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Cisco announces absolute carbon target

Cisco has today announced plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions from across its operations by 25 per cent by 2012 based on 2007 levels, a goal that would result in a reduction in carbon emissions of 181,000 metric tonnes.

The networking giant said that it aimed to meet the new target through a wide range of measures including an increase in its procurement of renewable energy, investment in energy efficiency measures across many of its properties, and wider use of the company's own video conferencing systems as a means of curbing corporate travel.

It added that it would particularly focus on cutting energy use at its labs and datacentres through the deployment of sophisticated energy meters, more energy efficient data storage technologies, upgraded mechanical systems such as air conditioning units, and "smart power distribution units" capable of automatically shutting down machines that are not in use.

Neil Harris, European green technology manager at Cisco, said that the company had opted for an absolute reduction target as opposed to a target linked to revenue or floor space as it promised to be "much clearer" to customers that the company would cut emissions. He added that while the target may be adjusted in the event of a major acquisition the company would seek to still hit the target regardless of organic growth or smaller acquisitions.

The company will also seek to generate long-term cost savings as a result of the target, according to European green programme manager Julie Garden. "We have $100m energy bills globally and we're going to feel the pain of rising energy prices, just like everyone else, if we do not bring energy use down," she explained.

Announcing the new target at Cisco's annual conference, chief executive and chairman John Chambers said that the company would also seek to help its customers cut carbon emissions through networking technologies capable of cutting IT's overall carbon footprint and enabling wider use of video conferencing.

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