Dell Updates Global Climate Change Policy Principles

Across the planet, 2016 was warm – so warm, in fact, that 2016 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record. Now, the difference between weather and climate is the difference between a data point and a trend. A data point can be off, high or low. So, perhaps 2016 is an anomaly. After all, it was an El Niño year, and that does make a difference.

Unfortunately, a look at the list of warmest years on record suggests 2016 is not an isolated data point. Prior to 2016, 2015 set the record for warmest year. The year before that, 2014 set the record.  In fact, every year from 2001 to 2016 is on the list. The only year on this list prior to the 21st century? 1998.

Climate change is an issue of concern to Dell. The consequences of climate change are relevant across our value chain, from our suppliers and our operations, to our customers. The manufacturing and operation of our products has an emissions footprint. Potential effects from climate change create business risk for Dell, most notably an increase in frequency of severe weather events and an increase in water stress in the regions where our suppliers operate.

The risk to Dell, though, is not the most important driver of our work. For many of our customers, the concern is not whether climate change will affect them, but more about when. These customers will need technology – from us and from system integrators and solution developers – to solve problems, enable new approaches and tackle the big challenges.

With the merger of Dell and EMC, we have an opportunity to review and update our approach. So, today, you’ll find a revised Climate Policy Principles document on our website, representing the combined point-of-view of the two heritage companies. While we have to understand and manage our footprint, our most important role is to bring the capabilities of our technologies to bear on both mitigation of climate change and adaptation to those changes that are unavoidable.

We’ve also identified an opportunity for our program to advance. While our Legacy of Good program includes goals on carbon emissions and the energy intensity of our product portfolio, we have not had a specific goal relating to the product-related carbon emissions generated by our supply chain. So, later this year, when we update our Legacy of Good program to integrate the long-term goals from the heritage companies, we are going to add a goal. This will be a goal that makes it clear to our suppliers that we need them to report on their carbon emissions inventory and have goals for improving their emissions profile, just as our customers have made that clear that they expect the same from us.

Addressing climate change is like tracking a constantly moving target. As we learn more, the consequences become clearer and we have to adjust as well. We are doing just that, not only because it’s part of what it means to be a responsible company, but also because our customers need our technology – both today and in the future. Supporting our customers will enable us to ensure that the new Dell remains committed to delivering a Legacy of Good.

About the Author: John Pflueger

John Pflueger, Ph.D., is Dell's Principal Environmental Strategist. In this role, John is responsible for driving Dell's strategy on issues around Environmental Sustainability – including Energy, GHG Emissions, Materials of Concern, Material Use/Recovery/Reuse, and Water. Prior to this role, John was Dell's subject matter expert on data center energy efficiency and managed initiatives to help customers improve the productivity of their computer systems and facilities. Since graduating from MIT in 1991 with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, John has spent nineteen years in manufacturing engineering, product development, product marketing and product management roles in the high-tech industry. John currently serves as a director for The Green Grid and as a participant in The Green Grid’s Technical Committee.