Co-authored by Linda D’Amico, Senior Director, Cisco Refresh

Cisco has made a commitment to 100% product return. This benefits the environment and our customers.

The global economy consumes a 100 billion tons of materials each year. Imagine, 100 billion tons, and only 8.6 percent of all those minerals, fossil fuels, and biomass are ever cycled back as new products. Instead, they end up as waste. 

In a world with increasingly scarce resources, we cannot keep taking without giving. That is why Cisco has made a commitment to the circular economy where remanufacturing, reuse, and recycling play a huge role.

Cisco isn’t alone in this commitment. According to Accenture, this way of doing business could be worth $4.5 trillion by 2030 through a radical departure from traditional production and consumption systems to the circular economy, which is all about make-use-reuse.

Cisco has adopted a holistic approach to designing, building, and delivering products, so we value these assets and can turn them into new products; it is woven into how we build things. We also apply Cisco technology to support our customers in their own circular transformation, and we work collaboratively across the ecosystem to drive systems-level change.

The pledges and commitments we have already made are real, functioning programs. Much of our current success stems from 2018, when Chuck Robbins, Cisco Chairman and CEO and eight other technology executives signed the Capital Equipment Pledge at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

In that pledge, we committed to 100 percent product return. Today, that commitment continues to grow through a variety of programs and partnerships that are making critical progress in reducing our environmental impact and accelerating our contributions to a circular economy.

We launched the Takeback and Reuse Program, a pilot that allows Cisco equipment owners to return hardware that has reached end-of-use – easily, securely, and sustainably, at no cost. This program even includes equipment branded by companies acquired by Cisco. Through this program, we can reuse or recycle 99.8 percent of what is returned, helping our customers meet their sustainability goals and ensure responsible disposal of equipment.

Another critical part of our ability to deliver a full lifecycle solution is Cisco Refresh. While much of the equipment returned to Cisco through our Takeback program is recycled, some of it is still in great shape—ready to provide many more years of trustworthy service to another customer. Cisco Refresh takes that high-quality returned gear and completely remanufactures it so it can be put back on the market and kept out of landfills. We inspect it, test it, repair it, update the software, repackage it, and make it available to our customers with a same-as-new warranty and full eligibility for support services through authorized Cisco Partners and Distributors.

Cisco Refresh has been in existence for more than 20 years now. Over that time, we’ve sold hundreds of thousands of remanufactured products, kept millions of pounds of material from reaching the scrap heap, and greatly reduced our reliance on raw materials. This not only benefits Cisco as we strive to meet our own sustainability goals—it benefits the companies we work with—which are looking for tangible ways to show their sustainability commitments as well. And at a time when many businesses have seen budget cuts, it helps them to acquire Cisco quality at a reduced price.

These efforts are only part of our broader commitment to the circular economy, and we are working to build out more programs. I encourage you to check out our latest Environment Technical Review for detailed information on our programs, goals, and performance to date.

Learn more here! 


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Andrew Sage

Vice President

Global Distribution & SMB Sales