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Folks Behind CSR at Cisco: How water stewardship in our provide chain results in a extra inclusive future for all

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Water is one in all Earth’s most treasured pure sources. Though about 70 p.c of the Earth’s floor is roofed with water, solely 3 p.c of it’s recent water, and lower than 1 p.c of recent water is on the market to people for consumption. Round 4 billion individuals expertise extreme water shortage throughout at the very least one month of the 12 months, and that would enhance as a lot as 40 p.c by 2050.

Many individuals are shocked to study that some IT suppliers use giant quantities of water of their provide chains. Cisco takes its water stewardship severely. Throughout fiscal 2021, we labored to advance water stewardship inside key river basins the place our provide chain operates. By way of a partnership with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), we collaborated with business friends to lift consciousness of water impacts inside the Data and Communication Know-how (ICT) sector and drive alternatives by collective actions.

That’s the place Cisco’s Provide Chain Sustainability staff is available in. By way of varied actions, they work to allow suppliers to make use of pure sources effectively, cut back air pollution, and enhance local weather resilience. Enthusiastic about studying extra in regards to the staff? Meet Provide Chain Social and Environmental Accountability Supervisor, Toddy Tu. When Toddy was a toddler, he noticed first-hand the affect of water air pollution on the river he would fish in. I not too long ago sat down with Toddy to study extra about his profession journey and his involvement with Cisco’s water stewardship efforts in our provide chain.

Are you able to inform me a bit about your life earlier than becoming a member of Cisco?  

Cisco Supply Chain Social and Environmental Responsibility Manager, Toddy Tu
Cisco Provide Chain Social and Environmental Accountability Supervisor, Toddy Tu

Toddy: Whereas finding out political science as an undergraduate scholar, I grew to become interested by sustainability and social equality. In my fourth 12 months at college, I had an internship with Walmart’s Accountable Sourcing division and have become a full-time worker after commencement. Throughout my 9 years with Walmart, I visited many provider websites in better China and assessed their social and environmental efficiency primarily based on rules, legal guidelines, and code of conduct necessities.

On the identical time, I used to be additionally capable of see the event of employees’ high quality of life and an enchancment of the environmental scenario in mainland China, which inspired me to proceed my profession within the sustainability business.

What introduced you to Cisco, and what do you get pleasure from most about your job?

Toddy: I had a roommate at college who had interned at Cisco. He shared how he loved working at Cisco and that Cisco is altering the world by expertise. It grew to become one in all my desires to work at Cisco; nevertheless, I used to be not an appropriate candidate proper after commencement.

I by no means thought that my dream would come true. In 2015, I discovered that Cisco was hiring a sustainability supervisor in its Shenzhen workplace. My expertise at Walmart in accountable sourcing made me a terrific candidate, and it additionally match completely with my profession improvement path.

Engaged on Cisco’s Provide Chain Sustainability staff, I really feel like I discovered the appropriate place and platform to do what I like to do: to guard weak teams, communities, and ecosystems. I’m additionally proud to contribute my experience in environmental administration to advertise water stewardship and defend the residing surroundings and ecosystems the place we construct Cisco merchandise.

Why is it essential for Cisco to concentrate to and take motion on water preservation and shortage? 

Toddy: No different pure useful resource is as essential to life as water. Local weather change is dashing up the worldwide water disaster. Everybody has a task to play, so does Cisco, and we can’t afford to attend.

Water scarcity additionally impacts Cisco in particular methods, particularly our provide chain resilience. One instance is the worldwide chip scarcity, which was brought about partially by a water scarcity in Taiwan in 2021.

As some might know, Taiwan is the worldwide chip making middle, and water is in excessive demand for his or her operations since it’s basic for the manufacturing of chips. The affect remains to be felt now as the worldwide electronics provide chain faces materials shortages.

Total, water shortage and air pollution pose important dangers to each companies and communities. Decreasing water consumption and wastewater discharges in provide chains not solely mitigates dangers but additionally protects restricted sources, protects our ecosystems, and advantages individuals and the planet.

Cisco’s dedication to water stewardship ties in with our mission to energy an Inclusive Future for All.

Cisco performed a water survey of our suppliers in 2020. Are you able to share how the outcomes of the survey led to you working with a provider in China to scale back their water use?

Toddy: In 2020, we despatched out a water survey questionnaire to provider websites throughout totally different commodity sorts, with the intention of understanding common water utilization and discharge info. 

The survey outcomes led us to have interaction with printed circuit board (PCB) provider services primarily based within the high-water-stressed Taihu water basin in China. With the assistance of native environmental consultants, we recognized water financial savings alternatives at a PCB provider in close by Suzhou. Throughout the subsequent 12 months, the provider accomplished two giant water financial savings initiatives with our steerage.  

 One of many initiatives was putting in computerized water feeding methods on copper plating traces. The rinse course of makes use of water solely whereas elements are being washed fairly than operating constantly. This improve allowed the provider to avoid wasting roughly 51,000 liters of recent water per day — sufficient to satisfy the wants of a household of 4 for about six weeks. 

Are you able to share Cisco’s method to water stewardship in our provide chain?

Toddy with his daughter while visiting the seaside near Cannery Row, Monterey, California.
Toddy together with his daughter whereas visiting the seaside close to Cannery Row, Monterey, California.

Toddy: Cisco’s provide chain is everywhere in the world. We attempt to focus our restricted sources on the areas with the very best or most concentrated water threat. We screened our provider websites primarily based on the water depth of their manufacturing processes, water threat of their area, and the suppliers’ enterprise relationship with Cisco. We then engaged prioritized provider websites to strengthen their water stewardship efficiency. A method is by bettering their water reporting and goal setting efficiency by the CDP platform, the opposite is to advance their progress to the AWS (Alliance for Water Stewardship) commonplace. We focus the AWS work on these high-water-consuming websites situated in excessive water confused basins or Cisco web site clustering basins.

We search to scale back threat and consumption in our provide chain and enhance provide chain resilience. On the identical time, we additionally promote more healthy basins throughout Cisco‘s manufacturing footprint, which advantages each the individuals in and round our provide chain websites.

How does constructing suppliers’ capabilities to preserve water result in a extra inclusive future for all?

Toddy: An inclusive future can’t be met with out sufficient water. Water — together with sanitation — is essential for socio-economic improvement, meals safety, and wholesome ecosystems and is important for decreasing the worldwide burden of illness and bettering well being, welfare, and productiveness. From this viewpoint, this falls underneath the United Nations SDG Objective 6 — “Guarantee availability and sustainable administration of water and sanitation for all.” Higher water administration additionally fosters gender equality and social inclusion and helps the creation and upkeep of jobs throughout all sectors of the economic system. 

Constructing suppliers’ capabilities to preserve water can also be a approach to mitigate the affect of local weather change. Constructing suppliers’ capabilities to preserve water is essential to defending the basins and ecosystems in Cisco’s provide chain footprint. This is a vital facet of guaranteeing Cisco has a constructive affect on the surroundings, thus resulting in an inclusive future for all. 


In the event you’re interested by studying extra about Cisco’s dedication to constructing sustainable provide chains, you may go to our Provide Chain Sustainability web site.

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