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Dell Pledges 80% Reduction in Product Portfolio Energy Intensity by 2020

Earlier this week, Dell announced a commitment to reduce the energy intensity of its product portfolio by 80 percent, as part of a comprehensive long-term corporate responsibility framework to achieve by 2020.

The information technology company’s 2020 Legacy of Good plan is divided into three areas — the Environment, People and Communities. Dell says the plan complements its overarching purpose to “provide technology that enables people everywhere to grow, thrive and reach their full potential.”

The Environment

Dell’s 2020 environmental goals focus on three areas: reducing the environmental impact of company operations, driving social and environmental responsibility in the industry and supply chain and promoting technology’s role in addressing environmental challenges.

In addition to the 80 percent energy intensity reduction goal, the plan outlines 11 others, such as using 50 million pounds of sustainable materials in products and recovering two billion pounds of used electronics; ensuring waste-free packaging utilizing materials like wheat straw, mushrooms and bamboo, which are sustainably sourced and 100 percent recyclable or compostable; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from its facilities and logistics operations.

People

Dell says it recognizes the importance of mobilizing its global workforce towards helping to achieve its corporate responsibility goals, and has developed a plan that outlines ways the company will foster inspirational leadership, promote a supportive culture and give team members a voice in shaping the company’s direction.

The Legacy of Good Plan aims to expand eligible team member participation in flexible work programs to 50 percent, increase university hiring to a rate of 25 percent of external hire and achieving 75 percent favorable responses, or higher, in team member satisfaction annual surveys.

Communities

The plan highlights ways Dell intends to make a positive impact on communities by applying technology, expertise, funding and volunteerism to solving real societal issues, including engaging 75 percent of team members in community-service initiatives and applying education technology and expertise to projects that reach 3 million young people.

“Dell has taken an approach all companies need to follow: it is critical to set time-bound goals to address environmental impacts not only in company operations, but also throughout its supply chain and through customers' technology use,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres. “We hope Dell's portfolio-wide energy goal will catalyze companies within its sector and beyond to do the same.”

Dell says that no industry-standard of measurement currently exists to fully assess how IT-industry customers — including some of the world’s largest private and public-sector enterprises – are using IT to become more socially responsible by deploying efficient and sustainable solutions. A solid understanding of the full-spectrum impact of technology across IT companies and the customers’ environments will enable Dell, as well as others in the industry, to identify areas of opportunity for innovation and optimization.

Dell also announced plans 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 solutions.

In July, Dell announced several key corporate responsibility achievements, such as collecting one billion pounds of electronic waste a year earlier than planned, with the release of its Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) Corporate Responsibility Summary Report. The report also showed that Dell more than doubled the number of its global facilities purchasing 100 percent of their electricity needs from renewable sources, going from seven to 16 during FY13. Dell’s global renewable electricity purchases in FY13 totaled 22.6 percent of the company’s total energy consumption.

Dell is not the only IT company to set corporate responsiblity goals recently. Last week, HP announced a goal of driving a 20 percent decrease in its first-tier manufacturing and product transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 2020.

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