Corporate Social Responsibility Part 2 – Empowering Sound Business Strategies From Within

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Part Two – From the Company’s Perspective – Innovation Leads to Optimization

woman's hand holding Dell laptop packaging materials made from recycled plastic removed from the ocean

As discussed in Part One, a well-constructed CSR plan has the potential both to benefit global sustainability and enhance customer trust. While amplifying customer loyalty is certainly at the heart of any company’s game plan, the influence of a sound CSR strategy goes beyond increasing the bond between customer and company.

The push to create and maintain a business model with social purpose often leads to increased efficiency and the development of new ways of working, with the positive effects felt both globally in terms of the environment and impact on the community, and internally, in the form of increased ROI and optimized performance on a company-wide scale. To those corporations who have already implemented long-range sustainability strategies, it has become increasingly clear that working in conjunction with Mother Nature is not only easier, more ethical and more sustainable than fighting her – it can also be more profitable.

Take Dell, for example. Our own CSR vision began at the very top. When Michael Dell started this business in 1984, he wanted to enable human potential through technology, and our corporate responsibility efforts are an extension of this mission he set out to accomplish 30 years ago. This has led to the creation of our Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, a set of ambitious goals related to the environment, our people, and the communities where we live and work.

We have found that championing CSR has been the catalyst for the development and adoption of new techniques for doing business, which have helped to reduce our corporate environmental footprint and cut down on waste throughout every step of the value chain. Here are the results of a few of our efforts:

Dell XPS 13 laptop on the beach with plastics recycled into packaging

  • Innovative, sustainable packagingWe are the first technology company to create packaging from fast-growing biodegradable materials such as bamboo and mushrooms. Currently, 94 percent of packaging materials (by weight) are made from sustainable sources, helping us toward achieving our goal of delivering waste-free packaging by 2020.
  • Reinventing ocean-bound plasticsOur drive to keep plastics in the value chain and out of the ocean benefits everyone. Plastics collected from beaches, waterways and other coastal areas are being incorporated into a new packaging system for our XPS 13 2-in-1 and XPS 15 2-in-1 laptops. This initial pilot project will start by keeping 16,000 pounds of plastics out of the ocean, and in support of UN SDG Goal 14, we are committed to increase annual usage 10x by 2025.
  • Recycling precious metals – A ton of motherboards contains up to 800 times more gold than a ton of ore from the earth. With this in mind, Dell’s Circular Gold initiative has teamed with activist Nikki Reed to increase awareness of the need to recycle technology by upcycling our reusable gold into a jewelry line. We are also piloting the use of recycled gold in motherboards for select Dell laptops, continuing our leadership in supporting a closed loop supply chain and circular economy.
  • Reshaping delivery processes – Flexible shipping strategies can have a dramatic effect on a company’s carbon footprint. When transporting products to 180 countries at a rate of one system per second, we partner with SmartWay, who provides us access to thousands of product carriers committed to collecting and sharing data with the goal of transporting goods efficiently and responsibly.
  • Promoting better work environments – We work diligently with our suppliers to ensure that high working standards and labor practices are implemented within the supply chain. Our policies and standards are aligned with the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC), of which Dell is a founding member. This allows us to work together with industry partners to drive systematic change in our supply chain.

As a concept, CSR marks the spot where positive global initiatives, changing customer priorities and a company’s bottom line intersect. Properly nourished, it has the ability to positively impact all three. Incorporating a solid CSR plan into long-range strategies makes good common sense as well as sound business sense. More and more, we recognize that customers are putting their trust in forward thinking companies whose innovative outlook strives to create a more sustainable future.

About the Author: Margaret Franco

Margaret Franco is responsible for leading end to end marketing and demand generation activities across Europe, Middle East and Africa for Dell EMC. Margaret has a long marketing and product management history in the technology industry. She started her career in Compaq and HP in Houston Texas, where she held multiple global leadership roles supporting both the consumer and commercial PC segments. Margaret joined Dell in 2005 and held a number of executive global roles in North America, Europe and Asia in the commercial and enterprise product group organizations. She has also led a number of global marketing functions, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications responsible for online, marketing communications, agency relationships and brand positioning for AMD. Margaret has an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Houston and has a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from Southern Methodist University. Her specialties include Strategy development, Product marketing, Planning, Life cycle management, P&L optimization, CXO level customer interface, Integrated marketing, Brand management , Marketing and Sales Programs.
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