Increasing Ambition on our Path to Net Zero

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and Dell is taking action with science-based emissions targets.

The effects of climate change are present and visible in our daily lives. From extreme temperature swings and melting glaciers, to severe global weather events, the call for climate action is among the most pressing issues of our time. As the principal environmental strategist for Dell Technologies, I spend my days working with our teams of engineers, energy experts and sustainability leaders to develop technology solutions and environmental strategies that support reducing carbon emissions from our business, our customers and society as a whole.

Global headlines are dominated by the reality that both public and private sector efforts are not impactful or fast enough to reduce the impact of climate change. And while we understand we need to work together to make more progress and increase our actions to address climate change, we also recognize that goal-setting is a critical first step. We applaud all organizations that are taking serious and transparent science-based steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Goals must be credible, and we must be accountable for results. Robust goals require clear and achievable pathways between baseline and net zero ambitions. Reaching net zero emissions means an organization has achieved an overall balance between the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced and GHGs removed from the atmosphere. Net zero targets require a concrete plan for achievement, and they demonstrate how we all can do our part to minimize the impact of climate change. These goals, however, must be appropriate for an organization’s business while meeting the climate community’s requirements for transparency and progress. The result: Every organization will have its own unique path to net zero.

At Dell, net zero is our most important climate goal, and we continually strive to increase our ambition by updating our emissions targets and driving greater actions to ensure we are on track to achieve this goal. We know we can only reach our net zero goal by extending our efforts beyond our own operations upstream into our supply chain and downstream to our customers and their facilities. That’s why it’s important to reinforce that our climate goals cover not only Dell operations and facilities, but also those of our suppliers and customers.

As a result, our climate-related 2030 targets, which are not only stand-alone goals, but also critical to achieving net zero by 2050, include:

    • Reduce absolute GHG emissions (scope 1 and 2) by 50% (existing target)
    • Reduce absolute GHG emissions from purchased goods and services (scope 3, category 1) by 45% (updated target)
    • Reduce absolute GHG emissions associated with the use of sold products (scope 3, category 11) by 30% (updated target)

Our existing renewable energy targets directly support our commitment to reduce the scope 2 emissions associated with our energy purchases:

    • Source 75% of electricity from renewable sources – such as wind or solar – across all global Dell facilities by 2030 and 100% by 2040

Scope 1 and 2 emissions are largely controlled by the company, as they are emissions associated with our direct business operations (scope 1) and indirect emissions associated with our energy purchases (scope 2). On the other hand, scope 3 emissions are indirect, meaning they are not produced by our direct operations, but they are a consequence of our business, and they often make up a majority of an organization’s carbon footprint. For Dell, the emissions related to our purchased goods and services and the use of our products make up the majority of our indirect emissions and present the greatest opportunity for us to make a positive impact. We are developing targeted action plans and strategies to address each area and are working directly with our suppliers and customers to achieve mutually beneficial results.

In 2015, we were one of the first companies to have climate-related goals validated as being science-based by the newly formed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The SBTi was created to inform and support the development of climate goals that are sufficiently ambitious to meet the urgent need to limit global warming. Today, that is defined as reducing global GHG emissions to limit the global temperature increase in this century to no more than 1.5°C. Currently, more than 4,000 businesses and financial institutions, including many of our customers, are working with SBTi to reduce their emissions in line with climate science.

When we set out to increase our climate ambition, we again engaged with the SBTi to ensure our emissions reduction targets are grounded in science. Not only did the SBTi validate our updated scope 3 2030 targets, but they also validated our second-generation climate-related scope 1 and 2 2030 targets to be in line with the SBTi’s current 1.5°C guidance, which is considered best practice in the climate community.

Dell Technologies is serious about tackling carbon emissions and will work with our entire value chain to address climate issues. This isn’t going to be easy. While we partner closely with our suppliers and customers, we don’t have direct control over their roadmaps for emissions reduction or choice of energy sources. We are committed to holding ourselves accountable and working to drive even stronger partnership up and down our value chain to achieve our ambitious goals. We’ll share more on that progress in the future, but in the meantime, visit Climate Action to learn about Dell’s strategies and progress on our path to net zero.

John Pflueger, Ph.D.

About the Author: John Pflueger

John Pflueger, Ph.D., is Dell Technology’s Principal Environmental Strategist. In this role, John is responsible for driving Dell's corporate strategies on issues around environmental sustainability – including energy, GHG emissions, sustainable materials, water and how Dell’s technology is applied to environmental issues for the health of our planet, people and communities. John received his B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.