IT infrastructure giant Cisco has announced two sustainability initiatives aimed at tackling incorrect disposal of data center hardware.
The first is the Environmental Sustainability Specialization, available to all Cisco partners to reward them for promoting its re-purposing and recycling programs.
The second, only available in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, is Cisco Green Pay – a new payment model that offers a 5% discount on the company’s most efficient gear, with Cisco recovering the end-of-life product free of charge. When the equipment is returned, the customer receives a certificate confirming that they have entered the circular economy.
“Environmental, social and corporate responsibility are not only embedded in our business practices and products, but they are also a priority for our customers,” said Wendy Mars, EMEAR President at Cisco.
“This new payment solution for Cisco sustainable technology offers our customers reliable IT solutions that consume less resources and ensures they are benefiting from the latest innovation.”
Haste makes eWaste
eWaste is a growing problem for the technology industry: according to the Global E-Waste Monitor project, the world generated 53.6 Megatons of e-waste in 2019, and just 9.3 Mt, or 17.4%, were documented to do be disposed or recycled properly.
Meanwhile, recent research by the Ellen McArthur Foundation suggests that circular economy – a model of production and consumption which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, and recycling existing materials and products – could contribute towards tackling the 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be resolved by transitioning to renewable energy alone.
Cisco promised to solve the eWaste problem in its own supply chain back in 2018, when CEO Chuck Robbins signed the pledge to have 100% of Cisco equipment returned back to the seller after it reached the end of its lifespan.
The Environmental Sustainability Specialization aims to propagate this goal through the company’s partner ecosystem, while Green Pay takes aim at its customers.
The news specialization will educate the partners on the benefits of the circular economy – there are 15 hours of training involved – to enable them to have more meaningful conversations about the sustainability of IT.
Once accredited, partners will be eligible to participate in Cisco’s Takeback Incentive, that offers discounts of up to 7% on new products registered as part of refresh or migration. The company said it is looking to enable its entire ecosystem to expand into services for responsible disposal of unused customer hardware.
Of course, none of this is done without a commercial motive: “Sustainability can open new conversations with business executives and provide access to new buying centers,” the company said in a note to distributors and partners.