How Cisco’s Technology Helps Make the World More Sustainable


Cisco Systems bills itself as the leader in “networked sustainability,” and organizers, knowing teleconferencing would be an important element at the COP15 events, launched a public tender for sponsors for our videoconferencing. Naturally, Cisco stepped in. Cisco’s Telepresence, the technology used for virtual meetings at COP15, is described on Cisco’s website as high quality audio, with high definition video and interactive features to “deliver an in-person meeting experience.”

“Cisco met our demands in terms of the company’s sustainability strategy, its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program and its adherence to the UN Global Contact, so they became the technology provider for the conference,” Olling said.

Cisco’s partnership with San Francisco

Two weeks ago, Cisco launched its Smart+Connected Communities in San Francisco, a program which provides cities with the technologies to make it more sustainable. Cisco will focus on four areas in San Francisco: health care, education, utilities, and security systems.

Cisco signed an agreement with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom during his visit to Bangalore while touring Cisco’s Globalization Center East. According to a press release, the agreement outlines potential for the city and Cisco to bring a Living Innovation Laboratory within a new UN Global Compact (UNGC) Center on Hunters Point Shipyard. The press release refers to the Living Innovation Laboratory as a  “facility that will address global warming and support social and economic innovation”

Newsom said of the possibility that the UNGC Center would be in San Franciso:

We have been waiting for the ideal project to embark on our vision of a ‘Sustainable 21st Century San Francisco’ that showed promise in generating strong economic and employment opportunities for citizens and the surrounding areas while also respecting the use of the land and its resources. In developing this vision with Cisco for the Hunters Point Shipyard, I see this as being easily the most innovative sustainable urban development project in North America. The city of San Francisco is thrilled to be the home to such a progressive initiative and having Cisco as a partner in the UNGC Center will help advance that important project.

Wim Elfrink, chief globalisation officer and executive vice president, Cisco Services said, “We are honored to collaborate with Mayor Newsom and the city of San Francisco to achieve a ‘Sustainable 21st Century San Francisco’. This is a city at the heart of the Silicon Valley IT revolution, one that has been long committed to sustainability, and with leaders committed to transformation; all the right ingredients for building a sustainable city of the future.”

San Francisco is already partnering with Cisco to make its neighborhoods more sustainable and its buses more eco-friendly. Cisco’s Urban EcoMap shows the San Francisco neighborhoods which emit the most greenhouse gas (GHGs), use the most energy, and produce the most waste. The Urban EcoMap then recommends how to make low cost improvements to make neighborhoods more sustainable. Cisco’s Connected Bus pilot project helps the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to design and create buses that emit less carbon. The buses will be 95 percent emissions free.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

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