Cisco throws $100M at climate issues as industry ramps action

climate impact
A Cisco representative told Fierce “the urgency of the climate crisis” prompted it to make the investment. (Getty Images)

Cisco revealed plans to invest $100 million over the next 10 years to help combat climate change, using its namesake foundation to funnel the money into initiatives focused on emission reduction and community education.

In a blog, Cisco EVP and Chief People, Policy and Purpose Officer Francine Katsoudas said the Cisco Foundation will prioritize donations to non-profit partners focused on delivering a “measurable impact” through programs to reduce and capture carbon, boost energy efficiency and create and increase access to green jobs. She added it will also target community education efforts that “help empower people around the world, illuminating the crucial role that individuals have to play in this movement and providing them the tools to do so.”

A Cisco representative told Fierce “the urgency of the climate crisis” prompted it to make the investment, adding “we know that our technology and our actions have a role to play in sustaining a livable planet.”

The representative added the effort will be global, and funding will not be restricted based on location. It has yet to determine the pace at which it will make its investments over the 10 year period, the representative said.

Katsoudas noted in the blog Cisco already uses 100% renewable energy in nine countries and is on course to use the same for at least 85% of its global electricity needs in 2022. It is also pushing to slash Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 60% in 2022 and is working with suppliers to cut emissions down through its supply chain.

Gaining steam

Cisco wasn’t the only one touting its climate credentials this week ahead of Earth Day (April 22). Operators Telefonica and Elisa announced they joined the Amazon-led Climate Pledge; Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems unit partnered with Fraunhofer IFF on a research project aiming to achieve self-sufficient data centers; and Amazon revealed investments in nine new renewable energy projects across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Spain and Sweden.

Google also chimed in to provide an update on progress toward its goal to fuel 100% of its operations with “carbon-free energy” such as that produced by wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric systems, by 2030.

In a blog, Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted it had already “committed approximately $4 billion to purchase clean energy from more than 50 wind and solar projects globally through 2034,” adding five of its 23 data centers already operate using at or near 90% carbon-free energy.

RELATED: Google goes big on green pledge

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed transportation (29%) was the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country in 2019, followed by electricity (25%) and industry (23%). Homes and businesses accounted for 13% of emissions, with these primarily stemming from the burning of fossil fuels for heat, while the remaining 10% was attributed to agriculture.

Global data from the World Resources Institute indicated electricity and heat (30.4%) was the top source of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, with transportation (15.9%), manufacturing and construction (12.4%) and agriculture (11.8%) following.