As we look ahead to 2021, delivering Europe’s recovery will be the driving force for governments across the region. We commend the EU efforts in this and in making sure the recovery is used to reinvent the economy and fuel the green and digital twin transitions. The spending targets of 37% for green and 20% for digital will be key anchors for delivery across the region. We welcome the EU environment ministers’ conclusions on Digitalisation for the benefit of the environment. At Cisco, we are ready to work with governments, customers and partners across the region to contribute to achieving these objectives both in limiting our own impact on climate change but also in enabling the move of other industries towards sustainability.
How can we limit our own impact on climate change?
- Renewable energy: I am delighted that we have already achieved our goal of 100% renewable energy in the U.S., Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. At Cisco, we are on track to have electricity generated from renewable sources for at least 85% of our global electricity before the end of 2021 and to reduce our direct emissions by 60% in 2022.
- Circular design and consumption: by designing our products and packaging for reuse, repair, recycling, resource efficiency, and by managing our equipment for multiple lifecycles, we decrease the emissions associated with extracting materials and manufacturing new products. We are on track to design 100% of new Cisco products and packaging to incorporate Circular Design Principles by 2025. We are also working towards delivering our 100% take back pledge made by our CEO Chuck Robbins at WEF 2019.
- Supply chain sustainability: We have been working for over 10 years with our suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project. By 2030, we plan a 30 percent absolute reduction in our supply chain-related Scope 3 GHG emissions and we are working closely with our suppliers to set public absolute CO2 emission reduction targets to that effect.
More details on what Cisco is doing to limit its impact on climate change can be found here.
How can we help other industries move towards sustainability?
Our products are the foundation of cloud, data center, cell network and digital operations across businesses and organisations worldwide. As the world’s largest provider of networking, collaboration and security technologies, Cisco has the opportunity and responsibility to help our customers, partners, and suppliers decrease their environmental footprint. Digital technologies such as Collaboration, Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence have significant potential to enable other sectors to reduce their emissions and improve resource efficiency. They are also key to providing the infrastructure needed for the development of circular business models.
- Remote collaboration tools that allow people to work and meet from anywhere and reduce physical travel have gained widescale acceptance during 2020’s massive transition to remote work. These technologies offer great opportunity for reduction of emissions. As an example, a study done in Sweden shows that just by transitioning from 15% to 30% virtual meetings, Sweden could reduce its CO2 emissions by 550,000T.
- Smart buildings and cities: smart solutions enabled by Cisco networking technology not only help drive connectivity, productivity, and security for buildings, cities, and communities, they also help reduce energy consumption.
- Product energy efficiency: We use lifecycle assessments (LCAs) to estimate the GHG emissions and environmental impacts of our products through their entire lifecycles. Through LCAs, we know that the use phase of our products consumes the largest proportion of energy—and is responsible for the most GHG emissions. New products, such as the Cisco 8000 Series routers, use a variety of design features to reduce energy consumption and material use, both of which reduce GHG emissions for our customers.
We appreciate the leadership shown by the European Commission and by European governments, and we support the ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. We look forward to working with partners, customers, governments and the EU to play our part in delivering this goal.