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Climate Change and
Scope 1 & 2 GHG Emissions

We are investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy to reduce the GHG impact of our operations.

Climate change and GHG emissions are high-priority topics among all stakeholder groups. Climate change presents a long-term strategic imperative for Cisco; not just to manage the risks, but also to enable the transition to a low-carbon future. As one of the world’s largest providers of cloud, networking, hybrid work, and security technologies, we are committed to leveraging our scale and innovation to ensure that our increasingly digital future is sustainable and regenerative.

We are helping to address our impacts on climate change by reducing our energy use and GHG emissions across our value chain through energy-efficiency initiatives, investments in renewable energy, engagement with our supply chain partners, and improvements to the efficiency of our products.

Cisco has committed to net zero GHG emissions across all
scopes by 2040.

GHG emissions goals

In September 2021, Cisco committed to net zero GHG emissions across all scopes by 2040, 10 years ahead of when many leading climate scientists say the planet must reach net zero to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Our net zero goal covers Cisco’s full carbon footprint, including the use of our products, our operations, and our supply chain. Strategies Cisco will adopt to achieve net zero include:

  • Continuing to increase the energy efficiency of our products through innovative product design.
  • Accelerating use of renewable energy.
  • Embracing hybrid work.
  • Investing in carbon removal solutions.
  • Further embedding sustainability and circular economy principles across our business.

Our goal is supported by ambitious near-term targets, including to reach net zero for all global Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025.

This bold commitment builds upon more than a decade of setting and achieving emissions goals. All of our current and past energy and GHG emissions goals, along with other environmental goals, are summarized here.

We form our GHG emissions reduction goals based on internal best practices and expert opinions, including recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Our fiscal 2022 targets covering our Scope 1 and 2 emissions are approved by the SBTi and are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to well below 2°C. We plan to pursue SBTi approval for our fiscal 2025 net zero Scope 1 and 2 goal and our 2040 net zero Scope 1–3 goal in fiscal 2022.

Cisco typically sets public goals in five-year increments. We also set internal annual targets that are reviewed on a regular cadence to ensure continuous progress is made against our public goals.

Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions

We have a comprehensive sustainability strategy for our real estate portfolio that includes increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, purchasing renewable energy for our internal operations, reducing or eliminating underutilized space, and ensuring sustainability in the way we operate these facilities.

In September 2021, we committed to reach net zero for all global Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025. This new target supports our ambitious goal to reach net zero across all scopes by 2040, and builds upon our previous Scope 1 and 2 goal to reduce emissions by 60 percent by fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2007 baseline, which we met one year early in fiscal 2021.

In fiscal 2021, our Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions were over 60 percent lower than our fiscal 2007 baseline on an absolute basis.

To achieve and maintain our Scope 1 and 2 GHG reductions through fiscal 2022, we will:

  • Invest more than US$45 million between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2022 in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Implement hundreds of energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy projects across our real estate portfolio.
  • Increase renewable energy procurement through utility green power programs, power purchase agreements (PPAs), and renewable energy certificates (RECs).

We are in the process of finalizing our investment plans for fiscal 2022–fiscal 2025 to meet our net zero Scope 1 and 2 goal, which will be shared in our fiscal 2022 CSR reporting. Reducing our energy consumption and GHG emissions while enabling a diverse energy supply for our operations helps us stay competitive and benefits the environment.

Our overall strategy for our Scope 1 and 2 emissions is:

Use our real estate space more efficiently.

Increase the energy efficiency of our real estate operations.

Generate low-carbon electricity from onsite systems and purchase renewable energy.

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

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
KPI FY07 baseline FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 Comments
KPITotal GHG emissions: Scope 1, metric tonne CO2e FY07 baseline48,311 FY1741,926 FY1841,171 FY1946,652 FY2038,743 FY2126,694 CommentsCOVID-19 reduced our fuel use significantly in FY21.
KPITotal GHG emissions: Scope 2 (location-based), metric tonne CO2e FY07 baseline448,950 FY17744,929 FY18666,708 FY19651,331 FY20607,218 FY21579,445 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 FY07 baseline402,422 FY17223,558 FY18205,141 FY19187,428 FY20163,645 FY21147,801 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 FY07 baseline12.9 FY175.4 FY185.0 FY194.5 FY204.1 FY213.5 CommentsMarket-based intensity is a measure of operational efficiency commonly used by many Cisco stakeholders.
KPIScope 2 emissions from primary data, percent FY07 baseline96.4% FY1798.0% FY1898.2% FY1997.5% FY2097.7% FY2198.4% Comments 
KPITotal GHG emissions: Scope 1 and 2 (market- based), metric tonne CO2e FY07 baseline450,733 FY17265,484 FY18246,312 FY19234,080 FY20202,388 FY21174,494 Comments 
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 FY1741.1% FY1845.4% FY1948.1% FY2055.1% FY2161.3% 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.

1 Our reporting policy for environmental metrics is to show the base year, data for the past five completed years, the goal, and progress against the goal.

2 Scope 2 emissions for all years have been adjusted to reflect the GHG Protocol’s new Scope 2 guidance. This new guidance was released in 2015 and had material impacts on Cisco’s current and Scope 2 figures calculated prior to 2015.

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
KPI FY07 Base year FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 Comments
KPIIEA world average emission factor, g CO2e per kWh FY07 Base year507.1 FY17506.0 FY18491.8 FY19487.5 FY20480.9 FY21477.0 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 FY17447.1 FY18407.9 FY19404.7 FY20390.9 FY21383.1 Comments 
KPICisco global average electricity emission factor (market-based), g CO2e per kWh FY07 Base year392.5 FY17134.5 FY18125.5 FY19116.5 FY20105.4 FY2197.7 Comments 

1 Our reporting policy for environmental metrics is to show the base year, data for the past five completed years, the goal, and progress against the goal.

2 Cisco used emission factors from the following databases for its fiscal 2021 GHG inventory: 2021 IEA Electricity Information Database 2019 IEA factors, 2020 EU Residual Mix Factors from RE-DISS, Center for Corporate Climate Leadership GHG Emission Factors Hub (updated April 2021). 2021 country-specific emission factors for Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, and United Kingdom provided from those countries’ governments. 100-year GWPs from IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), 2007.

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
KPI FY07 Base year FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 Comments
KPIEnergy generated, GWh FY07 Base year0 FY172.6 FY182.6 FY192.2 FY202.3 FY212.4 CommentsCisco uses all the energy generated by its onsite solar PV systems and does not sell any energy.
KPIEnergy usage, GWh FY07 Base year1239 FY171831 FY181815 FY191810 FY201717 FY211624 Comments 
KPIIndirect energy usage, GWh FY07 Base year1025 FY171656 FY181637 FY191612 FY201556 FY211515 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 FY17176 FY18178 FY19199 FY20162 FY21109 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 FY171656 FY181637 FY191612 FY201556 FY211515 Comments 
KPINatural gas usage, GWh FY07 Base year135 FY1790 FY1890 FY1993 FY2079 FY2153 Comments 
KPIStationary diesel usage, GWh FY07 Base year18 FY1715 FY1821 FY1920 FY2019 FY2110 CommentsStationary diesel is typically used for backup power generation.
KPIPropane usage, GWh FY07 Base year0.8 FY172 FY182 FY192 FY200.9 FY210.8 Comments 
KPITransportation fuel usage (combined gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel), GWh FY07 Base year59 FY1768 FY1865 FY1984 FY2062 FY2147 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 FY1737.2 FY1836.8 FY1934.9 FY2034.8 FY2132.6 Comments 

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
KPI FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21
KPINumber of projects implemented FY17103 FY18145 FY1948 FY2044 FY2124
KPIAnnual energy avoided, GWh/yr FY1740.1 FY1832.4 FY1919.4 FY2019.3 FY216.6
KPITotal estimated annual CO2e savings, metric tonne CO2e/yr FY1723,600 FY1810,300 FY197100 FY208550 FY212700

1 Does not include renewable energy purchases

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.

Electric vehicles

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
  FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21
Total fleet size FY175950 FY185440 FY194772 FY204620 FY213562
Number of electric vehicles FY17420 FY18469 FY19540 FY20773 FY21984
Percentage of electric vehicles FY177.1% FY188.6% FY1911.3% FY2015.7% FY2127.6%

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.

Renewable energy

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.

We identify and evaluate potential projects in the following order:

Onsite power opportunities

Green power contracts with utilities

Offsite power opportunities


Onsite renewable power

We have 2.9 MW of onsite solar PV installations in Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and India that produce an average 3.3 million kWh of electricity, avoiding 1200 metric tonne CO2e each year over the projected 25-year life of the systems. We continue to look for new onsite renewable opportunities and are currently planning to add two new onsite solar projects in Raleigh, North Carolina, and India in fiscal 2022 or fiscal 2023.

Purchasing renewable electricity

Purchasing electricity generated from renewable or other low-carbon sources is a key component of our GHG reduction strategy. We have purchased renewable electricity in the United States and Europe since fiscal 2006 by buying RECs and entering into green power contracts with various electricity suppliers.

We are actively exploring how to increase the percentage of renewable energy obtained from utility contracts and PPAs. We engage with green power providers and buyers through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) and also participate in the EPA's Green Power Partnership, where we are consistently ranked highly in their Green Power Top Partner Rankings.

In fiscal 2021, Cisco purchased 100 percent of the electricity used at Cisco facilities in the United States, Canada, and various European countries from renewable sources and RECs. We sourced 200 GWh of solar RECs generated in North Carolina and continued to participate in Duke Energy’s Green Rider program to increase the amount of local renewable energy we procure for our Research Triangle Park campus. We also continued participation in Austin Energy’s Green Choice program to purchase 100 percent of the electricity used at our facilities in Austin, Texas, from local wind power systems.

We continued to expand our renewable electricity purchases in India in fiscal 2021 by entering into new long-term and short-term power purchase agreements in the country. These agreements bring our total electricity sourced from renewables in India to 66 percent, up from 2 percent in fiscal 2015. These investments reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions, because we have significant operations in the country, and the electricity sector in India is dominated by fossil fuels.

Electricity from low-carbon sources (renewables)
Base year
FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21
KPIElectricity from renewable sources, GWh FY07 Base year110 FY171324 FY181344 FY191344 FY201292 FY211292
KPIPercent progress against renewable energy goal
Goal: Use electricity generated from renewable sources for 85% of our global electricity by FY22

Assurance statement available in April 2022.
FY07 Base year11% FY1780% FY1882% FY1983% FY2083% FY2185%
Electricity usage from renewable sources by region
Region FY07
Base year
FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21
RegionEMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Russia) FY07 Base year31% FY1749% FY1862% FY1965% FY2063% FY2161%
RegionIndia FY07 Base year0% FY1745% FY1849% FY1952% FY2060% FY2166%
RegionUnited States FY07 Base year10% FY17100% FY18100% FY19100% FY20100% FY21100%