Dell Makes Plans to Be the Greenest Tech Company

Dell Makes Plans to Be the Greenest Tech Company

With the announcement of its "Zero Carbon Initiative," Dell Inc. has become the latest of the computer industry's major players to announce a large-scale environmental proposal.

The initiative includes a broad range of programs aimed at all steps on the supply chain, from suppliers to manufacturing to operations to consumers. The company timed the announcement to coincide with yesterday's World Environment Day celebrations.

The elements of the initiative include Dell's goal to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 15 percent by 2012, expanding its "Plant a Tree for Me" program to the European market, and requiring its suppliers to provide quarterly reports on their carbon emissions.

"We often characterize a certain age group as typifying a generation, like the 'Me Generation,' 'Gen X' or 'Gen Y,' but it's clear today that we're living in the 'Re-Generation,' which includes people of all ages throughout the world who want to make a difference in improving the Earth we all share," said Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell. "Our goal is simple and clear. We'll take the lead in setting an environmental standard for our industry that will reflect our partnership with, and direct feedback from, our customers, suppliers and stakeholders, and we intend to maintain that leadership."

In his remarks, Dell also announced that the company is asking customers for their ideas in building the "greenest P.C. on the planet." Dell's call for ideas and more information is on its IdeaStorm website.

As a first step in reducing emissions, Dell recently completed a power-management pilot on the more than 50,000 computers on the company's internal network. The pilot resulted in the savings of about 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to preventing the emission of 8,500 tons of CO2 and saving $1.8 million annually. Dell said today it would also work to identify ways to help its corporate customers achieve similar energy savings.

Dell will meet its 15 percent improvement goal by identifying new places to increase energy efficiency in its existing operations and making sure that all new facilities are highly energy-efficient. Dell said the company will also continue work to identify means to make an absolute reduction in emissions.

"Our effort to drive IT simplification from desktop to data center will identify efficiencies that help reduce the carbon impact of our products," Dell added. "Dell will do its part to protect the Earth's climate, from providing energy-efficient IT products, to using environmentally responsible practices we hope others will embrace."

Dell also said yesterday it would introduce its "Plant a Tree for Me" program to European customers. For £1 per notebook or £3 per desktop (€1.50 and €4.50 respectively), customers can offset the emissions associated with the electricity that their computers use. One hundred percent of those funds will be donated to plant trees in professionally managed reforestation projects. The trees absorb the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when electricity is generated to power a computer over its average three-year life.

In addition to funding a tree-planting project in Turkey and adding donations from European customers to other operations on the continent, Michael Dell said he would personally match donations to the program received during the next three months.

In dealing with its suppliers, Dell announced yesterday that it would begin requiring its main suppliers to report greenhouse gas emissions data every quarter. Dell will use the emissions reports to add or subtract from suppliers' overall scores, which can affect a supplier's volume of Dell business. Once companies begin to report the data, Dell will help their suppliers create emissions reduction strategies.

The company also has long embraced energy efficiency as a key component of its products. Dell has introduced products with Energy Smart configurations across server, desktop and notebook product lines and introduced products meeting the latest Energy Star 4.0 requirements. Dell is also advising customers on data center design to help reduce power requirements.

And Dell continues to offer consumers worldwide free recycling of used Dell equipment at any time, and free recycling of other brands' equipment with purchase of new Dell equipment. The company regularly conducts third-party audits of recycling vendors to ensure responsible recycling of material collected.