Reusing Old Equipment Saves Cisco $153 Million

Reusing Old Equipment Saves Cisco $153 Million

A global closed-loop reverse supply chain has enabled Cisco to collect nearly 24 million pounds of returned electronic equipment, more than 99 percent of which was recycled or reused.

The networking giant offers a discount on new products in exchange for returned equipment. Redeploying that unwanted equipment saved Cisco $153 million in fiscal 2009, the company said in its just-released Corporate Social Responsibility report.

The company has been steadily working to also eliminate toxic and excess materials in its products. For example, Cisco implemented more than 40 improvement projects with its suppliers aimed at using less raw material and additional sustainable content in its packaging. The company is on track to remove lead solder from all of its products by 2014.

Buying green power and using its own technology and know-how also enabled Cisco to meet its 2012 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal roughly three years early.

The company reduced its U.S. operational emissions in fiscal year 2009 by a whopping 40 percent below 2007 levels. The company’s goal through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program involved a 25 percent reduction.

Meanwhile, the company also blew away a separate target it set as part of the Clinton Global Initiative by cutting air-travel emissions by 39 percent, relative to a 2006 baseline. This was done largely through the company’s virtual collaboration technologies, such as Telepresence (pictured above), which is also being used to beam the United Nations Climate Change conference to facilities througout the world.

While the company does not foresee as large of an impact from climate change legislation as the risks facing more carbon-intense industries due to its relatively small carbon footprint. It does, however, expect that other regulations will impact its business, such as energy efficiency requirements for the design and operation of network products, and new efficiency specs for new and existing buildings.

Cisco laid the groundwork in fiscal 2009 for the development of a Global Water Management System that will collect water data and measure impacts in a standardized way. The company also selected 11 of its largest sites to be studied for consumption and local availability.