Sustainability Essential to Economic Recovery, Says Cisco

Cisco says business and governments must seize the opportunity to make society more sustainable.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

April 22, 2021

3 Min Read
Post COVID-19 economic recovery

Sustainability will be integral to economic recovery, post-COVID, according to Cisco.

Wendy Mars, president of Cisco EMEAR, said recovery is urgent, and that “green and digital [must go] hand in hand.”

The European Commission has set aside €750 billion to help repair immediate economic and social damage. Cisco says that governments, businesses and people must seize the opportunity to make society more sustainable.

At the same time, they need to be ready for the digital age — or risk falling behind.


Cisco’s Wendy Mars

“It’s important to get different groups of business leaders to sign up specific charters around change,” she said. “What are they are going to do within their own organisations and their own environments? Now is a time for leaders to stand up and be counted and be very clear — to issue metrics around what they will be compared against.”

Mars was speaking at an event to mark Earth Day 2021. Her comments come a day after Cisco committed $100 million over 10 years to help reverse climate change. The vendor will focus on technology-based solutions, GHG and carbon reduction, climate resilience, green jobs, and community education and activation.

Digital Divide

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Eva Maydell said the innovation exists today to help empower a more inclusive future.


Eva Maydell

“That sustainability piece will be critical,” she said. “It’s going to require public, private partnerships, and for us to be innovative in our thinking. Our first priority is to try to preserve jobs, but we want to do it in a sustainable and inclusive way.”

On the €750 billion recovery fund, and the overall 1.8 trillion Euro stimulus package, she said they were “once in a lifetime resources.”

“We should not use them to do the projects of 10 years ago, or today,” said Maydell. “We need to use these resources to do the projects of tomorrow, and of 2030 and 2040.”

However, Maydell warned of the risk of creating “digital minorities … if we do not put our money where our mouth is.”

“I’m ashamed; we’re still talking about the digital divide,” she said. “I remember the World Economic Forum writing the report on that more than 15 years ago. We’re still here; we’re still discussing it and the huge gaps that exist.”

For her part, Mars said digital skills will be essential for ensuring no one gets left behind. She pointed to Cisco’s Network Academy, through which more than 2 million students have passed through in Europe.

“We’ve seen strong success with that … 93% of those students have gone into employment after going through the programmes,” she said.

At the same time, she said it’s important to “get all the different generations [to] a comfort level with interacting with innovation.”

Sustainability High on Customers’ Agenda

Mars says sustainability is high on customers’ priority lists.

“If I look at conversations with our customers, you can guarantee people will talk about green. We never experienced that a year to 18 months ago; it’s a much more public conversation.”

IDC figures from 2020 confirm this. Close to 60% of organisations in Europe now include sustainability objectives into requests for proposal (RFP). Almost all (99%) recognize sustainability plays a role in selection of channel partners. Almost half (45%) believe this plays a critical role in that decision-making process.

Read more about:

VARs/SIsChannel Research

About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like