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Dell: A Green Road Ahead
By Michael Schweibinz

Some international corporations have watched from the sidelines as smaller companies have taken a commanding lead to the race to go green. Dell on the other hand has decided to become an industry leader in sustainability.

Last week, Dell announced several goals to enhance its long-term corporate responsibility agenda: 2020 Legacy of Good. The technology giant has stated measurable and realistic goals that don’t just sound good; if successful, they should have a meaningful impact on people, planet, and the company’s bottom line. The twelve goals include:

  • Ensure 100% of its product packaging is sourced from sustainable materials such as straw, mushrooms, and bamboo by 2020.
  • Divert from landfills 90% of waste generated in its buildings.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its facility and logistics operations by 50%.
  • Reuse or reduce its use of fresh water in water-stressed regions by 20%.
  • Develop and maintain sustainability initiatives in 100% of Dell-operated buildings.
  • Demonstrate 100% transparency of key issues within its supply chain, working with suppliers to mitigate risks in those areas.
  • Reduce the energy intensity of its product portfolio by 80%.
  • Use 50 million pounds of recycled-content plastic and other sustainable materials in its products.
  • Ensure 100% of Dell packaging is either recyclable or compostable.
  • Phase out environmentally sensitive materials.
  • Recover 2 billion pounds of used electronics.
  • Identify and quantify the environmental benefits of Dell-developed solutions.

The plan targets three areas in particular: the environment, people, and communities. To be successful, every division of the company will need to be working towards them.

And Dell is going beyond its own internal sustainability and committing to work “with industry stakeholders, including suppliers, partners and competitors, to develop a method for more accurately assessing the ‘net positive’ impact of IT on society, including the ways IT customers use and benefit from increasingly environmentally sustainable and efficient IT.”

According to Dell’s executive director of sustainability, David Lear, these 2020 goals will allow customers to grasp the “ripple effect of sustainable IT strategies like electronic medical records and virtualized desktops.” As customers are better able to track their own IT impacts, the relationship between Dell and their customers should be strengthened and enhanced.

First Affirmative applauds Dell’s sustainability plans and is very grateful for the company’s support of the annual SRI Conference. Hopefully as time progresses these Dell-led initiatives will spread throughout the industry, as sustainable operations and reporting will become business certainties.


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Posted: October 21, 2013