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It Takes a Village to Green a City

June 24, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the privilege to assist the City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability in developing a city-wide Climate Action Plan (CAP).  This scope of this plan is not limited to the city’s own operations, although there is a plan for that as well, but instead looks at the entire carbon and environmental footprint for the whole city, it’s inhabitants, businesses, everything!

It goes without saying that this in an enormous undertaking that very few cities have even tried.  My biggest take-away from participating in and observing the process is the importance of broad stakeholder engagement when working to improve environmental sustainability.  And that thought resonates when I consider the success factors for the programs that I have been a part of in private industry.  The team working on the CAP included 50 individuals with sustainability expertise representing government, private companies, and community organizations in the greater Cleveland region.

Since joining Cisco three years ago, my job has been to reduce the climate impact of Cisco’s internal operations.  We achieved our 2012 carbon reduction goals of 25% and are now gearing up for our 2017 goal of 40% reduction (for a 2007 baseline).  As a resident of Cleveland, I was excited to take my experiences at Cisco and volunteer my time and expertise to Cleveland’s project.

So why is it important to cast a wide net when engaging stakeholders?

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Cisco Tied for #1 with Google on Greenpeace Cool IT Leaderboard

April 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm PST

Greenpeace started evaluating global Information Technology (IT) companies in 2009 because IT companies have a central role to play in enabling a modern, renewable-powered energy infrastructure. The IT sector has the opportunity to drive transformative change in the consumption and production of energy, with the potential to drive a significant reduction in the greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Today it was announced that Cisco is tied with Google for the top spot on the Cool IT Leaderboard -- a scoring system that analyzes IT companies’ contributions to achieving global greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 15 percent by 2020.

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The Greenpeace analysis of Cisco’s performance said “Cisco’s leadership improved across each of the three evaluation areas, particularly for updated commitments to manage its energy footprint and increase the amount of renewable energy powering its operations.”

Read more about Cisco’s programs to help the environment in our 2012 CSR Report.

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Cisco Announces New Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals

In our fiscal year 2012, which ended in July, Cisco completed and met our latest greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal.  To recap our past goals:

  • September 2006: Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to reduce GHG emissions from all Cisco business air travel worldwide by 10% absolute (FY06 baseline).
    This goal was met in 2009.
  • June 2008: EPA Climate Leaders commitment to reduce all Scope 1, 2, and business-air-travel Scope 3 GHG emissions worldwide by 25% absolute by CY12 (CY07 baseline).
    Both the Scope 1 / 2, and Scope 3 parts of this goal were met in 2012.

We believe formal goals should address the most material environmental issues—which for Cisco are GHG and energy. Over the years, we accumulated several insights—some learned on our own and others suggested by stakeholders—that informed the creation of our new goals.  Below, I introduce our new goals and the thinking behind each one.

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