Growth in connectivity presents sustainability challenges: Cisco

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Growth in connectivity presents sustainability challenges: Cisco

By the year end, 29 billion devices will access the global internet, and this number is expected to grow to 100 billion by the end of the decade, according to Eric Knipp, VP sales engineering at Cisco.

The sustainability challenges of this massive growth in connectivity can largely be pinned down to bandwidth, Knipp said at the Cisco Live conference in the US this week.

Increasing bandwidth means increasing energy consumption, and with 40 percent growth in bandwidth globally during 2020 its little wonder that according to Knipp, telcos represent two to three percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

“Over the course of just the next three years, another 10 billion [devices] will come online.

“Anything that can be connected will be connected. Science fiction is going to become science fact when we start to think about drone deliveries, augmented reality, virtual reality,” he said.|

Cisco’s focus on improving the sustainability of its products, such as increasing the energy efficiency of its service routing platform by 96 percent is a direct response to the need to reduce emissions while connectivity grows.

“[Climate change] is the most existential challenge that faces our world today,” said Denise Lee, VP EN&C sustainability development at Cisco.

As businesses work towards the Paris Agreement, in order to reach net zero by 2050, and reduce emissions by 60 percent by 2030, Lee said that businesses will be faced with compliance challenges that are not dissimilar from others that they have dealt with in the past.

“Once upon a time, we actually put lead in paint and we put asbestos in our ceilings, and then we realised it's not so good for us. Then it was up to your company or organisations, your household on how fast you were going to remove that from your ecosystem. With sustainability and environmental it's actually not so different,” said Lee.

“The ESG materiality that's coming out, the lessons that we're learning on what's good or bad for carbon emissions is fast becoming integrated into these regulations and these certifications. So, we're making sure that we're working alongside these protocols so that the things that we're building, circular design, what's going into our products, are all embedded.”

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