The charitable arm of San Francisco-based technology giant Cisco Systems has pledged to invest $100 million over the next decade to help reverse the impact of climate change. The funding is aligned with the company's goal to reduce emissions, waste, and its sprawling global supply chain's carbon footprint.
"What we're looking for are companies that are, of course, technology-focused that will participate in either the capture of already-existing greenhouse gasses, the reduction of future greenhouse gasses, the promotion of green jobs, and just the broader community awareness and education," Cisco CFO Scott Herren told Cheddar.
Outside of that criteria, the Cisco Foundation is seeking "innovative and/or imaginative climate solutions that drive forward net zero or circular/regenerative economies," according to a release.
"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, in a statement.
Herren said the company's focus on climate change precedes this latest commitment and indeed was informed by earlier efforts to clean up its sprawling supply chain and product line, which includes telecommunications equipment, networking hardware, and even software.
The company said it's currently on track to design 100 percent of new products and packaging to incorporate "Circular Design Principles — the idea that a product has a set lifecycle designed around future reuse or recycling — by 2025.
The next step is tackling its supply chain, "because a lot of the carbon footprint that we have as a company really happens after the product leaves the door," Herren said.
He added that this will require close collaboration within the industry, as many of Cisco's competitors use the same suppliers.
"So to the extent that we can have a consistent set of requirements on those suppliers, it gives us all more opportunity to bring the positive change that we want to see," Herron said.