Cisco recognized as Green IT leader
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Cisco recognized as Green IT leader

Going green can be an excellent move for an IT firm for a variety of reasons. Companies can leverage the use of sustainable energy to reduce their carbon footprints, make the most of their budgets and boost their public image. These positive results can be achieved in a variety of ways, from improving the products and services they offer to revamping internal operations. For global networking leader Cisco, the latter has proven to be a successful strategy.

InfoWorld recently recognized Cisco as a winner in its 2013 Green IT Awards, particularly for the company's LabEnergy Management program. The source explained that the program is an energy-conservation system that aims to minimize electricity consumption at Cisco's labs in a number of creative ways. Not only did the firm make adjustments to its infrastructure, improving ventilation, cooling and air-flow management, but it also took steps toward motivating employees to get educated and enthusiastic about sustainability.

This isn't the first time that the LabEnergy Management program has been highlighted by clean energy organizations. Earlier in April, the Uptime Institute named Cisco a winner of its Green Enterprise IT Award, specifically citing these efforts. The institute noted that Cisco has more than 1,600 labs that consume more than 60 percent of the business' electricity. For this reason, the company targeted labs as a major opportunity to improve operations and put its current energy management program in place.

The Uptime Institute explained that Cisco's strategy has three primary components – using energy audits and building improvements, implementing technologies to improve the monitoring of lab equipment and launching an employee engagement program. 

In the company's blog, Andy Smith, global sustainability manager within Cisco's workplace resources (WPR) department, elaborated on some of the employee-targeted initiatives. For instance, in order to encourage employees to strive toward being as green as possible, leaders deployed Cisco's WebEx Social solutions to power opportunities for lab employees to network with one another, discuss their progress and ask questions. The enterprise also developed a series of performance goals so that labs can be recognized for excelling in their sustainability efforts.

"The LabEnergy Management initiative started in late 2011 and, when completed later this year, will avoid approximately U.S. $9 million in electricity costs and 30,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually," Smith wrote. "This program is also key for Cisco to achieve its latest corporate energy and GHG [greenhouse gas] reduction goals."

It is becoming increasingly critical that IT companies recognize the importance of sustainability. However, efforts don't need to be limited to the organization itself. Firms that produce technologies and services that are environmentally friendly are also likely to reap the benefits. Demand for a more conscious way of consuming advanced solutions is at an all-time high, with many consumers eager to see what IT can do to address environmental issues. Companies like Cisco show that it's possible to continue innovative development while taking care of a business' carbon footprint.