Packaging is too often a manifestation of excess and waste. All that extra cushioning. All of those individually wrapped parts. Not to mention packaging that is not easily recycled. Product manuals and accessories that are often just thrown away.
Eighteen months ago, I reported on the packaging problem and encouraged vendors to go on a "packaging diet." My two-part series focused on best practices for packaging reduction. One of my case studies in the series, Cisco's promising pilot program, was highlighted in the Esty / Simmons sequel The Green To Gold Business Playbook.
But since, as with many diets, the easy part is often the early stages, I wanted to learn how Cisco was doing over the long-term. Glenn Nomi, Cisco's program manager of green technologies and Oleg Kolosov, manager of Cisco's packaging team, met with me and provided an update.
The top-line takeaway: The packaging diet is working. Cisco continues to expand its program to more products while refining its packaging practices. The program applies to both shipments to Cisco's customers as well as Cisco's internal shipments to its manufacturing partner sites.
Cisco's green packaging program uses three strategies:
- Remove items that are not wanted from a shipment,
- Reduce packaging, and
- Replace with more environmentally friendly packaging