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Dell CR Report: Emissions Down 10%

Dell has reduced the indirect emissions associated with its energy use by 10 percent in fiscal year 2010, according to the company’s corporate responsibility report for fiscal year 2010. The PC maker also is working with its top suppliers to have them report their greenhouse gas emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Dell has provided updates on 77 measurable indicators of corporate responsibility in this year’s summary report, up from 32 in last year. Here are some environmental highlights:

Dell has collected about 484 million pounds (220 kilograms) of computer equipment since 2006, offering free recycling of PCs and related accessories to consumers around the world.  The company has banned the export of electronic waste including non-working electronics to developing countries as part of its global policy on responsible electronics disposal.

The computer maker is on track — at 44 percent — to meet its goal of eliminating the use of approximately 20 million pounds of packaging materials by 2012.

Dell also became the first PC maker to create packaging from bamboo last year, and shipped products built with more than 7.2 million pounds of post-consumer recycled plastic.

Dell also is striving to make its operations more energy efficient. Over the past three years, Dell has completed more than 170 improvement projects in its facilities. These upgrades are estimated to reduce energy usage by 36 million kWh, prevent 21,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and save roughly $5.8 million each year.

By applying its “green efficiency” approach, Dell IT has achieved more than $29 million in energy savings to date. The company says this has postponed the need to build a new data center to support its internal operations.

In fiscal year 2010, Dell sourced 25 percent of its global electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The company was named one of the top five purchasers of renewable electricity in the U.S. according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Fortune 500 Partners rankings in April 2010.

Dell powers its Round Rock, Texas, headquarters campus plus seven of its facilities in the U.S. and Europe with 100 percent purchased renewable electricity. The HQ parking lot houses solar arrays that are designed to produce 131,051 kWh of renewable source electricity, helping the company avoid generating 221,000 pounds of GHG emissions each year.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010, Dell acquired Perot Systems, and has been tracking the combined GHG totals since that time. Dell intends to publish new GHG emission estimates later this year to adjust for acquisitions and divestitures.

According to the CSR report, Dell has met its goals to produce mercury-free laptops by calendar year 2010, double the number of 80 PLUS Gold, Silver and Bronze power supply units (PSUs) available to customers, and recycle 125 million kilograms (about 275 million pounds) of equipment by calendar year 2009.

Dell is in progress to meet several goals including making its laptop and desktop products 25 percent more energy efficient by calendar year 2010. Dell estimates that customers using desktop power management features and settings have saved a total of more than $4 billion on energy costs.

The company also is working to implement server-managed power management for customers worldwide to avoid 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions between FY08 and FY12, increase sustainable content in cushioning and corrugated packaging by 40 percent by FY11, and achieve 75 percent curbside recyclability of packaging components.

Dell also is working to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 15 percent per dollar of revenue from calendar year 2007 to 2012, achieve net zero global GHG emissions by calendar year 2008 and maintain that level through calendar year 2012, and reduce GHG emissions from Dell products by 25 million tons through improved product performance and preconfigured systems with Energy Smart operational settings.

Other goals include increasing the company’s takeback volume totals to a worldwide cumulative 1 billion pounds of collected equipment by calendar year 2014, further reducing worldwide facilities’ GHG emissions by 40 percent by calendar year 2015, and recycling or reusing 99 percent of non-hazardous manufacturing wastes by calendar year 2012.

Dell’s initial goal to eliminate all remaining uses of brominated flame retardant (BFR) chemicals and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics by calendar year 2009, including tetrabromobisphenol-A in circuit boards has been changed, although the report doesn’t state a new deadline other than its goal to make all newly introduced Dell personal computing products BFR- and PVC-free by the end of 2011.

But Dell says achieving this goal is contingent on when the industry identifies acceptable alternatives that will lower product health and environmental impacts without compromising product performance, says Dell.

Dell is proactively eliminating the four chemicals expected to be restricted when RoHS is updated around 2014: hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD),bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). As of July 1, 2010, all newly designed Dell products are free of these four chemicals.

Despite Dell’s progress, in May, Greenpeace launched a campaign against Dell for backtracking on its public commitment to eliminate key toxic chemicals in its products by 2009.

Goals for fiscal year 2011 and beyond include achieving 50 percent PCW for paper used in its U.S. catalogs, sustaining 25 percent of Dell’s catalog fiber from FSC-certified sources, reducing fresh water use by 5 percent by 2013, and avoiding 100,000 tons of lead and 600,000 tons of BFRs between FY04 and FY12.

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