Cloud Computing

The Plan for Possible: Connecting a regenerative future


As a global tech leader with more than 83,000 employees across 95 countries, it is critical for Cisco to operate in a way that protects human rights; facilitates diversity, inclusion, and equitable opportunity; empowers vulnerable communities; and protects the planet. ​

Our holistic approach to environmental sustainability includes how we operate our business, how we engage with suppliers, and how we help customers and communities reduce their environmental impacts and adapt to a changing world.

Today, the world is more connected than ever before, but we’re suffering from new forms of disconnection: from each other, from our health, and from the health of the planet.

As a company, we’re committed to leveraging our unique strengths to power an inclusive future for all. But we can’t have any kind of future if we don’t have a healthy planet. That’s why we’re focusing on not just a sustainable future, but a regenerative one. Regeneration means moving beyond a “doing no harm” mindset to one in which we build the capacity of our social and environmental systems to heal and thrive.

Earth just had its hottest June on record. If we don’t limit global temperature rise to less than 1.5° Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, we will face dramatic consequences, as natural disasters such as floods, more severe and frequent weather events, longer and more severe droughts, and food shortages can be exacerbated by a changing climate.

How do we limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C? In short, the world must reach zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. If that sounds hard, it’s because it will be. But the science says we can get there if we act now and act with urgency.

We must build a sustainable future: one in which we can phase out our reliance on fossil fuels, address a century’s worth of pollution, provide economic opportunity to communities around the world, and align our activities with the physical boundaries of our Earth.

We believe that future is possible, and Cisco can help get us there. We have a plan:​

  • It is possible to power the world with affordable clean energy, so we are helping to digitize smart grids and smart buildings.​
  • It is possible to design out waste, so we are re-building products from used ones.​
  • It is possible to strengthen nature with technology, so we are using the Internet of Things (IoT) to protect the world’s biodiversity.​

This is The Plan for Possible, Cisco’s next generation environmental sustainability strategy.

The progress we make in this decade will be critical for future generations. We’re aligning our environmental strategy to rise to this challenge.

A graphic illustration showing The Plan for Possible

Priority 1: Transition to clean energy

To power the world with renewables, the grid requires updated digital infrastructure to connect diverse, decentralized sources of clean energy. But even as the world electrifies, we must simultaneously reduce the amount of energy used by a connected economy. As a part of this priority, we’ve also set a goal to reach Net Zero across our value chain by 2040, which includes both our supplier and our customer use of energy.

How we’ll do it:

  • Lead in energy efficiency innovation​
  • Connect clean energy and digitize the grid​
  • Collaborate with our customers, partners, and suppliers to accelerate the energy transition

Examples of where we’ve already made an impact:

Priority 2: Evolve the business to circular​

Now is the time to transition from an economy that extracts resources and eventually wastes them, to a circular one which finds new uses for products and their inputs. We aim to transform our business to extend the useful life of our products and provide ongoing services.

How we’ll do it:​

  • Adopt and scale business models to extend the value of our products and reduce environmental impacts​
  • Invest in technology incubation to be at pace with environmental science​
  • Champion a digital, nature-positive value chain leveraging our role as one of the largest telecom device companies in the world

Examples of where we’ve already made an impact:

  • Incorporating circular design principles into 100 percent of new products and packaging by 2025
  • Offering the Cisco Takeback and Reuse Program, which lets customers return hardware that has reached end-of-use, at no cost.
  • Creating the Green Pay circular IT payment solution, increasing value for our customers and our resale business​
  • Remanufacturing devices through Cisco Refresh to give them a new life for our business and planet ​

Priority 3: Invest in resilient ecosystems​

Thriving economies depend on stable environments and inclusive societies. Our value chains benefit from resilient ecosystems, both financial and ecological. It is in our shared interest to help humans and nature navigate a changing climate by investing in regenerative technologies, workforces, and nature itself.

How we’ll do it:

  • Enable communities to adapt to climate realities​
  • Cultivate skills and talent for the regenerative economy​
  • Deploy Cisco technology to protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity​
  • Harness artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, and blockchain to advance regenerative models, powered by energy-efficient infrastructure

Examples of where we’ve already made an impact:

  • Powering Vibrant Planet’s Data Commons platform to better manage local land use and plan for risks like wildfires*​*
  • Enhancing London’s Canary Wharf with a connected landscape to optimize the space for engaging with nature​
  • Providing analysis capabilities for Vesta to optimize placement of its low-energy carbon sequestration*​*
  • Supporting Kara Solar in training Indigenous peoples in the Amazon to build and operate solar-powered boats**

Powering possible with enhanced governance​

We are embedding sustainability into the way we operate. We intend to stay aligned with the pace of science while ensuring support from the entire organization. The holistic pursuit of equity and sustainability is the only path forward that allows us to maintain the public’s trust in our values.

By pursuing what’s possible, we can accelerate the transition into the digital age while maintaining the health of the planet — and a climate future we all need and desire for future generations to come.

details on our environmental initiatives.

* We have a goal that 80% of Cisco component, manufacturing, and logistics suppliers by spend have a public, absolute GHG emissions reduction target by FY25. We are at 78% as of FY22.​

**Cisco Foundation initiative​

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