Cisco launches Environmental Sustainability Specialization

Zack Dickson, vice president of the partner organization at Cisco Canada

Cisco’s newest partner specialization, Environmental Sustainability, is now live.

First introduced at last year’s Partner Summit, the ESS offers partners up to seven percent rebates when they take out customers’ old equipment and return it to Cisco for reuse or recycling under the Cisco Refresh program.

In this edition of the podcast, we discuss the new program with Cisco Canada channel chief Zack Dickson and Kelly Michel, president of Charter Telecom, a Cisco partner looking towards the new program and with a history of its own recycling efforts.

We discuss:

  • what the ESS is trying to measure and incentivize;
  • why Cisco is launching the new specialization and the impact technology can have in the environmental arena;
  • how Charter Telecom looks at the circular economy and what customers are looking for;
  • how incentives will reward partners who currently take back used equipment and encourage those who haven’t done so to date to get involved;
  • how the specialization moves recycling from a cost of doing business to a profitability opportunity for Charter;
  • requirements for partners to get certified and take advantage of the incentives;
  • why Charter thinks it will ultimately put “a large portion of our organization” through the required training;
  • why Cisco designed the ESS as a low-barrier program and sees it as an opportunity for a wide variety of partners;
  • the role customer demand will play on making sustainability a key part of solutions design in the future, and how it will open new doors to certified partners;
  • what happens to used technology under the takeback program;
  • how the program tackles the grey market problem facing Cisco and partners; and
  • where both Cisco and Charter see the role of sustainability in channel programs going forward.

All this and much more in this edition of the Podcast.


Robert Dutt

Robert Dutt is the founder and head blogger at He has been covering the Canadian solution provider channel community for a variety of publications and Web sites since 1997.