With Earth day right around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to discuss Cisco’s role in sustainability. We are proud to share that we have been awarded the 2016 Climate Leadership Award from the EPA for our work making our supply chain more sustainable. At Cisco we’re not only energy conscious and engaging in programs ourselves, but we’re also enabling our customers to be more sustainable.

Here are a few ways we’re driving change:

Reducing CO2 Emissions

We installed 1,300 sensors in one of our Malaysian factories to monitor operational energy consumption. We used our technology and analytics to reduce the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing our products – and saved money in the process.


We plan to use this same technology across all of our factories. In addition, we set a GHG emissions reduction goal of 40% by 2017, using the 2007 levels as a benchmark. We built this on top of a 38.7% reduction between 2007 and 2012.

Creating a Culture of Change
We also make reducing emissions a priority upfront when we engage with internal teams, partners, and suppliers. Last year we encouraged 130 suppliers to have strong sustainability programs, making up more than 80% of our supply chain. We also make sure carbon reduction is measured and audited across our entire supply chain (see scorecard).


Last year we launched an Integrated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction program that accelerates sustainability progress around carbon reduction initiatives for outsourced manufacturing.

As part of this we:

  • Encourage suppliers to publish CSR reports
  • Require suppliers to report GHG emissions and targets via CDP and our scorecard
  • Conduct site audits of high-risk supplier facilities
  • Use tools like Labor Link to gather actionable, direct feedback from factory workers

Eliminating Waste
We are moving to a circular economy by providing trade-in and take-back programs to bring back the products we or our acquired companies have sold to our partners and end-user customers. Of products sent to our e-scrap recyclers, nearly 100% are recycled, and all commodity parts go to downstream recyclers to be made into new products. During FY15, we refurbished, resold, or reused over 2903 metric tons of products that were returned to us. We also avoided using approximately 413 metric tons of material (corrugated board, plastic, wood, and other packaging materials) and 6,402 metric tons of CO2e in 2015.

Defending Human Rights

We drive the highest standards at Cisco and our suppliers. We ensure safe working conditions and safe labor practices, and drive an industry-wide code of conduct. For example, we discovered that factory workers in Malaysia were paying excessive recruitment fees at one of our supplier locations. Verite’s survey of 500 migrant IT factory workers in Malaysia reported that 77% were charged fees and had to borrow money to pay them. We acted swiftly, immediately eliminated recruitment fees, and returned $251,000 USD back to impacted migrant workers.

We’re Committing to More in 2016

We’re working on the following goals for this year:sustainability-blog-3We feel that sustainability is a bigger priority than ever before. As our CEO Chuck Robbins put it:


As we continue this journey, we want to extend a big thank you to all of our employees, partners, and teams throughout the world who make these initiatives a reality. To dive into more of the details, view our Corporate Social Responsibility Report.


Douglas Bellin

Global Lead, Industries

Manufacturing and Energy