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Andrew: Cisco has made sustainability a priority for many years, and we recently launched Cisco’s next generation environmental sustainability strategy. As a part of that, we have also set a goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our value chain by 2040. And now our customers are increasingly making it a priority. In fact, as we announced in June in a keynote in Las Vegas, sustainability is now among the company’s top five customer priorities. This was also reflected in last year’s elevation of sustainability to a senior leadership role at Cisco, with Mary de Wysocki named the company’s first chief sustainability officer (CSO). Furthermore, over two years, there has been a three-fold increase across industries in CSOs.

I am here with Denise Lee, Vice President of the Cisco Engineering Sustainability Office (ESO) to share with you why this should also be a priority for you, our Cisco Partners. Denise, can you share with us what is driving this to Board Room discussions and to the C-Suite?

Denise: Sure, there are key drivers in play that are making sustainability in solutions and business models a priority for our customers.

First, stakeholder demands are rapidly increasing. To cite an example, reporting requirements continue to evolve rapidly; we’re seeing some investment analysts preferentially rate the stocks of companies that prioritize compliance with them.  Second, the cost savings from reducing energy consumption are driving customers to build sustainability in business models, and to prioritize investment in modernizing their IT infrastructure. When we think of how much we are paying per kilowatt hour of energy consumed and the fact that, for example, the price has tripled in the United Kingdom in the past year, imagine what that means for businesses, data centers and driving energy efficiency on the campus. Many customers have set sustainability goals, but few have operationalized their plans. They are looking for help.

Andrew: My entire time at Cisco, we have talked about opening doors to new lines of business, talking to someone outside of IT. Interestingly, talking sustainability can help you to do just that with those CSOs, heads of facilities, and other C-Suite members.

Denise:  Governments around the world are setting aside large amounts of public funding to support customers’ key IT initiatives, particularly in the areas of community development, digital transformation, emerging technologies, and sustainability. Cisco estimates billions $USD in opportunity globally over the next 3 years, based on last day of service (LDOS) information, for customers to refresh and modernize their current install base to new Cisco solutions built with sustainability in mind.[1]

Andrew: That spells an enormous opportunity for you, our partners. And Cisco can arm you with the tools and the training to start having those conversations with your customers. Your first step will be to get your Cisco Environmental Sustainability Specialization (ESS). The ESS will equip you with the information you need to educate your customers on the benefits of migrating to cloud-enabled solutions while updating used technologies. You will also be able to share with customers the impact they can have on the environment by participating in circular economy programs.

Once accredited with the ESS, if residing in one of the participating countries, you are eligible to participate in Cisco’s Takeback Incentive. The Incentive offers incremental discounts of up to seven percent on new products registered as part of Takeback Incentive deals on refresh or migration opportunities. By replacing used hardware with new, energy-efficient Cisco equipment, customers can reduce their carbon footprint.  Partners can then take advantage of Cisco’s free takeback services, so the used hardware can be responsibly recycled or repurposed.

Finally, take advantage of the Cisco Black Belt Academy Sustainability training. This will provide the skills and knowledge to work with your customers to build sustainability in data centers and smart buildings that can reduce and optimize energy consumption.

Denise: There is so much more!  Join Andrew and me at Cisco Partner Summit 2023 this November in-person in Miami Beach or via the Cisco Partner Summit Live Digital Broadcast to learn more about how you can build your sustainability practice and support increased profitability at the same time. We will share new sustainability program initiatives and showcase Cisco customer sustainability stories and our Cisco Innovation Challenge Sustainability winners!

Register for session BIS10: Grow with Green – Sustainability as a Competitive Differentiator today.  We are looking forward to seeing you there and online!


Register for the Cisco Partner Summit 2023 Live Digital Broadcast here!

[1] Based on Cisco Ready Data, Last Day of Support (LDoS) FY24-26, as of June 13, 2023. Includes hardware, software and services spending for selected sub-use cases directly driving sustainability outcomes in targeted area.


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Andrew Sage

Vice President

Global Distribution & SMB Sales

Denise Lee

Vice President

Engineering Sustainability Office