In a plan representing a first for both companies, deepening their partnership and facilitating the sharing of data that will inform progress towards their net-zero goals, Orange Business and Cisco have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a joint action plan to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Both companies have ambitious net-zero goals and other near-term targets related to reducing emissions and evolving their businesses to a circular model. Orange Business has set a goal to reduce its GHG emissions by 45% across all scopes by 2030, committing to reaching net zero by 2040. Cisco has set a goal to reach net-zero GHG emissions across its value chain by 2040 and has also set a goal to reduce absolute Scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream transportation and distribution, and use of sold Cisco products by 30% by 2030.

The MoU is said to have arisen in recognition of the interdependencies in achieving both companies’ GHG emission reduction goals and the understanding that a new kind of collaborative partnership is required to help accelerate progress. Both organisations hope the MoU will represent the first of many collaborations towards net-zero models.

The MoU sees the firms agree to create an emissions baseline regarding the GHG emissions of Orange Business solutions that integrate Cisco products, allowing both organisations to measure GHG emissions across their shared portfolio.

Cisco and Orange Business have previously worked together on several joint sustainability initiatives, including a smart office solution designed to better manage conference rooms, enhance user experience and proactively optimise energy consumption.

The firms have also collaborated on an energy saving initiative at the Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France, developing a solution that converted always-on Wi-Fi networks to on-demand systems.

In addition, Orange Business is using Cisco-based Flexible SD-WAN One Box technology, merging several routing features into a single unit, decreasing the environmental impact and reducing the energy consumption by more than 70%.

The MoU includes a number of key focus areas: GHG emissions trajectory; carbon impact of products and services; emphasis on circular economy programmes and principles; and eco-designed products and solutions of the future.

Cisco and Orange Business will aim to build a GHG emissions trajectory for the Cisco products used by Orange Business. Both partners will use shared data to help estimate the GHG emissions related to Orange Business solutions integrating Cisco technology with the objective to reduce GHG emissions.

Cisco will also look to provide Orange Business with data on the estimated carbon footprint of its products sold by Orange Business. This is designed to allow Orange Business to integrate this data into its own emissions calculations to estimate the overall carbon footprint of Orange’s solutions portfolio integrating Cisco products. The theory is that Orange Business will then be able to provide its customers with an estimate of the total emissions of their supplied products and solutions.

The firms have also agreed to increase the uptake of circular economy principles and practices by Orange Business and its customers. This will be done through two channels, first boosting the purchase of remanufactured units through the Cisco Refresh Programme, then through the uptake of Cisco’s Takeback and Reuse Programme facilitated by Orange Business.

Lastly, the firms have committed to endeavour to explore different ways to integrate eco-design principles into products and services. For this purpose, Cisco will provide Orange Business with lifecycle analysis data for its products, when available. This is seen as helping Orange Business to reach its goal of a 100% rate of eco-designed solutions offered to its customers.

“Sustainability is woven into everything we do at Cisco, from our product development, to our operations, to our partnerships,” said Chuck Robbins, chair and CEO of Cisco. “We have an aggressive timeline to reach net zero and our partnership with Orange Business is a major step in that direction. By sharing data and best practices, we are going to hold ourselves accountable to our shared goals and mission, and hopefully inspire others to join us in this journey.”

Aliette Mousnier Lompre, CEO of Orange Business, added: “Orange Group is committed to being net zero by 2040. At Orange Business, we support both our enterprise customers and partners in their transformation to lead a more responsible economy and society. We encourage all stakeholders to embed environmental issues as a key priority into their day-to-day processes and activities. Together with Cisco, we can drive and satisfy these ambitions to build and empower a more sustainable future for all.”

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