Total water discharged to fresh surface water, m3, thousands FY18: 159 FY19: 165 FY20: 220 FY21: 228 FY22: 183 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 FY18: 28 FY19: 22 FY20: 34 FY21: 0 FY22: 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 FY18: 100% FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100% Comments:  
KPI: Real estate portfolio where we receive water data from the utility FY18: 71% FY19: 71% FY20: 70% FY21: 68% FY22: 67% Comments:  

Water stewardship

Cisco is committed to managing water responsibly across our direct operations and our supply chain. We have implemented numerous water conservation projects in our direct operations over the past few years. These projects are still conserving water today and will continue to do so for many years to come:

  • Upgrading irrigation controllers throughout the San Jose, California main campus
  • Using reclaimed water for irrigation and cooling towers in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina
  • 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 in San Jose and RTP with native planter beds that require little water and installing drip irrigation lines to improve irrigation efficiency

Campus water initiatives

Cisco maintains a comprehensive water management system at our campus in Bangalore, India. The campus is a zero-discharge facility, meaning no wastewater is discharged to third parties or the environment. All 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.

We also achieved our water neutrality goal for our RTP campus by completing water efficiency projects and investing in water restoration projects that restore local watersheds in North Carolina and the Southeast. Through these projects, we are collectively restoring a volume of water equal to RTP campus' annual water use. One of the projects we invested in is the removal of a decommissioned dam in Western North Carolina, completed in June 2021. We will continue to invest in water restoration credits to maintain water neutrality for our RTP campus through fiscal 2023.

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.

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 latest 2015 water report 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 2022 energy efficiency projects, which avoided 14.5 GWh of energy usage, also avoided 825,670 m3 of water—roughly 35 percent of our total fiscal 2022 water use.

Waste

Cisco's waste reduction and recycling program is a key component of our ISO 14001 certification and global environmental policy. While municipal and regional recycling practices vary, all our facilities take steps to reduce their operational waste and reuse and recycle materials. Our strategy is to reduce both our total waste produced and the proportion of waste sent to landfill by incorporating the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle throughout our direct operations. In fiscal 2022, we diverted approximately 75 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 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 Comments
KPI: Total operational waste generated, metric tonne FY18: 10,559 FY19: 10,498 FY20: 5715 FY21: 2112 FY22: 2447 Comments: Total waste generated decreased in fiscals 2020 and 2021 due to impacts from COVID-19.
KPI: Waste sent to landfill (municipal solid waste) FY18: 2842 FY19: 2018 FY20: 1072 FY21: 568 FY22: 607  
KPI: Waste incinerated FY18: - FY19: - FY20: 5 FY21: 4 FY22: 2 Comments: Data prior to FY20 is not available
KPI: Landfill diversion rate FY18: 73% FY19: 81% FY20: 81% FY21: 73% FY22: 75%  
KPI: Total operational waste diverted, metric tonne FY18: 7717 FY19: 8480 FY20: 4638 FY21: 1540 FY22: 1838 Comments: This includes waste recycled, composted, hazardous/universal waste recycled, and waste to energy. Total waste diverted decreased in fiscals 2020 and 2021 due to impacts from COVID-19.
KPI: Recycled FY18: 6292 FY19: 6683 FY20: 2296 FY21: 730 FY22: 845 Comments: Municipal recycling.
KPI: Composted FY18: 808 FY19: 1180 FY20: 1945 FY21: 438 FY22: 691  
KPI: Hazardous/ universal waste FY18: 617 FY19: 617 FY20: 255 FY21: 76 FY22: 248 Comments: This includes batteries, kitchen oil, lamps, printer toner.
KPI: Waste to energy - - FY20: 142 FY21: 61 FY22: 54 Comments: This is waste burned to generate energy. Data prior to fiscal 2019 is not available.
KPI: Percent real estate portfolio covered by waste reporting FY18: 100% FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100%  

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the total waste generated at our facilities. Most of our sites were closed or open only in a limited capacity for the majority of the fiscal year. As a result, we produced far less waste on campus compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Operational waste diversion rates for major campus locations
Campus location FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22
Campus location: San Jose FY18: 86% FY19: 87% FY20: 86% FY21: 89% FY22: 88%
Campus location: RTP FY18: 67% FY19: 67% FY20: 69% FY21: 75% FY22: 70%
Campus location: Bedfont Lakes FY18: 100% FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100%
Campus location: Greenpark FY18: 100% FY19: 100% FY20: 100% FY21: 100% FY22: 100%
Campus location: Tokyo FY18: 87% FY19: 90% FY20: 75% FY21: 92% FY22: 90%
Campus location: Bangalore FY18: 68% FY19: 84% FY20: 91% FY21: 33% FY22: 68%
Campus location: Total FY18: 73% FY19: 81% FY20: 81% FY21: 73% FY22: 75%

Campus waste initiatives

Before COVID-19, we were in the process of increasing 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. We will be revisiting these programs as we as we embrace hybrid work. We are also striving toward zero waste for our major campus sites. 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

Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes they are a part of. All 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 reduce the square footage of our office space, and in turn this reduces our land use impact.

Operations

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.

Connected conservation

Cisco and our partners NTT.Ltd and Connected Conservation Foundation are protecting endangered species using technology to help create resilient and protected ecosystems. The first-of-its-kind technology leverages the power of surveillance, data, and analytics to track the movement of people, rangers, natural resources, and vehicles across crucial conservation habitats, so wildlife can roam free.

Emerging from the conservation demand for our solutions, the independent nonprofit Connected Conservation Foundation (CCF) was born. Launched on World Rhino Day 2020, CCF's mission is to expand our partnerships, resources, and support for projects that deploy technology to protect the environment, safeguard wildlife, and uplift local communities through education and the creation of new opportunities.

In fiscal 2022, the partnership scaled to equip conservation managers with technologies to manage and protect an additional 3,000,000 hectares of wild ecosystems. Growing partnerships with Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Northern Rangelands Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, African Parks, and Madikwe Game Reserve are helping field-teams eradicate poaching, reduce human-wildlife conflict, and sustainably manage healthy ecosystems so local people and wildlife can coexist and thrive.

Recent highlights of the program include:

  • 30+ threatened species protected, including the endangered black and white rhino, African elephant, pangolin, leopard, lion, hippo, cheetah, wild dog, brown hyena, and giraffe
  • 5,000,000 hectares of wilderness connected and secured across unique habitats in Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia
  • Nine reserves now equipped with networks and operation centers to gather real-time data and analysis, enabling infrastructure for new research and innovation
  • 96 percent reduction in poaching in Sabi Sand Game Reserve in the first 18 months of deployment when coupled with the conservation management team
  • Reduced response times from 30 to seven minutes, with real-time data bringing improved management and protection
  • An additional 50 rangers equipped with connectivity and communications to keep themselves and wildlife safe, totaling 150+ rangers
  • Six community-run Northern Rangelands Trust conservancies empowered as stewards of their natural capital via increased communication and speed of equitable, inclusive decision-making

Learn more about Connected Conservation.

Effluents and non-GHG emissions

Effluents (liquid)

We seek to locate our operations in areas where we can successfully serve our customers while limiting our negative environmental impacts. Effluent spills, such as water, chemical, oil, and fuel spills, can have significant negative impacts on the surrounding environment. They can potentially affect soil, water, air, biodiversity, and human health, as well as our business. We take this and other environmental health and safety issues very seriously. Cisco has had no significant spill/release/discharge to soil, groundwater, air, or other environmental receptor (in excess of 55 gallons or exceeding local regulatory reporting threshold) over the reporting year.

Effluent spills and discharges
KPI FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22
KPI: Spills and discharges FY18: None FY19: 1* FY20: None FY21: None FY22: None

*In fiscal 2019, a truck knocked over a fire hydrant on the San Jose campus, breaking the underground main line and causing an unplanned discharge of water for 20 minutes. The discharge was reported to the appropriate agency.

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 California Air Resources Board 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. In accordance with the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, we also have worked with our supply chain partners to phase out the use of ozone-depleting substances.

Non-GHG emissions
KPI FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22
KPI: Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions* FY18: Negligible FY19: Negligible FY20: Negligible FY21: Negligible FY22: Negligible
KPI: Nox, metric tonne FY18: 176 FY19: 156 FY20: 223 FY21: 81 FY22: 122
KPI: Sox, metric tonne FY18: 0.67 FY19: 0.59 FY20: 0.58 FY21: 0.28 FY22: 0.36
KPI: Particulate matter FY18: Negligible FY19: Negligible FY20: Negligible FY21: Negligible FY22: Negligible

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