Our Scope 2 emissions result almost exclusively from electricity use and represent 96 percent of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. As a result, implementing projects to reduce our electricity use and increasing our use of renewable electricity are major parts of our energy and GHG reduction strategy. See table for details.
Summary of Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions1
|KPITotal GHG emissions: Scope 1, metric tonne CO2e
||CommentsCOVID-19 reduced our fuel use significantly in FY21.
|KPITotal GHG emissions: Scope 2 (location-based), metric tonne CO2e
||Comments“Location-based” is used consistent with GHG Protocol and does not include renewable energy purchases.
|KPITotal GHG emissions: Scope 2 (market-based), metric tonne CO2e
||Comments“Market-based” is used consistent with GHG Protocol and includes renewable energy purchases.
|KPIScope 1 and 2 emissions (market-based) intensity, metric tonne CO2e per million dollars of revenue
||CommentsMarket-based intensity is a measure of operational efficiency commonly used by many Cisco stakeholders.
|KPIScope 2 emissions from primary data, percent
|KPITotal GHG emissions: Scope 1 and 2 (market- based), metric tonne CO2e
|KPIPercent progress against FY22 reduction goal2 |
Goal: Reduce total Cisco Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions worldwide by 60% absolute by FY22 (FY07 base year)
|FY07 baselinebase year
||CommentsResults are based on Scope 2 GHG Protocol methodology released in 2015. Cisco’s FY22 GHG reduction goal was announced in September 2017. Assurance statement available in Q1 2022.
Cisco uses the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard as the basis for our Scope 1 and 2 calculations. 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). See table for details.
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.
Electricity emissions factors1
|KPIIEA world average emission factor, g CO2e per kWh
||FY07 Base year507.1
||CommentsLatest factors used for our current FY21 report from IEA, RE-DISS, and EPA GHG Emissions Factors Hub. Prior years used the latest factors available at time of prior-year reporting. See footnotes for emission factor and GWP sources.2
|KPICisco global average electricity emission factor (location-based), g CO2e per kWh
||FY07 Base year437.9
|KPICisco global average electricity emission factor (market-based), g CO2e per kWh
||FY07 Base year392.5
We report market- and location-based Scope 2 emissions in accordance with the GHG Protocol’s Scope 2 guidance. Each year, an independent third party provides a limited assurance review of our Scope 1 and 2 GHG inventory. This limited assurance review is provided in accordance with the ISO 14064-3 International Standard. The assurance statement is available for download here. Any errors in energy data and emissions calculations discovered during the audit are corrected in the ESG hub and related disclosures after the assurance review is completed.
Historical Scope 1 and 2 emissions data may vary from previous publicly reported values, either in the most recent CDP survey or our previous CSR 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
|KPIEnergy generated, GWh
||FY07 Base year0
||CommentsCisco uses all the energy generated by its onsite solar PV systems and does not sell any energy.
|KPIEnergy usage, GWh
||FY07 Base year1239
|KPIIndirect energy usage, GWh
||FY07 Base year1025
||CommentsElectricity is the only indirect energy source used by Cisco—we do not purchase any heating, cooling, or steam.
|KPIDirect energy usage, GWh
||FY07 Base year213
||CommentsDirect 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.
|KPIElectricity usage, GWh
||FY07 Base year1025
|KPINatural gas usage, GWh
||FY07 Base year135
|KPIStationary diesel usage, GWh
||FY07 Base year18
||CommentsStationary diesel is typically used for backup power generation.
|KPIPropane usage, GWh
||FY07 Base year0.8
|KPITransportation fuel usage (combined gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel), GWh
||FY07 Base year59
||CommentsTransportation fuel includes regular gasoline and diesel fuel used in Cisco’s car fleet, and jet fuel used in leased jets.
|KPIEnergy use per unit of revenue, GWh of energy consumed per billion dollars in revenue
||FY07 Base year35.5
Hybrid work and sustainability
Hybrid work, in which employees split their time working from home, office, and on the go, is here to stay. Our collaboration tools enable hybrid work by reducing the need for business travel and commuting, and their resulting emissions. We know that the office has changed forever, and we won’t be using physical office spaces in the same way as before. We must transform the purpose of our offices to be centers of collaboration—places that people can come together for rituals, collective work, and connection.
In the hybrid world, we’ll best utilize our offices by transforming them into spaces optimized for teams to innovate, collaborate, and connect. Rethinking space utilization and designing energy-efficient and carbon-reducing buildings—these are all on the table as we transform how we work and the impact we have on the world around us.
Green building standards
We have integrated green building standards into our real estate since our first LEED-certified building was built in 2009. By the end of FY21, 32 Cisco facilities were certified by LEED, CASBEE, BREEAM, or by another comparable green building certification, and seven were in progress. The fully certified facilities represent 3.7 million square feet of LEED-certified space, which is about 20 percent of Cisco’s global real estate portfolio.
We also incorporate principles of green building standards into our standard workplace design, even if we’re not planning to certify them. These standards make our spaces healthier and more comfortable for our occupants while reducing our buildings’ environmental impact.
Energy efficiency in our buildings, labs, and data centers
Our Global Energy Management and Sustainability (GEMS) team leads all energy and sustainability initiatives across our 18 million square feet of global real estate. The team currently manages the US$45 million, five-year global EnergyOps program. EnergyOps aims to implement hundreds of efficiency and renewable energy projects every year through fiscal 2022. The GEMS team includes Cisco employees and contracted energy managers who have 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.
- Embedding sustainability and efficiency criteria into our building, lab, and data center design standards.
- Exploring and evaluating options for higher efficiency in all of Cisco’s real estate projects.
- Engaging employees to participate in resource conservation.
In fiscal 2021, the GEMS team implemented 24 energy efficiency projects that avoid 6.6 GWh of energy consumption and
2700 metric tonne CO2e.
In fiscal 2021, the GEMS team enabled Cisco to avoid approximately 6.6 GWh of energy consumption and 2700 metric tonne CO2e by investing US$3 million to implement 24 energy-efficiency projects, not including our renewable energy purchases or onsite renewable energy generation. These projects included:
- 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.
- Improving cooling tower water filtration in RTP to increase heat transfer capability, improve water quality, and minimize fouling.
- 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 the over 360 energy-efficiency and onsite renewable energy projects we have implemented since fiscal 2017 have avoided approximately 118 GWh of energy and 52,250 metric tonne CO2e. This program has also allowed us to make our operations more efficient and increase the amount of renewable electricity we buy, directly contributing to the achievement of the 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 the GHG reduction projects implemented between fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2021.
Energy and GHG emissions reduction projects1
|KPINumber of projects implemented
|KPIAnnual energy avoided, GWh/yr
|KPITotal estimated annual CO2e savings, metric tonne CO2e/yr
Labs and data centers
The majority of our operational electricity is used to power and cool equipment in our labs and data centers. Increasing the energy efficiency of these spaces is our greatest opportunity to reduce Cisco’s operational GHG emissions and energy costs. We can do this by focusing on efficiency in the design of our labs and practicing smart approaches to utilization and power management.
Our Global Lab Specification includes efficiency standards for new, high-density labs and retrofits. Our standards mandate airflow management in all new labs globally and recommend it for renovation projects. EnergyOps projects, as well as projects initiated by lab managers, also help us improve existing airflow management, ventilation, cooling, and other building infrastructure systems.
To reduce electricity usage in our labs and data centers, we use smart power distribution units to monitor our lab equipment. We increase server utilization by using virtual machines. Our Cisco Customer Experience labs use a check-in, check-out system of automation pods to allow lab employees to set up configurations virtually and then release equipment when they are finished with it. This system maximizes the number of people who can use the equipment, minimizes the amount of equipment physically needed in each lab, and reduces the amount of energy used collectively by our labs. When a lab team moves to a different lab, users remove unused or old equipment, thereby saving space, power, and cooling.
Our data center efficiency strategy focuses on design, utilization, and power management. Our data centers in RTP, North Carolina, and Allen, Texas, were designed to achieve a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.41 and 1.35 at full load, respectively. Both centers have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) New Construction (NC) Gold Certification (v2.2) from the U.S. Green Building Council for incorporating numerous sustainable design features.
Examples of efficiency retrofits we completed in our labs and data centers over the last several years include:
- Balancing airflow and improving hot and cold aisle containment.
- Replacing electric-resistance heaters with more efficient heat pumps in our backup generators.
- Retrofitting existing Computer Room Air Handling units with EC fans to allow more efficient variable fan speed.
- Installing mixed-mode waterside economizers to allow greater utilization of free cooling throughout the year.
We have also increased efficiency by migrating IT loads into key locations. By consolidating our footprint, we’ve reduced our square footage costs and our overall electricity use. Refer to a later section, Scope 3 category 1: purchased goods and services, for a discussion of outsourced IT GHG emissions.
Cisco maintains a fleet of company cars for our employees in Europe and has been working to reduce the Scope 1 GHG emissions associated with this fleet over the last five years. 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 (WLTP). 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 full electric vehicles.
Percentage EVs in Cisco company cars
|Total fleet size
|Number of electric vehicles
|Percentage of electric vehicles
Cisco also maintains over 500 ports available for employees and guests at our headquarters in San Jose. 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 reported.
Generating and purchasing low-carbon electricity is a key component of our GHG reduction strategy. We prefer onsite power projects where possible, but offsite power is often the better option due to factors such as location, budget, and space constraints. While we do use unbundled renewable energy certificates (RECs) today to help meet our renewable energy goal, we continue to engage utilities and renewable energy providers to expand both our onsite and offsite renewable energy activities so we can help support the development of new renewable energy systems in locations where we operate.