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Cisco pledges $100m to combat climate crisis

Cisco is keen to promote efforts that will lead to solutions that will help increase sustainability

Cisco has revealed that it plans to spend $100m over the next decade to do its bit to help deal with the climate crisis.

The vendor shared details of how it will be spending the money in a blog post, penned by Cisco’s executive vice-president and chief of people, policy and purpose officer, Francine Katsoudas. The vendor will be funding non-profits grants and impact investing through the Cisco Foundation to help find climate solutions.

The Foundation will also get involved with education efforts to make sure awareness about the climate crisis increases.

“The Cisco Foundation will prioritise community education to 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,” said Katsoudas.

“We will also prioritise programmes that create measurable impact by reducing and capturing carbon, increasing energy efficiency, creating and increasing access to green jobs, and helping to change community behaviour so that vulnerable communities can become more resilient and reduce their own carbon footprints,” she added.

Picking up on the importance of the sustainability theme, the firm used the backdrop of World Earth Day and hosted an event, ‘Driving an inclusive recovery: a digital and sustainable future for all’, where it talked of the importance of taking a leadership stance on the issue.

Wendy Mars, president of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) at Cisco, said that the investment indicated the firm was serious about making a difference.

“We’ve made a number of steps over recent years. Yesterday we announced $100m investment over the next 10 years on areas around sustainability linked to innovation, looking at areas around the usage of renewable energy, and how we make sure that we’re doing that in a number of our buildings and our environments across the globe.

“I think there’s certain clear things that are important for leaders to show leadership in business,” she said. “Now is a time it’s important for leaders to stand up and be counted and be very clear.”

Others speaking at the Cisco event agreed that the climate crisis was gaining more attention and that digital technology would play a key role in helping to find solutions for problems, but there were still challenges that the industry had to overcome.

“On the technology suppliers’ side, there is a requirement to make sure that they are doing [sustainable efforts] in their own supply chain environment,” said Mars.

“There needs to also be a strong consciousness around power consumption and reducing it. Innovation-wise, these are areas we focus on as we take technology out to market.”

Mars added that it was also important to work to metrics and to be open with the progress that was being made.

Wrapping up her blog post, Katsoudas also reflected on the role that technology could play: “We know that our technology and our actions have a role to play sustaining a liveable planet and powering a future that is truly inclusive.

“Our commitment is real – from the funding announced today, to the work with our partners in non-profits and governments, to the products we innovate and the processes we improve. We must work together to power a future that is as sustainable as it is inclusive.”

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