Enterprises are going green, prompted by regulations and directives from governments, pressure from consumers and investors, and encouragement from executives and employees seeking to do the right thing for our planet. But before scrambling to join the environmental sustainability movement, business leaders should consider crafting a company-wide green architecture to deploy, manage and measure all green activities, from policies to compliance measures to products and services.
The good news is that the backbone of this architecture is a technology most companies already have in place—your converged IP corporate network. Just as the network makes an admirable base for a host of corporate initiatives such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain automation, security, and unified communications, it can also be the optimal nerve centre for control and command of a company’s entire slate of green activities.
Naresh Wadhwa, president and country manager, Cisco-India Saarc
Consider the benefits that the network offers. The network is:
• Integrated: allowing companies to embed green services directly into the infrastructure and enabling centralized monitoring, management, and control;
• Adaptable: making it easy to deploy new products and services as they become available;
• Dynamic: empowering products or services that once functioned independently to now operate together as part of a cohesive programme;
• Measurable: simplifying the process of collecting and verifying data on green programmes (carbon credits, for example, can be sold for profit at one or more of the carbon credit exchanges now available globally);
• Ubiquitous: extending every direction to suppliers, vendors, distributors, customers and communities around the world.
Hence, the network can create a “multiplier effect”, providing opportunities for energy-reduction collaboration beyond the confines of the company campus.
Simply put, the network can be the foundation to deploy and manage a robust energy-reduction initiative. Today, there are around 1 billion user connections to the Internet, and by 2012, there will be 5 billion. Ultimately, if something can be connected to the Internet, there is potential for green improvement.
Cisco’s Green IT action plan: growing company, shrinking carbon footprint
As companies realize the business benefits of going green, environmental sustainability can no longer be seen through the narrow lens of social responsibility. Cisco has made substantial commitments, from adopting green practices, working with various external groups to reduce the environmental impact of our business operations, to developing networking products and solutions that enable businesses, including our own. This drives environmental sustainability, while improving business efficiency, productivity and reducing costs.
In 2006, Cisco employees flew 1 billion miles. That got the company’s attention. So to reduce its corporate carbon footprint, Cisco initiated a number of regional and global network-based environmental sustainability projects.
Not the least of those, a $20 million (around Rs101 crore) commitment was made to the organization’s Carbon-to-Collaboration initiative, designed to significantly reduce the need for physical travel. But that’s just the start of a company-wide effort to reduce energy consumption in the products Cisco uses and manufactures, the policies we set, and the architecture we’re building around the network.
Cisco has internally installed around 410 telepresence locations worldwide and has saved close to $200 million to date on travel cost.
Starting with IP-based devices such as VOIP phones and video cameras, we work with partners to extend this to computers and peripherals, and finally to improve energy utilization—systems such as lighting, heating, surveillance and access—throughout a building.
The network may very well be the most accessible and available tool for environmental sustainability we have. It speaks to the very heart of green—touching every part of the business and therefore, with unmatched efficiency, amplifying and extending eco-conservation measures far beyond the doors of your company to those of your supply chain, customers, channels and partners. It holds the potential for rapid energy savings as well as longer term green business solutions and sustainability. The network can be your big, green machine—in every sense of the word.
Respond to this column at email@example.com