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 Emissions in FY14

Within our own operations, more than 96 percent of Dell’s FY14 net Scope 1 GHG (direct) emissions and Scope 2 GHG (indirect) emissions were associated with our office, manufacturing and data center buildings and leased spaces; the rest were from company vehicles. Improvements to energy efficiency remain the most cost effective
means to reduce our GHG emissions. In FY14, we continued to make upgrades to our buildings, with projects that included lighting upgrades, pump and motor replacements, boiler and hot water system improvements, optimizing our boiler and hot water heating systems, and installing smart meters. We also completed construction of a new office building in Coimbatore, India, that was designed to LEED Gold standards.

Scope 2 Emissions in FY14

In FY14, our net Scope 2 emissions decreased by more than 12 percent from our FY13 emissions level. The much-smaller Scope 1 emissions associated with on-site fuel consumption for heating and back-up generators and HFC refrigerant emissions increased by 4 percent, while the emissions associated with vehicles increased about 10 percent, largely due to an increase in the number of sales-based executives who are provided leased vehicles for business and personal use.

Our net, total operational emissions decreased by 10.2 percent from the adjusted FY13 emissions. We can
attribute this decrease to a combination of energy efficiency improvements and an increase in renewable energy purchases.

Scope 3 Emissions in FY14

From FY13 to FY14, we achieved a 7 percent reduction in GHG emissions. Much of this can be attributed to our transition to transporting select products by ocean rather than by air prior to sale.

Carbon emissions from ocean shipments are 30 times lower per ton-mile than those from air shipments. We complemented this effort by successfully piloting shipments of finished products from Asia-based manufacturing to European distribution centers via rail transport rather than sending smaller batches of products directly to their final destinations. This was part of a larger overall shift in Dell’s business model — streamlining our configurable selections for certain products, producing ahead of demand, and then moving those products in bulk to distribution centers. One downside is that we cannot use rail in this way year round due to winter icing of the
tracks and impassable stretches in the mountains.