The Context

Sustainability isn’t just about protecting the planet for future generations. It’s also about preserving the delicate balance that allows life to thrive today and tomorrow.

In a world where environmental concerns are growing more urgent with each passing day, the key is to develop practical ways in which individuals, businesses, and communities can contribute to building a more sustainable future.

The Challenge

There are hundreds of scattered online videos, PDFs and lectures about corporate sustainability practices, but none of them address specific business contexts or provide roadmaps for IT integrators or providers to follow. Could there be a better way to learn, that makes it easier for our Cisco partners to figure out how to convert sustainability into an opportunity for the business?

The Game Plan

Cisco and Ingram decided to join hands to decipher the what, why and how of the Cisco Environmental Sustainability Specialization in an innovative way for our Partners.

The process was to have Cisco Partners—led by Ingram Australia (the first Cisco Distributor to achieve the Cisco Sustainability Specialization in APJC)—undergo Black Belt Sustainability training and attend a sustainability bootcamp followed by completion of specialization exams and submitting the Cisco Sustainability Specialization application. During the boot camp, with the support of a Black Belt trainer, our partners had the opportunity to go through a compressed version of the specialization training material and ask any questions they might have had before sitting both of the Cisco Sustainability Specialization Exams (700-240 CESO and 700-245 ESPB) on the Pearson Vue portal.

The boot camp component was fundamental to the success of the initiative as partners could get clarifications about the Cisco Environmental Sustainability Specialization Pledge they had to commit to as well as to understand how this new Cisco specialization creates business opportunities by unlocking the Takeback Incentive (up to 7% extra discount and free takeback services for displaced hardware when registering Take Back deals) or unlocking a new path towards a Cisco Partner Select level Upgrade.

Infographic showing how many partners participated in the sustainability bootcamp

And that’s not all!

Cisco and Ingram decided to add a fine finishing touch to the campaign by adding the element of philanthropy and launched Australia’s first Cisco Partnering for Purpose initiative. Both organizations agreed to match the number of Sustainability Certificates issued on the Black Belt portal for any Cisco partner staff located in Australia with a 200 AUD donation towards Planet Ark Environmental Foundation—an Australian non-profit environmental organization that is partnering with organizations in the public and private sectors to help find ways to reduce impact on the planet. This resulted in a combined 40,000 AUD commitment from both Cisco and Ingram Australia which also brought an additional element of motivation to the participants who exceeded all expectations by completing 202 new Cisco Sustainability certifications on the Black Belt portal.

This consistent 40,000 AUD Cisco & Ingram donation will be used to support some of Planet Ark’s environmental campaigns such as National Tree Day, National Recycling Week, Make it Wood, Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, BusinessRecycling.com.au, RecyclingNearYou.com.au, Make it Australian Recycled or Australasian Recycling Label.

“Black Belt Academy & Cisco Sustainability Specialization generates more business opportunities
and unlocks extra discounts making our partners more profitable and prouder to sell Cisco!”
– Valentin Dogariu, Cisco Distribution Manager for Ingram Micro Australia

Ultimately, as a recognition for all its efforts in helping the local Cisco partner community adopt a sustainability practice, Ingram Micro Australia received the APJC Sustainability Partner of the Year Award at Cisco Partner Summit 2023, and decided to organize three more Sustainability boot camps for all partners attending Cisco Live APJC 2023 in Melbourne. In just one hour, partners can go through the training materials and sit the exam during the session, and Ingram Micro will cover the cost of the exam.

The Outcome

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s an investment towards securing a better future as well as better business opportunities. By comprehending the importance of sustainability and aligning it with business outcomes, we can collectively contribute to a more sustainable, healthier, and equitable world. Greater Together!

Remember, even small actions can create a ripple effect of positive change when it comes to sustainability.


Learn more about Black Belt Sustainability Training


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Gaurav Sharma

Leader, Black Belt Academy APJC

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