Dell Sets 2020 Environmental Goals
Dell plans to divert from landfills 90 percent of waste generated in its buildings and ensure 100 percent of its product packaging is sourced from sustainable materials such as straw, mushrooms and bamboo by 2020.
These are two of the 12 environmental goals Dell announced today in its 2020 Legacy of Good plan, a long-term corporate responsibility framework. The 2020 Legacy of Good plan is divided into three areas: the environment, people (that includes Dell’s 100,000-plus team members worldwide), and communities.
Dell’s 2020 environmental goals focus on four areas: reducing the environmental impact of company operations, enabling customers to do the same, driving social and environmental responsibility in the industry and supply chain, and promoting technology’s role in addressing environmental challenges.
The other 10 environmental goals, each to be achieved by 2020, are:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its facility and logistics operations by 50 percent.
- Reuse or reduce its use of fresh water in water-stressed regions by 20 percent.
- Develop and maintain sustainability initiatives in 100 percent of Dell-operated buildings.
- Demonstrate 100 percent 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 percent.
- Use 50 million pounds of recycled-content plastic and other sustainable materials in its products.
- Ensure 100 percent 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.
Dell has not yet released baselines for these 2020 goals. A company spokesperson says Dell will announce the baselines in its corporate responsibility report, which will be published next summer. The primary reason the company is waiting to announce the baselines for these goals is Dell’s recent acquisitions and the complexity of quantifying past emissions and how they fit into Dell’s overall baseline, the spokesperson says.
David Lear, Dell’s executive director of sustainability, says customers say sustainability leadership contributes to their decision to do business with Dell and more than 75 percent of the company’s requests-for-proposal include a CSR element.
Customers also say they lack a means to demonstrate how their own IT initiatives benefit the environment and lower energy use and costs, Lear says. The 2020 goals will help customers “assess the ripple effect of sustainable IT strategies like electronic medical records and virtualized desktops,” Lear says.
No industry-standard of measurement currently exists to fully assess how IT-industry customers, which include the world’s largest private and public-sector enterprises, are using IT to become more socially responsible. Dell says a better understanding of the full-spectrum impact of technology across IT companies and the customers’ environments will enable it — and others in the industry — to identify areas to become more efficient and sustainable.
Dell says it will also 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.
In June, Dell announced sustainable packaging initiatives including goals for a waste-free packaging stream by 2020 and a new wheat straw material that turns agricultural waste into boxes.
More than 75 percent of Dell’s desktop and notebook packaging material is either compostable or recyclable, according to the company’s 2013 corporate sustainability report.
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