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Cisco Sustainability News, Milestones, Partnerships and Net Zero Timeline

April 23, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Cisco Systems, led by CEO Chuck Robbins, expects to be carbon neutral by 2040. How will the networking company reach that long-term goal?

Chief Sustainability Officer Mary de Wysocki shared some clues in this interview.

Mary de Wysocki, senior VP and chief sustainability officer, Cisco Systems
Mary de Wysocki, senior VP and chief sustainability officer, Cisco Systems

Among de Wysocki's key statements from that Q&A: "My primary objective as CSO is to steward environmental sustainability initiatives across Cisco. As we think about our strategy, we’re focusing on how we can decarbonize our business and embed circularity. Equally important is looking at how we can enable sustainable growth and innovation. The greatest opportunity is on helping our customers, partners, and other stakeholders decarbonize their business and embed circularity. Cisco’s technology and ecosystem can play a significant role in the twin transition to a digital and low-carbon economy."

That journey toward sustainability, de Wysocki added, must be authentic, transparent, and data-driven.

Cisco Partners and Sustainability Strategy

On the partner ecosystem front, Cisco unveiled an Environmental Sustainability Specialization for partners in early 2022. That effort's lead sponsor is Andrew Sage, VP of global distribution sales.

Dig a little deeper, and you'll see that Cisco continues to promote a Takeback and Reuse Program. And the company is rolling out and activating Circular Design Principals for all new Cisco products by 2025.

The efforts don't end there. The timeline below, updated regularly, further explains Cisco's sustainability strategy, key milestones, customer engagements, partner integrations and more. Check back regularly for updates.

April 2024: Sustainability Strategy

  • IT and Solar Power: Cisco and Morgan Solar are testing a renewable energy solution that powers collaboration and meeting spaces. The solution involves Morgan Solar’s Energy Blinds, Cisco’s Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch, and Webex. Early tests produced up to 50W of renewable energy per window -- enough to effectively run the pilot room’s required equipment and devices. When the room is not occupied, the system stores excess solar energy for later use.

March 2024: Sustainability Strategy

February 2024: Sustainability Strategy

  • Partnership: Orange Business and Cisco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a "joint action plan to help reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions," the two companies said. Four key focus areas include: (1) GHG Emissions Trajectory; (2) Carbon Impact of Products and Services; (3) Emphasis on Circular Economy Programs and Principles; (4) Eco-designed Products and Solutions of the Future.
Denise Lee, Cisco Systems
Denise Lee, VP, Engineering Sustainability Office, Cisco Systems
  • Potential Layoffs?: Cisco may have layoffs, multiple media organizations reported. We'll be listening for updates to see if the potential job cuts impact the company's sustainability and ESG teams.
  • Webex and Power Management: At Cisco Live Amsterdam, the company announced Low Carbon Mode in Webex. Details surfaced in a larger announcement about AI Assistant for Webex. The new sustainability tool "helps IT admins minimize non-renewable energy used to power employees’ meetings on laptops and PCs. It is designed to help companies reduce the impact of their employees’ energy usage at work through new insights from the Webex Control Hub," the company said.
  • Power Purchase Agreement: Cisco has signed a 15-year agreement to purchase solar energy from EGNIS of Spanish. The plant is expected to fulfill Cisco's electricity needs in Europe for the next 15 years, Cisco said. RelatedSee Cisco's sustainability strategy here.
  • Networking and AI: Denise Lee, VP of Cisco's Engineering Sustainability Office, is calling on partners to focus on "energy networking" and Power over Ethernet to help optimize power usage -- especially in the age of power-hungry AI applications.

December 2023: Sustainability Strategy

November 2023: Cisco Sustainability Strategy

Multiple updates...

September 2023: Sustainability Research

August 2023: Sustainability Partnerships

  • IT Distribution, Networking and Circular Economy: TD Synnex has achieved the Cisco Environmental Sustainability Specialization for its business in Europe. Among the benefits: TD Synnex partners can plug into the Cisco Takeback incentive, which enables the free return of used hardware to be remanufactured, recycled or safely disposed of, and up to 7% discount for new products on qualifying deals. In addition, obtaining this specialization helps partners advance toward Cisco Select Partner status, the companies noted.

More: Continue to page two for additional Cisco sustainability updates & the associated channel partner implications.

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3 comments on “Cisco Sustainability News, Milestones, Partnerships and Net Zero Timeline”

  1. Hi Brendan: Thanks for your question. I've reached out to Cisco to see if I can find the answer for you. I will update this comment if/when I receive a reply.


  2. Hi Brendan: Cisco just replied to my inquiry. According to a spokesperson for the company: "As of last month, I can confirm we have 531 partners who have earned the ESS, certifying them for participating in Cisco’s Take Back Incentive where partners, in participating countries, are exclusively eligible for incremental discounts of up to 7% on new products, with a commitment to return customers used hardware back to Cisco."


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