So General Motors is out and Cisco is in. Next Monday, Cisco will replace General Motors in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the uber-stock-market barometer. Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and editor-in-chief for all of Dow Jones said that Cisco was selected “because its communications and computer-networking products are vital to an economy and culture still adapting to the Information Age – just as automobiles were essential to America in the 20th Century.”
I’m not so sure I agree that our culture is “still adapting to the Information Age,” unless you believe the Internet is a series of tubes, but Cisco’s new stature got me thinking of the company’s opportunity to set the tone for a new generation based on green.
When you think of GM, you probably think of gas-guzzling SUVs, symbols of the go-go 1990s. When you think of Cisco, you think of a global networking company developing digital technology to connect people, businesses and communities.
Cisco is working hard to encourage its customers to use networking technologies to help save the planet. Take Cisco TelePresence, for example. Cisco says TelePresence helps save the planet because it allows executives to participate in remote meetings without having to fly or drive. A great example of this was at Voicecon 2008 when Al Gore, Cisco CEO John Chambers and Cisco executive vice-president Sue Bostrom, each located in different parts of the world, participated in a virtual interview with British science journalist Lawrence McGinty.
And during this week’s Cisco Partner Summit, attendees have a choice of attending in person in Boston or virtually via live streaming video and webcasts. Virtual attendees to webcasts and virtual booths can rack up points to win prizes like Flip cameras (did Cisco acquire Flip Video maker Pure Digital Technologies so it could give away its video cameras as prizes?).
Cisco is also keen to eat its own green dog food. In 2007, it hired Green Grid founder Paul Marcoux as vice president of green engineering for the Cisco Development Organization. And a year ago, Cisco set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its worldwide operations by 25% by 2012.
Cisco is doing this by deploying virtual networks, increasing its use of TelePresence and WebEx for remote meetings, and building new facilities to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) criteria for environmental friendliness and energy efficiency.
Even waste at Cisco is recycled. According to a report in CRN Australia, Cisco Networkers 2007 saved the equivalent of almost 208 tonnes of carbon emissions by using renewable energy. Some 70% of waste from the show was recycled.
With that said, Perhaps Cisco would be interested in this new contraption from Japan. TechCrunch reports that Tokyo-based Nakabayashi has developed a machine that turns used copier paper into toilet rolls. Customers can install the machine, which resembles a vending machine, in their offices for staff to dump (no pun intended) their used copier paper into the system which then churns out the recycled toilet paper. We think it’s a great idea: not only is office waste recycled, it also means fewer delivery trucks full of office supplies on the road.