3 min read

Linksys is going green

Cisco's Ethernet and wireless networking division rolls out eco-friendly packaging

The most important aspect of Linksys’ quest to go completely green is the company’s admission that they are not green today.

Linksys spokesperson Trevor Bratton told CDN that only 38 skus are green, but the intent is to roll out more. Linksys’ green strategy will predominately focus on products.

Linksys’ top 10 skus will go green. The goal with these skus is to save enough energy to power 14,000 homes in a day.

Gone is the hard to open box with sleeve. Linksys packaging has moved to an eco-friendly pizza box. The ink used for printing is soy-based and can be recycled. Linksys also plans to print all product information on the box itself, which will eliminate the sleeve.

By moving to a pizza box, Linksys claims it can reduce its paper consumption by 49 per cent. The company is also using egg carton-style containers, also known as pulp-molded trays, inside the package.

In six months time, the company also wants to release the totally green router.

Bratton said that Linksys, in its effort to be green, is working with its channel partners to help them meet accepted standards in the market place. For example, Wal-Mart and Best Buy demand vendor partners meet certain environmental standards.

“Linksys wants to partner with environmentally friendly partners. Some of the retailers have a green policy and we would work to meet that baseline and with that increase our own baseline,” Bratton said. “We want to lead with green as an important differentiator. If VARs understand that there is a good feeling with customers even though they are buying a router or networking product anyway. Financially it will be important to them because of the trade in possibilities.”

This initial move by Linksys is expected to cut waste materials by 40 per cent, and the Cisco division believes it will increase even further with the elimination of plastic bags.

There are also a couple of other factors for the Linksys green quest. More than 57 per cent of customers are influenced by the Energy Star certification label on products during their buying decisions. The public sector in Canada and the U.S. is also mandating more green IT solutions. Also, Bratton said that Linksys’ green campaign is simply the socially responsible thing to do.

Linksys staff will also be doing its part. The company is encouraging its people to telecommute and there are disclaimers on e-mails that inform users to “Think before they print.”

Bratton also said channel partners can spruce up their green promotions with out of the box promos such as “Buy a router and we’ll plant a tree.”

“This is something a VAR can do and it opens up new windows of opportunity for them. They can make more money with green as an ice breaker than other competitors that don’t have a green solution. Some customers pay more for green solutions because they want them,” he said.

Another major effort will be made on logistics, shipping by boat rather than air. “Air cargo is less environmentally friendly than a boat crossing the water. However, we have to make sure the processes are aligned and the plan for such things as a product launch are possible. There has to be enough product in the channel for a product release so we do not need to make air shipments to meet proposed dates,” Bratton said.

By using boat shipping, Linksys can reduce the amount of carbon it puts into the air by 90 per cent.

Linksys is also planning on holding E-waste days in April and October, which ask Cisco and Linksys employees to bring in old walkmans and other devices they will be properly recycled at no charge.

Linksys is even planning on introducing a logo for channel partners that would say they use Linksys green products.