Cisco tops list of "cool" IT companies
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Cisco tops list of "cool" IT companies

In order to excel in today's IT environment, companies need to show that they are more than just product manufacturers and service providers. In no realm has this proven clearer than green innovation. Not only are consumers interested in buying solutions that are more eco-friendly, but they want to support enterprises that have made a commitment to reducing their carbon footprints that extends far beyond their own technologies. 

IT goes green
Greenpeace recently recognized several leading IT companies, including Cisco and IBM, through its Cool IT Leaderboard. The environmental organization ranked 20 of the businesses to determine whether they are truly doing their part to slow climate change. These actions include providing economy-wide climate solutions, taking steps to reduce emissions internally and lobbying for science-based energy policies.

Networking corporation Cisco tied for first place on this year's list with Google. Greenpeace praised the company's work in greenhouse gas reduction in particular, which has been a major goal for Cisco recently. The IT solutions provider has continually raised the stakes on its energy-savings targets, now aiming to achieve 40 percent below its 2007 levels by 2017. 

IBM was honored as one of the top 10 green companies, ranking eighth overall. The innovative IT firm has long been a staunch advocate of going green, which it has showcased most recently with its ongoing Smarter Planet project. Among the achievements recognized by Greenpeace were the business' dedication to hitting greenhouse gas reduction targets – in fact, IBM decreased its emissions 40 percent by 2005 and another 12 percent by 2012. Particularly notable, the environmental group pointed out, was the fact that IBM has set a third goal, which few IT organizations have done so far.

The reason it is so crucial that IT firms become more eco-friendly is that they have the potential to make a major impact on the health of climate as a whole. The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) explained that with the greater use of technologies such as video conferencing and smart building management tools, global greenhouse gas could be cut by as much as 16.5 percent by 2020. This would also translate into $1.9 trillion in gross energy and fuel savings. Furthermore, a reduction of 9.1 Gigatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) could be achieved.

GeSI suggested that in order for these benefits to be realized, there need to be stronger policies in place to address climate change and encourage the adoption of greener IT. The group emphasized that if communications-related IT is to have a positive effect on global businesses and the environment, leaders must be aware of how to properly implement them and what reasons they have to do so.

If organizations commit to spending their budgets on solutions that take into account the future of the planet, they can both support their own outcomes and encourage continuing innovation. While adopting cleaner energy policies can be a major challenge, success is possible with the help of the right tools.