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Cisco has indicated that a sustainability specialisation programme is coming for partners in 2022 as it looks to encourage more to go greener.
The vendor used its partner event this week to outline the plans, which will initially be focused largely on recycling and rewarding partners for becoming part of the circular economy.
“The place we’re starting with the new specialisation is on this idea of circular consumption,” said Andrew Sage, vice-president, global distribution at Cisco.
Sage said that for a few years, the vendor had already been offering a take-back and recycle service that partners could offer customers and it wanted more engagement with that.
“What we want to do is arm our partners with the ability to do that using our free take-back and recycle initiative at the company,” he said. “So the specialisation is about initially focusing on that circular consumption idea, where we train them on how to use the tool. We give them the specialisation brand so they can use it in their marketing and talk about their commitment to to the environment.”
Sage said the take-back scheme last year managed to bring about a million units from customers and 1,000 tonnes of equipment that was not sent to landfill, with 99.9% of it being recycled.
Cisco is expecting most partners to sign up for the specialisation and start to take advantage of the positive branding that will come with it.
Sage said it had mulled over the idea of using a specialisation as a means of encouraging more recycling, but decided that, ultimately, a programme would give the partners a framework to follow.
“We went out to a lot of partners and actually interviewed them over the last 12 months and asked them what they thought,” he said. “And it turns out that about half of them are doing one of two things. One, about half of partners are building out this kind of circular economy practice in their business already.
“The second thing happening with partners is about half of them again are starting to make money off of sustainability solutions. So, for example, using technology to help customers drive their sustainability outcomes, using things like smart buildings and IoT [internet of things] and sensors, things like that.”
Sage said Cisco had also launched a digital sustainability challenge, which rewards those in the channel that share their most innovative sustainability solutions.
Oliver Tuszik, senior vice-president, global partner sales at Cisco, said sustainability was an issue that was being talked about by customers and the company had to arm its partners with an answer to that conversation.
“It is now coming up in every discussion with the customer, so it’s something where we have more partners and also have to do our own part of talking about this,” he said. “We started with this first specialisation, and now some challenges where we are setting up to to engage more with our partners.”