Skip to Main Content
(Press Enter)

Circular Economy and Supply Chain Excellence

Environmental Stewardship

We have a responsibility to reduce the environmental impacts from our global network of component, manufacturing, and logistics suppliers.

GHG emissions

Cisco committed to reduce supply-chain–related Scope 3 GHG emissions by 30 percent absolute by fiscal 2030 (fiscal 2019 base year). To support Cisco in meeting this goal suppliers are expected to report GHG emissions and energy consumption to CDP on an annual basis. Our expectations for supplier reporting are laid out below:

  • Providing a complete and accurate inventory of corporate-wide Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions
  • Making the response publicly available via the option provided by CDP
  • Demonstrating verification (third-party review) of reported GHG emissions
  • Setting an absolute GHG emissions reduction goal and reporting annual progress against that goal
  • Requesting that suppliers and business partners also report to CDP using the same process as above

Reducing material waste

Our focus on developing and promoting a circular economy has driven efforts to better understand how materials are consumed upstream in our supply chain. Cisco has committed that 70 percent of Cisco component and manufacturing suppliers by spend will achieve a zero-waste diversion rate at one or more sites by fiscal 2025. To support Cisco in meeting this goal, manufacturing suppliers are expected to monitor and collect waste diversion data. These requirements include:

  • Reporting facility-level data to Cisco as requested
  • Striving to achieve a zero-waste diversion rate across each site

In fiscal 2020, Cisco continued our partnership with TRUE Zero Waste to support and verify completion of our manufacturing partners’ efforts to achieve a zero-waste diversion rate at specific sites and to maximize their efficiency in the use of resources. We are in the final stages of the TRUE certification process for Cisco operations at partner manufacturing sites in China and Thailand, and plan to kick off similar initiatives at manufacturing partner sites in Mexico and Malaysia in the first half of fiscal 2021.

Improving water security

During fiscal 2020, we dug further into how we could help to improve environmental vitality of water systems in the areas where our supply chain operates. We conducted a survey to identify the water consumption levels of different commodity types within our supply chain. Leveraging World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct tools and the data we collected from suppliers, we were able to identify high water consumption supplier sites operating in water-stressed areas. As a result, we have prioritized suppliers to engage in capability-building in partnership with the Alliance for Water Stewardship in fiscal 2021. Our goal is to reduce water-related risks to business and improve the health of water ecosystems long-term.

We also broadened the scope of environmental reporting and transparency to help us better understand the water footprint in our global supply chain. In addition to reporting GHG emissions, we asked suppliers to complete the CDP water survey.

Supplier environmental performance on GHG and waste

Our suppliers are essential partners as we work to improve environmental performance across our value chain. The following table shows the historical carbon emissions and waste performance of our direct suppliers.

  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Supply chain GHG emissions
Supplier engagement
Suppliers with a public absolute GHG reduction target1 2016: 2017: 2018: 2019: 23% 2020: 33%
Environmental impact - GHG emissions reduction
Cisco supply chain-related Scope 3 GHG emissions, metric tonnes CO2e2 2016: 2017: 2018: 2019: 1,720,0005 2020: 6
Percent progress against FY30 reduction goal Goal: Reduce Cisco supply chain-related Scope 3 GHG emissions by 30 percent absolute by FY30 (FY19 base year3) 2016: 2017: 2018: 2019: -- 2020: 6
Supply chain material waste
Supplier engagement
Suppliers achieving a zero-waste diversion metric at at least one site4 2016: 2017: 2018: 2019: 21% 2020: 23%
CDP supplier reporting - climate change
Manufacturing partners
Report Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions to CDP 2016: 100% 2017: 100% 2018: 100% 2019: 100% 2020: 100%
Make this response publicly available 2016: 40% 2017: 33% 2018: 99% 2019: 88% 2020: 100%
3rd party verify Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions 2016: 22% 2017: 78% 2018: 99% 2019: 99% 2020: 100%
Set a GHG reduction target 2016: 100% 2017: 44% 2018: 100% 2019: 100% 2020: 100%
Engage their suppliers on GHG emissions 2016: 87% 2017: 32% 2018: 87% 2019: 86% 2020: 83%
Component suppliers
Report Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions to CDP 2016: 81% 2017: 86% 2018: 86% 2019: 83% 2020: 86%
Make this response publicly available 2016: 56% 2017: 50% 2018: 70% 2019: 73% 2020: 76%
3rd party verify Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions 2016: 47% 2017: 58% 2018: 64% 2019: 60% 2020: 62%
Set a GHG reduction target 2016: 74% 2017: 64% 2018: 74% 2019: 70% 2020: 69%
Engage their suppliers on GHG emissions 2016: 49% 2017: 54% 2018: 65% 2019: 66% 2020: 69%
Logistics suppliers
Report Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions to CDP 2016: 97% 2017: 96% 2018: 96% 2019: 95% 2020: 96%
Make this response publicly available 2016: 92% 2017: 67% 2018: 89% 2019: 95% 2020: 96%
3rd party verify Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions 2016: 60% 2017: 64% 2018: 62% 2019: 73% 2020: 76%
Set a GHG reduction target 2016: 88% 2017: 91% 2018: 64% 2019: 73% 2020: 71%
Engage their suppliers on GHG emissions 2016: 87% 2017: 86% 2018: 88% 2019: 85% 2020: 85%

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

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

3 According to GRI, the term “base year” refers to the year against which the measurement is tracked over time. “Baseline” refers to the measurement itself.

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

5 Due to the nature of Scope 3 targets and how emissions are calculated, we have established a standard process to govern any future required adjustments, e.g., due to the availability of new data or improved methodology. While we do not expect any such changes to impact these figures more than 1%, any increase or decrease exceeding this threshold would cause a restatement of the baseline.

6 Due to the standard lag between when emissions occur at our suppliers and when they are reported to Cisco through CDP, we will be reporting our FY19 baseline in this report. Progress against this goal will not be available until our 2021 CSR report (when we have the data to calculate our FY20 results).

Environmental risk management in China

We have an ongoing partnership with Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) and conduct a series of activities to prevent and mitigate the environmental risk from our supplier sites in mainland China. We are recognized for our work on Green Supply Chain by IPE and were ranked 2nd in the IT industry for the Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) at the end of fiscal 2020.

IPE Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) ranking, IT sector
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
201513 201611 201712 20187 20192 20202

Some of the work we conduct leverages IPE’s Blue Map database which identifies existing and historical environmental violations. We work closely with these suppliers to ensure that they remediate any environmental issues and comply with the local environmental law. In addition, Cisco requires suppliers to publish their corrective actions on the IPE website to improve environmental transparency, and get the violations addressed and delisted within the required timeline. In fiscal 2020, 50 supplier sites in mainland China remediated environmental violations and were delisted from the IPE Blue Map.

We also work with our manufacturing partners to cascade these expectations to components suppliers in a program called the Green Supply Chain initiative. By building the capability of suppliers, we can influence better environmental performance and transparency further down in the supply chain. In fiscal 2020, 100 percent of our manufacturing partners in mainland China set up programs to manage their suppliers’ environmental performance using IPE Blue Map. With direct one-on-one coaching from Cisco, partners developed the capacity to identify their suppliers’ environmental pollution violations and work with suppliers on remediation. IPE recognized one of our partners for their focused efforts to launch and scale the program without prior experience. They shared their positive experience of working with Cisco at the IPE Annual Forum so peers, NGOs, government, and other stakeholders could learn from it. These manufacturing partners regularly report to Cisco the environmental violations identified within their supply chains, how they engage with their suppliers, and how many violations have been resolved. They receive continued guidance from Cisco on driving successful pollution abatement programs.

Environmental reporting and transparency are critical to understanding the environmental impact of our supply chain. This reporting includes making information publicly available on what chemicals are being released to the air, water, and soil, and what pollutants are being transferred to another site for treatment and disposal. Collecting this data also helps us identify environmental conservation initiatives and to set supply chain goals for reducing pollution. To drive this work, we encourage high environmental impact suppliers to disclose energy conservation, water, air, and waste information through the Pollution Release and Transfer Report (PRTR) reporting system on the IPE website. In fiscal 2020, 102 supplier sites completed PRTR reporting compared to 60 in fiscal 2019. We saw large increases in part by motivating our manufacturing partners to ask their high environmental impact suppliers to complete this reporting.

We are also taking steps to help suppliers address current environmental compliance challenges. In fiscal 2020, we organized virtual environmental training seminars with more than 219 attendees from 173 suppliers. The seminars included presentations and how to protect the environment in their daily operations. For manufacturing partners who have struggled with addressing their pollution violations, we hired third-party consultants to identify gaps and coach partners to implement corrective actions onsite for more than four months. After coaching, the facilities were able to successfully mitigate and remediate identified environmental issues and validate closure through IPE’s review processes.