Even with projections for improving efficiency across moderate economic recovery in the future, our society is still emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs) at an unsustainable rate. Customers are looking for ways to curb their own emissions and they expect corporations to do the same. At Dell, we track our GHG emissions and set a high bar for improvement.

How We Report Emissions

We estimate our GHG emissions using the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leaders Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidance. In addition to reporting on this website and in our annual corporate social responsibility report, we report to the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), an independent nonprofit holding the world's largest database of primary corporate climate change information.

Our emissions fall into three categories: our own operations, the “upstream” contributions from our supply chain, and the “downstream” contributions such as those from the transportation and use of our products. Emissions from our own operations fall into Scope 1 and Scope 2 while both the upstream and downstream contributions are part of Scope 3.

From our own operations
  • Scope 1 emissions — Includes fuels burned for heating and cooking in our buildings, in backup generators, and in owned or leased fleet vehicles
  • Scope 2 emissions — Includes emissions associated with purchased electricity
  • Scope 3 — Includes emissions from the transport and distribution of materials and products within our supply chain and up to the point of sale
Scope 1  and 2 Emissions in FY15

The largest contributors to Dell’s facility-related GHG emissions are the emissions associated with purchased electricity and municipal heat. These are classified as Scope 2 (indirect) emissions. In FY15, these indirect emissions accounted for about 89 percent of our total facility-based emissions, when factoring in renewable energy purchases.

Our direct (Scope 1) facility emissions are much smaller and include those from the use of natural gas and other fuels for heating and cooking, diesel used to run backup generators, and small discharges of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants from air conditioning equipment. The Scope 1 emissions we report also include the use of Dell-owned or leased personal and service vehicles, which are typically used for sales activities outside of our facilities.

Because most of our facility-based emissions come from energy use, our GHG reduction strategy has two key components: using energy more efficiently, and increasing our purchase and use of renewably sourced energy.

Scope 3 Emissions in FY15

From FY14 to FY15, we had an 6.6 percent increase in Scope 3 emissions from the transport and distribution of materials and products within our supply chain prior to sale. This spike in emissions resulted from Dell products sales greatly exceeding our forecasted targets. The longshoreman strike on the West Coast of the U.S. also forced us to change some of our planned shipping routes and timing. These two factors drove temporary deviations from our planned efforts to move more products via ocean.