VIDEO Q&A: How Dell’s Legacy of Good Benefits People, Planet

By Stephen M. Roberts

Recently I sat down with David Lear, Executive Director of Sustainability at Dell, to talk about the progress the company has made with the goals in its Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan.

The clear indication: the strategies behind the plan are starting to work. Lear himself noted that internally and externally the effect of the plan has been to help customers, suppliers and team members better understand the company’s long-term direction.

For example, the company has saved $53.3 million in packaging costs since 2009 associated with sustainability efforts. That’s come through smart design as well as the use of innovative packaging materials, like wheat straw,mushrooms and bamboo.

He’s also quick to point out that these goals do not simply represent benefits to Dell – they demonstrate ways that sustainability is creating shared value where customers, communities and the planet all find mutual benefits.

The company’s packaging efforts, for example, are on a path toward making all Dell product packaging waste-free – meaning it is sourced sustainably and also 100 percent recyclable or compostable. According to the recent Legacy of Good Annual Update, the company has achieved that mark for two out of three product shipments. Lear added that all tablet shipments and about 92 percent of laptop shipments arrive in 100 percent recyclable packaging, and most other shipments have at least some recyclable material.

Beyond packaging, Lear points to the company’s energy efficiency goal as a great example of how Dell’s goal actually benefits customers and the environment at the same time. Not only do customers spend less on electricity, they have a smaller carbon footprint (the production of electricity often creates greenhouse gas emissions).

From lower total cost of ownership to innovation, greater productivity to better work-life balance, the best corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals are those that create this social-environmental-economic triple bottom line benefit.

Lear credits Dell’s customer-first focus for driving this approach. In fact, he says the biggest learning to come from two years of working on the Legacy of Good Pan is to start and end with the customer in mind. By tying everything back to the question, “How does this bring value?” he feels the program is headed in the right direction.

Learn more from the complete interview with Lear (below) or read about Dell’s Legacy of Good Annual Update.

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