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Bill DiBenedetto headshot

Dell’s Sustainability Plan Sets Lofty Goals for 2020

Dell’s ambitiously named 2020 Legacy of Good Plan is actually quite ambitious, and even more important, realistic and philosophically consistent as it attempts to forge a long-term culture of sustainability.

The computer and electronics maker calls it the “next step” in its Powering the Possible commitment and it outlines “our goals for the future of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Dell.” The 69-page plan, according to Dell, is a long-term and collaborative “framework designed to aggregate and accelerate the ways that Dell and its IT solutions help customers, Dell team members and communities make lasting contributions to the planet and society.”

No industry-standard of measurement currently exists to fully assess how IT-industry customers, which includes the world’s largest private and public-sector enterprises, are using IT to become more socially responsible by deploying efficient and sustainable solutions, Dell says. “Ultimately, a firm understanding of the full-spectrum impact of technology across IT companies and the customers’ environments will enable Dell – and others in the industry – to identify areas of opportunity for innovation and optimization.”

Dell said it also will 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.

A short video on the plan says, “In the past few decades there has been a shift in the way we view our place in the world.” Dell says it is committed to “creating change through action by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.” It acknowledges that the challenges are “bigger than any single entity can solve.”

The company says that everyone must join together to reach a goal that “just might change the world” by 2020, through 20 focused goals, including:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and logistic operations by 50 percent, and reducing the “energy intensity” of its product portfolio by 80 percent. This would make Dell the first IT company committed to a portfolio-wide energy goal.

  • Reusing or reducing fresh water in water-stressed regions by 20 percent.

  • Ensuring that 90 percent of the waste generated in Dell-operated buildings is diverted from landfills.

  • Developing and maintaining sustainability initiatives in all Dell-operated buildings.

  • Demonstrating 100 percent transparency of key issues within its supply chains, and “working with suppliers to mitigate risks in those areas.”

  • Ensuring that 100 percent of product packaging is sourced from sustainable materials, and that 100 percent of Dell packaging is either recyclable or compostable.

  • Recovering 2 billion pounds of used electronics.

As for goals related to community and people, Dell says it will engage 75 percent of team members in community service by 2020 and “apply our expertise and technology in underserved communities to help 3 million youth directly and support 10 million people indirectly to grow and thrive.”

“The challenges facing the world today require collaboration and partnership among people and organizations with a shared vision of what could be,” says Chairman and CEO Michael Dell in the report.

One of the goals—achieving 100 percent transparency with suppliers reflects a remarkable and unique industry approach that takes logistics and working with service providers beyond mere transactional bean-counting to the realm of true partnership.

Those are lofty goals, and as Michael Dell says, “We are setting the bar high.” Dell’s message is not just about sustainability goals this year or next, and what the company can do by itself: it’s about vision, sharing vision and collaboration to achieve a long-term culture of sustainable social and environmental change.

Image: 2020 Legacy of Good Plan cover.

Bill DiBenedetto headshotBill DiBenedetto

Writer, editor, reader and generally good (okay mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by.

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