How Tech Can Elevate the Environment by 2020

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Planter made from old motherboards at the DellVenue at SXSWLast week, Secretary of State John Kerry released a call to action for diplomats across the world to elevate the environment in everything they do and to work together to adopt a new and ambitious environmental agreement to take place by the year 2020. Specifically, he’s outlined the need to adopt clean energy solutions while also pushing for integration across different platforms, including women empowerment. In his statements, Kerry is clear that achieving success in this effort will require active leadership, participation, and collaboration.

It’s been five months since we released our own set of goals for the year 2020. Our Legacy of Good Plan is Dell’s forward-looking framework which sets our strategy for bringing sustainability and business objectives together to benefit customers while simultaneously leaving a legacy of good. Since then, we’ve been hard at work putting our plan into action in order to strengthen our communities, engage our people, and benefit our environment. We know that stimulating environmental change is no easy task – it requires dedication, a sophisticated approach, and above all collaboration across industries and organizations.

At Dell, we believe the technology sector can help lead the charge in this effort to inspire environmental change with efficient products and solutions. Dell designs with the environment in mind, considering the planet in every stage of the product lifecycle. We ensure that our products are made of environmentally preferred materials, meet tough environmental production standards, and that they are easily recycled for proper disposal or eventual reuse.  We are committed to:

  • Increasing Energy Efficiency: By providing customers with efficient energy solutions, we can help them reach their own energy saving goals, reduce their overall footprint, and in turn reduce our own emissions. In fact, we plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our facilities and logistics operations by 50% and reduce the energy intensity of our product portfolio by 80% by the year 2020.
  • Innovating with Packaging: We work to integrate sustainable and compostable ingredients with our innovative approach to packaging. By leveraging the use of bamboo, mushroom, and now wheat straw, we plan to ensure that 100% of our product packaging is sourced from sustainable materials by the year 2020.
  • Eliminating Waste: We consider the end of our product’s life from the very beginning starting with recycled content in our own materials. In fact, we plan to use 50 million pounds of recycled-content plastic and other sustainable materials in our products by the year 2020. Through Dell Reconnect, we make it easy for all consumers to recycle their end-of-life electronics easily and responsibly.  To ensure proper disposal, Dell became the first in the industry to ban the export of e-waste to developing countries, and we recently launched Kenya’s first large-scale e-waste hub which can serve as a model for sustainable e-waste collection and recycling in developing countries. A separate Dell project in the area micro finances women from Nairobi’s Mukuru slums to safely collect and recycle e-waste, creating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for women. You can learn more about that initiative below. 

We applaud any level of action that encourages improvements to our planet and underscores collaboration. We will continue to work closely with customers, suppliers, and policy makers to reach our goals and measure progress, and we hope more organizations will do the same. Our expectation is that by the year 2020, the good that comes from our technology will be ten times what it takes to create and use it. We know that success in this space requires collaboration of all kinds in order to properly measure progress as we work to leave a legacy of good for generations to come.

Follow me on Twitter at @TrisaDellCRO. Stay up to date on our progress toward our 2020 goals by following us on twitter @Dell4Good #LegacyofGood.

About the Author: Trisa Thompson

Trisa Thompson is the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Dell, with responsibility for Dell's global giving and sustainability. Previously at Dell, Trisa served as Vice President, Legal, for the Global Operations, Marketing and Product Groups, and was a member of the Legal Team for 12 years. She was the founding co-chair of the Women's Networking Group, W.I.S.E., at Dell, and also serves on the PRIDE Executive Board. She is also a member of the Global Giving and Sustainability Councils. Trisa joined Dell in June 1998 from the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth, Shaw. Trisa was a partner with Seyfarth in its Government Procurement Law practice. She specialized in federal, state, and local procurement law and litigation. She joined Seyfarth directly out of law school in 1986.
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