Monday, June 23, 2008

Cisco Outlines Green Initiative -- Aims for 25% Carbon Reduction by 2012

John Chambers, Cisco's Chairman and CEO, set a goal of reducing the company's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its worldwide operations by 25 percent over the next four years, reaching its goal in absolute terms by 2012. A major component of the initiative will be to leverage network-based IT to reduce energy use in its facilities and increase it use of telepresence and other collaborative technologies to reduce employee travel. Cisco said it is currently piloting a software solution to model the impact of various factors on carbon footprint, waste reduction targets and other goals. This tool takes into account the rising cost of energy and forecast how it will affect operations and expenditures, as well as to model how certain practices can reduce energy use.

In calendar year 2007, Cisco's gross GHG footprint measured 832,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents, according to the company. With the new target, Cisco aims to reduce its GHG emissions to a maximum net footprint of 543,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents by 2012.

In its labs and data centers, which account for a significant percentage of Cisco's energy use, the company will deploy a variety of techniques. These include taking detailed measurements of energy flows, utilizing more efficient lab equipment, using the "virtual network" to store data, adding smart power-distribution units that automatically shut down machines not in use, and upgrading building mechanical and electrical systems.

The company will increase its use Cisco TelePresence and the Cisco WebEx suite of tools to reduce the need for business travel, which accounts for 27 percent of Cisco's GHG footprint. As part of its commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, Cisco has already decreased emissions from air travel by at least 10 percent per employee. Finally, Cisco will deploy its Cisco Connected Workspace solution in additional locations.

In 2008, Cisco is expected to acquire approximately 460 million kWh of renewable energy worldwide.

  • Earlier this month, Verizon introduced its own series of Telecommunications Equipment Energy Efficiency Ratings for new telecommunications-related equipment with the aim of cutting its carbon footprint. The standards will be applied to certain broadband, video, data-center, network and customer-premises equipment purchased after Jan. 1, 2009. The target provided to the manufacturers of such equipment is 20 percent greater efficiency than today's gear.

  • Also this month, BT announced a goal to cut its carbon emissions intensity by 80 percent across the globe by 2020 , setting one of the most aggressive corporate carbon reduction targets worldwide. The company also published a new model for measuring and tracking carbon emissions – backed by the Carbon Disclosure Project. This represents an important step in measuring carbon emissions in a consistent way across the globe. BT said it intends to meet the 80 percent reduction target through a continued combination of energy efficiency, on-site renewable generation (aiming for 25 per cent of its UK electricity to come from dedicated wind turbines by 2016) and purchased low-carbon electricity. Furthermore, BT estimated that it has already reduced emissions in the UK by nearly 60 percent between 1996 and 2008.