Cisco’s Bold Vision for a Sustainable Future

Explore Cisco’s groundbreaking “Plan for Possible” – a comprehensive sustainability strategy that tackles climate change, clean energy, circular business models, and resilient ecosystems.

Cisco, a prominent global player in technology and networking solutions, has unveiled an ambitious and all-encompassing environmental sustainability initiative known as the “Plan for Possible.” This strategy is designed to forge a regenerative future.

The current year is poised to set a new record as the hottest year on record, underlining the urgent need to cap temperature increases at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius to avert catastrophic climate changes. We are currently at 1.1 degrees Celsius, making it imperative to transition to a sustainable future. This future envisions reducing reliance on fossil fuels, addressing a century’s worth of pollution, fostering economic opportunities for communities worldwide, and aligning our actions with the Earth’s physical limitations. The progress made during this decade will hold immense significance for generations to come.

Recognizing these pressing issues, Cisco is moving beyond the conventional “do no harm” approach and crafting a comprehensive strategy for environmental sustainability. The “Plan for Possible” encompasses how the company conducts its business, engages with suppliers, and aids customers and communities in lessening their environmental footprint while adapting to a changing world.

Mary de Wysocki, Chief Sustainability Officer at Cisco, emphasized, “The world is interconnected, yet we are grappling with novel forms of disconnection – from one another, our well-being, and the health of our planet. Fortunately, technology can serve as a catalyst for reimagining operational and business models in ways that are both digital and low-carbon, while also enhancing individual welfare and creating opportunities for communities. With Cisco technology, we are facilitating the global transition to affordable clean energy through the digitalization of smart grids and buildings, eliminating waste by repurposing products, and employing the Internet of Things (IoT) to safeguard biodiversity.”

Priority 1: Transition to Clean Energy

To power the world with renewable energy, the grid necessitates modernized digital infrastructure to connect various decentralized sources of clean energy. Simultaneously, as the world electrifies, there is a need to reduce energy consumption within a connected economy. As part of this priority, Cisco has set an ambitious goal to achieve Net Zero emissions across its entire value chain, including its suppliers and customers’ energy usage, by 2040. The company is addressing this by pioneering energy-efficient innovations, linking clean energy with digitalization, and collaborating with customers, partners, and suppliers to expedite the transition to clean energy. With connectivity at the core of digitalization, Cisco is uniquely positioned to equip businesses with technological solutions that help them attain their sustainability objectives. This includes the Silicon One chip, a networking device for AI processing that reduces energy consumption while increasing bandwidth, as well as Universal Power Over Ethernet (PoE) for optimizing energy use in smart buildings. Cisco is also assisting its supply chain in setting greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Priority 2: Transform the Business into a Circular Model

Cisco’s aim is to revamp its business model to extend the lifespan of its products and provide ongoing services. This transformation involves adopting and scaling circular business models to prolong product utility and reduce environmental impacts, investing in technology incubation to stay aligned with environmental science, and advocating for a digital, nature-positive value chain. Cisco is on track to integrate circular design principles into 100% of its new products and packaging by 2025. Furthermore, the company has introduced several programs to promote circularity in its value chain, including the Cisco Takeback and Reuse Program, Green Pay (a circular IT payment solution), and remanufacturing devices through Cisco Refresh.

Priority 3: Invest in Resilient Ecosystems

Recognizing the critical importance of resilient ecosystems and regenerative solutions, Cisco’s third priority is to enable communities to adapt to climate realities, foster talent for a regenerative economy, and utilize technology to protect and restore ecosystems. In 2021, the Cisco Foundation committed $100 million over ten years to invest in climate solutions that actively reduce carbon in the atmosphere and aid in regenerating depleted ecosystems. All of Cisco’s strategic priorities are underpinned by robust governance measures aimed at integrating sustainability into its operations, with a commitment to remaining aligned with advancements in scientific understanding.

Bee Kheng Tay, President of Cisco ASEAN, emphasized the importance of sustainability in the ASEAN region’s agenda and highlighted Cisco’s dedication to collaborating with businesses in the region on their digital transformation journeys, with a focus on digital and sustainable choices for a more environmentally friendly future.

Cisco’s “Plan for Possible” represents a visionary commitment to environmental sustainability and a regenerative future. With the world facing pressing challenges related to climate change, energy transition, and ecosystem resilience, Cisco is stepping up and taking action beyond the ordinary. By prioritizing clean energy, adopting circular business models, and investing in resilient ecosystems, Cisco is not only aligning itself with the imperative of our times but also setting an inspiring example for businesses worldwide. As we navigate the critical decade ahead, Cisco’s holistic approach serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder that, together, we can forge a more sustainable and connected world. This ambitious strategy underscores the vital role of technology in addressing our global challenges while fostering economic opportunities and safeguarding our precious planet for generations to come.