“Pack It Green” Saves Nearly 2 Million Pounds of Packaging and Over $6 Million

August 27, 2014 - 2 Comments

The growing amount of solid waste being added to landfills from product packaging is an environmental concern to Cisco. To address this, we strive to design packages that protect against shipping damage while minimizing material usage.

Our employee-led “Pack It Green” Initiative, which promotes optimized packaging and order fulfillment, is a big part of this commitment.

In fiscal year 2014* we eliminated 1.9 million pounds of material and the equivalent of 3.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions through 30 Pack It Green projects. These included bulk-packed products, integrated product shipments, the reuse of packaging materials, and expanding opportunities for customers to “opt out” of physically delivered products.

These efforts also saved Cisco US$6.1 million – proving that what’s good for the environment is also good for our business.

Before and after cable packaging

Before (left) and after (right) cable packaging

“Excess packaging increases waste and cost for both Cisco and our customers, and is inconsistent with our sustainability goals to minimize our environmental impact,” said Toni Tam, packaging engineering manager.

“Through Pack It Green, employees have found a vehicle to prioritize and gain traction with their environmental ideas and solutions,” said Kris Spriano, supply chain sustainability program manager. “These solutions have proven not only to benefit our planet, but also Cisco’s, our suppliers’, and our customers’ bottom lines.”

One project introduced packaging that allowed us to ship blades installed to a server chassis instead of shipping them separately. Another project enabled us to ship high volumes of cables and memory in one box, versus smaller single boxes as was done previously. These two projects alone saved US $4.3 million.

Pack It Green is led by Cisco employees who want to eliminate excess environmental waste and cost associated with packaging and distributing our products. These “Business Unit Champs” work to identify opportunities, sponsor pilot and best practices projects, and assist in educating others. In FY14, 14 Cisco business units engaged in more than 30 Pack it Green projects — a 40 percent increase in engagement over FY13.

Improving the sustainability of our supply chain while saving money for our business is at the heart of Cisco’s corporate social responsibility mission to our multiply our impact on people, the planet, and our business.

Learn more about Cisco’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

* August 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014

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  1. What is the source/how did you calculate your environmental impact savings numbers?

    • Hi Kim, thanks for your question. It’s not easy! Each project may have a different model for the calculation depending on the work involved. However, in general, we leverage historical customer ordering patterns, material consumption data and forecasts when available to estimate total annual material removed (ex. corrugated, plastic, etc). We then leverage GaBi Software to create “CO2 equivalent” emissions values for that removed material. There are additional transportation emissions benefits achieved from the reduced freight weight that we are not currently including, but hope to in the future.