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Cisco targets net zero GHG emissions by 2040Cisco targets net zero GHG emissions by 2040

US tech giant says it can outpace Paris Agreement net-zero timeframe by ten years.

Ken Wieland

September 10, 2021

2 Min Read
Cisco targets net zero GHG emissions by 2040

US tech giant Cisco has committed to net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which includes those from product use and operations – as well as from its supply chains – by 2040. Net zero is when GHG emissions are balanced by the amount taken out of the atmosphere.

Cisco emphasized that its target was ten years earlier than the timeframe set out by the Paris Agreement, which is aiming for net-zero GHG emissions worldwide by 2050.

The aim of the Paris Agreement, which the US signed up to again almost immediately after Joe Biden got his presidential feet under the Oval Office desk in January, is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Cisco also set out near-term targets of reaching net zero for all global Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2025. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, while Scope 2 covers indirect emissions, such as the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling.

The tech giant added it will map out other near-term targets covering "key" Scope 3 categories later this year, such as use of sold products and supply chain emissions, once details are finalized.

Cisco is not the only heavyweight telecom supplier keen to burnish its green credentials. Nokia, in March, announced it will reduce emissions by 50% across both its own operations and products in use by 2030. This is the rate of reduction needed to meet targets set out by the Paris Agreement.

Ericsson, like Nokia, has also set a carbon neutral target for its own operations by 2030. Huawei is active, too, in helping operators reduce their GCH emissions.

Industry targets

Moves by Cisco and others to get greener come against a backdrop of industry targets.

In early 2020 the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations agency, working in collaboration with the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), the GSMA and the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), published a new ITU standard dubbed ITU L.1470.

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading.

ITU L.1470 is designed to set a pathway for ICT industry towards net zero emissions. According to the ITU, ICT industry must reduce its GHG emissions by 45% between 2020 and 2030.

The GSMA, in 2019, also announced it had set a goal among mobile network operators to reach net zero emissions by 2025 at the very latest.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Ken Wieland

contributing editor

Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 15 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a freelance telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.

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