How Cosentino Is Financing Zero Waste and Zero Obsolescence with Cisco Green Pay
For Cosentino Group, sustainability is more than a buzzword. It is a core pillar of our business.
We are a global Spanish family-owned company that produces and distributes high-value, innovative, and sustainable surfaces for architecture and design. Our brands include Silestone, Dekton, Sensa, and Scalea, and customers use our products indoors and outdoors for countertops, floors, facades, and claddings, among other applications. All our products are carbon neutral and sold in more than 80 countries.
Cosentino's commitment to sustainability includes the construction of a 40,000-panel generating 20 megawatts of power at our Almeria production facility. In 2021, we reduced our carbon footprint by 6% and reforested 55,000 square meters of woodlands. We strive to minimize the consumption of natural resources and include climate change issues in our corporate risk analyses and strategic decisions.
We are a manufacturing company at our core, and world events affect everything we do. For global companies like ours, supply chain pressures and inflation massively impacted operations in 2021 and 2022. The cost of electricity and natural gas to power facilities spiked, as did the price of fuel, transportation, and raw materials. We were already working toward reducing costs, optimizing resources, and improving efficiency. We also relied on our RPA (robotic process automation) center of excellence to spur innovation across our production and operations facilities and ensure our business continued to run smoothly.
Adopting a Circular Economy Model for Our IT Infrastructure
Our commitment to efficiency extends to our IT infrastructure. With 6,000 users across 170 international locations, we need rock-solid IT infrastructure that is low waste, up to date, and operates 24/7. Even a few minutes of downtime can bring our factories to a halt, resulting in significant financial losses, so we must spend wisely to ensure our systems are always available while advancing our goal of carbon neutrality.
One of our biggest challenges—from both a financial and logistical perspective—is preventing equipment from reaching end-of-life. As equipment ages and approaches obsolescence, the risk of failures and outages increases exponentially. As Cosentino's CTO, I work with colleagues around the world, including CIO José Manuel Rodríguez Jiménez, to keep our systems operating at peak performance. My job includes looking for ways to improve the sustainability and efficiency of our equipment, which led to a company-wide system refresh in 2021.
We decided to renew our infrastructure with Cisco technology. We were a few months into the negotiations around our service agreements when the Cisco team introduced their finance partner DLL (De Lage Landen International B.V) and the Cisco Green Pay program. Cisco Green Pay is a new circular IT payment solution from Cisco Capital that shifts equipment provision from an ownership model to a circular economy model. Instead of buying the equipment outright, we signed a three-year payment agreement, at the end of which Cisco will refurbish, recycle, or reuse our equipment instead of sending it to a landfill. They will then replace it with new, state-of-the-art equipment.
Cosentino is not an IT company, but our department is the foundation for everything we do. Cisco Green Pay would allow us to align IT operations with Cosentino’s larger mission. It was a perfect choice, and when we signed, we became the first company in the world to leverage a Cisco Green Pay agreement.
The Environmental and Financial Benefits of Cisco Green Pay
Cisco Green Pay offers several advantages for a company like Cosentino
To begin, we will know our equipment is always up to date. Well-made, reliable equipment can last for six, eight, or even 10 years, and even though its longevity keeps it out of a landfill, it also means the company doesn't benefit from new technology advances. Every generation of network hardware and software adds more automation and improves energy efficiency. These features result in savings in electricity and network management costs and go a long way to avoid malfunctions in the production line.
Another benefit is that we no longer discard obsolete equipment when it begins to age. Reducing our carbon footprint matters, and now we don't have to worry about that part of the process. We used to throw out 40% of our equipment when it was obsolete. With Cisco Green Pay, that percentage will be zero.
Cisco Green Pay also transforms our IT spend from a capital expense to an operational expense. It will eliminate upfront hardware acquisition costs, preserve cash, and keep working capital. Hardware quickly depreciates, so it's not an investment. Networking is a commodity for our business and an operating cost. Since IT is not our core business, it makes sense to think of infrastructure as an ongoing expense that aligns with our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.
And in terms of budget, we will know what we have to pay and when we have to pay it. It's hard to accurately predict the shelf life of hardware, which makes it hard to budget for regular technology updates. Cisco Green Pay will allow us to streamline total project costs into a fixed and predictable payment.
Partnering with Cisco has allowed us to embrace a zero-obsolescence approach to our infrastructure. By cycling out our network every three years, we eliminate e-waste and ensure we always have the most reliable and secure hardware available. Our production, distribution, and R&D teams will always have the IT tools they need to innovate and drive our sustainability efforts.
Managed Solutions Free Up Our IT Team
Even though Cosentino is not a technology company, technology is one way we work to advance our business and sustainability goals. Over the first half of 2023, we will transition all our locations to Cisco Meraki technology under the Cisco Green Pay program. We've already replaced 200 network appliances and switches and will eventually deploy 2,000 devices across our global operations.
We are also moving to managed Cisco SD-WAN and network security solutions. During the pandemic, we routed far more traffic across the public internet than our internal global network, so we rolled out a new application-centric strategy for more agile communications. As most applications are hosted in the cloud, the transition to SD-WAN was a logical change. We have evolved past physical boundaries to serve distant users and branches worldwide, so the risk of successful attacks or compliance violations increases.
The Cisco team is always well-informed on the latest technology, and we can take advantage of their knowledge of new options and functionalities. With a partner in control of configuring, securing, and managing our network, it frees us up to think about ways to grow and put technology to its best use for the business. The IT team can focus on security and user experience and can spend more of our time supporting Cosentino's larger goals, providing a foundation for our RPA initiative, and helping our people innovate.
In addition to our managed SD-WAN, we selected Cisco Umbrella Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) to access the advanced protection modern organizations need—with less effort and fewer resources required. My IT team is also helping our executive team implement a company-wide data strategy to optimize and automate business and eCommerce systems to make better decisions and improve our internal and customer-facing processes.
Living Our Core Values
Cisco Green Pay has empowered Cosentino's IT unit to align itself with the company's ESG goals and demonstrate our commitment to the company's vision—all while greatly reducing the risk of malfunction or downtime in our production facilities, logistics centers, factory showrooms, or any other of our locations worldwide. We are now taking our company’s sustainability commitment even further as we extend our Circular IT approach to the United States: Miami, New Mexico, and Pittsburgh.
I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our leaders, our colleagues, and partners to make our carbon-neutral pledges a reality. In the words of our President, Francisco Martinez-Cosentino Justo, "We have embraced sustainability as a core value needed to consolidate our business model, which we hope is embraced by all players through the value chain."
Cosentino seeks to "inspire people through innovative and sustainable spaces." We are forging a path to create zero-carbon surfaces for today and tomorrow's eco-friendly work and living spaces. Cisco is helping us take action in ways that will positively impact our people, our partners, and the planet.