Cisco Climate Crisis

Cisco commits $100 million to help address climate crisis

April 23, 2021
Grants and investments from the Cisco Foundation will fund climate projects and technologies to power a sustainable and inclusive recovery, says the networking communications infrastructure giant.

The Cisco Foundation this week announced that it is committing $100 million over ten years to address the growing global climate crisis. The Foundation's endowment is funded by Cisco. The company said the commitment will fund nonprofit grants and impact investments that support bold climate solutions as well as community education and activation.

"Today's commitment will build on the Foundation's approach to funding that drives meaningful impact by supporting early-stage, technology-based solutions with the potential to scale and be sustainable," said Peter Tavernise, executive director of the Cisco Foundation.

Per Cisco's announcement of this news:

There is a consensus among citizens around the world that action is needed to combat climate change. And yet many citizens feel disengaged either because they don't think that one person can make a difference or because they are paralyzed by the enormity of the crisis. This coupled with the fact that less than two percent of all philanthropic dollars are being spent to address the fight against climate change means that many bold climate solutions are not being developed due to a lack of action and investment.

In response to this challenge, The Cisco Foundation says its commitment to spend $100 million over ten years aims to help address this gap by focusing its funding on:

  • "Innovative and/or imaginative climate solutions that drive forward net zero or circular/regenerative economies."
  • "Community education and engagement around climate, eco-awareness, and working toward individual habit change and effective collaborative action."

Cisco said it will work closely with the organizations receiving funding to measure and report on the impact of their programs. Per the company:

The Cisco Foundation's approach is built on an existing, proven model of funding early-stage solutions with high-potential for sustainability and scalability. Determinations on nonprofit partners will be based on their ability to impact, measure, and report outcomes such as:
* Reducing, capturing and/or sequestration of greenhouse gas and carbon emissions
* Increased energy efficiency
* Creation of, and increase in, access to green jobs
* Change in community behavior that leads to carbon footprint reduction, community climate resilience, and creation of local/regional vision of the shared climate future that we all want

"From a Cisco perspective, we know that in order for us to live up to our purpose – to power an inclusive future for all – we must combat the rising inequality that stems from climate change," states Fran Katsoudas, Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer, Cisco. She adds, "We also know that our technology, our business practices, and our partnerships are crucial to this effort. A challenge as big as climate change will take all of us. That's why we're so proud to fund bold solutions and find ways for communities to engage to affect change. We will continue to work towards reducing our carbon footprint while creating innovative products and business models that drive forward sustainable and climate conscious solutions."

As a corporate entity, Cisco in its statement said it is "committed to building a sustainable future by reducing emissions, reducing waste, building more efficient products, and by setting ambitious, but achievable goals."

Already, Cisco notes it has achieved 100% renewable energy in several countries around the world and is on track to reach its goals to use electricity generated from renewable sources for at least 85% of Cisco's global electricity in 2022 and to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 60% in 2022 (compared to 2007). Cisco is also working with its suppliers to reduce emissions throughout our supply chain.

Further, Cisco says it is committed to designing its products and packaging for reuse, repair and resource efficiency. To that end, Cisco is on track to design 100% of new Cisco products and packaging to incorporate Circular Design Principles by 2025. Cisco is also working towards delivering its 100% take back pledge made by CEO Chuck Robbins at WEF 2018.

The company's statement concluded:

Cisco's products are built with sustainability in mind – whether that be smart city and smart building technologies that reduce energy consumption, or remote collaboration tools that allow people to work from anywhere, Cisco technologies are helping to reduce emissions.

"Cisco has long been a leader in embedding environmental, social and corporate responsibility into our business practices and products. We're proud to further our commitment by taking this next step to help address the climate crisis," added Scott Herren, Chief Financial Officer, Cisco. "This is a moment where we can, should, and will put dollars towards supporting and reinforcing our company's purpose." 

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