Getting to Net Zero: It Takes an Entire Company

Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 will be a huge challenge, but with measurable actions and talented, innovative people working towards this goal, we will get there.

Addressing the climate crisis requires breaking it down into small actions – and for us as a company, actions that add up to a big impact. We first shared our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data in our 2002 environmental report. And we have continued this work every single day to reduce our GHG emissions – across our facilities, our supply chain and in the energy intensity of our products. We do this to deliver on our commitment to take action on global warming and to protect the future health of our planet and the people we serve.

So we are taking the next important step, going beyond our aggressive 2030 emissions goals and committing to reach net-zero GHG emissions across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2050.

What do we mean by net zero?

Not all net zero goals are created equal. The best net zero goals:

  • Go beyond balancing emissions with carbon offset activities: To make sustainable and permanent changes, businesses first have to commit to changing themselves, shrinking emissions to the smallest amount possible before considering how to offset what remains.
  • Are based on science: Science-based targets are in line with the latest climate science necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. They provide a clearly defined pathway for companies to reduce emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change. In 2015, we were one of the first 12 companies to set emissions reductions approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
  • And are ‘all in’: Counting not only the Scope 1 (direct emissions, for example, facilities) and Scope 2 (indirect purchased emissions, for example, electricity) but also Scope 3 emissions coming from its supply chain (upstream) and the use of its products by consumers (downstream). These Scope 3 emissions often make up a majority of a company’s carbon footprint.

And this is what we are setting out to deliver. Working with science-based targets to reduce first, across all scopes, with neutralization only of what remains as we close in on 2050.

How are we going to get there?

We aren’t waiting until 2050 to make progress. Through our current SBTi-approved goal to cut our 2020 Scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030, we are driving down our energy needs by upgrading our infrastructure and improving the energy efficiency of our operations. Our pledge to use 75% renewable source electricity by 2030 and 100% by 2040 will then drive our remaining Scope 2 emissions almost to zero, addressing that portion of our net zero goal.

When it comes to Scope 3 emissions associated with our supply chain, we are working closely with our direct material suppliers to meet an SBTi-approved emissions reduction target of 60% per unit revenue by 2030. We engage with our suppliers every step of the way to monitor and manage their carbon footprints and, going forward, to help them procure renewable electricity, increase energy efficiency, improve their logistics, and refine climate-related measurement and reporting.

Our biggest challenge will be our downstream Scope 3 emissions related to the use of our products. In 2013 we launched the first goal of its kind in our industry to reduce the energy intensity of our entire product portfolio by 80% (FY12 – FY21). As of our most recent report, we had reached almost 70% and expect to close in even further in our last year of reporting on this goal. Once we reach these milestones, we will set new product energy goals – to be announced in late 2021. And we will continue to drive innovation among our engineering teams and our suppliers to find new ways to achieve efficiency without compromising performance.

But the most important ‘how’ we have is not a goal, it’s our people. All this ambitious work is driven by individuals and teams across our business who are committed to helping us achieve net zero.

Delivering impact every step of the way

We know this is a big task. We have invested the time to identify where we can go fast, and where we need to partner. Technology innovation, increased adoption of renewable electricity, climate science are all things that could increase the rate at which the world makes the net zero transition. And we’ll continue to evaluate and be agile to make the most of these to accelerate our progress. And as with all our environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) priorities, we will be transparent in our measurement, reporting annually as part of our Progress Made Real plan and 2030 goals.

There is no question that zeroing out emissions is the strongest commitment countries and businesses can make to slow down global warming. And we are committed. We will deliver on our net zero goal with the right actions, measurement, partnerships and people to get us there.

For more information, visit our climate change page.

Page Motes

About the Author: Page Motes

Page Motes leads Corporate Sustainability, overseeing Dell Technologies’ strategic vision and goals, as well as stakeholder engagement. This role, and the work of her team, includes deep collaboration with internal business groups to advance sustainability programs with long-term value. Other work includes engaging in third-party partnerships to accelerate initiatives and position the company has a thought leader, as well as foster innovation and engagement within Dell Technologies’ global enterprise. Programs span across the themes of advancing the circular economy, climate change, and deep engagement in the supply chain. ​ Prior to this role, Page spent 10 years as a leader in the Global Ethics & Compliance Office, overseeing and managing Dell Technologies’ ethics strategy and proactive culture of integrity initiatives, including the Code of Conduct, compliance and ethics-related awareness programs and key operational processes for Dell and its global team members. Both roles have been complimented by an additional 15 years in sales and consulting, much within the ethics, compliance, risk and governance space, and Page has lectured at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law and McCombs Business School, as well as the University of Colorado at Boulder Law School and Bentley College. ​ Page lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. She is a member, and former Board member, of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) Hill Country Chapter, which engages high school boys to develop a heart for service in their communities. ​