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Dell wages battle vs. carbon, fortifies green crusade

Posted: 11 Oct 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:computer manufacturer? neutralizing carbon? environmental climate campaign?

Dell Inc. claims it is the first major computer manufacturer to commit to neutralizing the impact of carbon on its worldwide operations, an extension of its global climate policy and environmental stewardship.

"Leadership starts at home, which is why we are going carbon-neutral, but this should only be the beginning of building long-term partnerships with customers, stakeholders and suppliers of all sizes to team up and make a difference for the Earth we all share," remarked Michael Dell, the company's chairman and CEO, during a policy forum organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. last September.

Carbon neutrality involves taking inventory of an organization's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and then implementing strategies to reduce and eliminate those emissions. Dell's commitment to carbon neutrality in its operations primarily involves emissions impacts created by electricity use and facility heating and cooling. The company will also offset the emissions impact of employee business travel.

Going green
Dell's environmental campaign saw much action middle of this year. In June, Dell committed to an aggressive, long-term goal to be the "greenest technology company on the planet," an initiative that includes teaming with "The ReGeneration," people of all ages who care about the environment. The company's climate policy focuses on minimizing both direct and indirect emissions impacts, including supplier operations and customer product use.

Dell is also working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a member of the EPA's Climate Leaders Program on an inventory of the company's GHG emissions from U.S. operations.

In addition, Dell in recent years launched a number of operational initiatives to increase energy efficiency and reduce electricity demands. These include:

  • Implementing a company-wide power management program that automatically powers off machines at night and during periods of inactivity. Dell estimates this will result in savings of about 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to avoidance of 8,500 tons of CO2 and savings of $1.8 million annually.

  • Replacement of office lighting in its Central Texas operations, resulting in approximately a nine percent reduction in electricity demand at the campuses. Similar programs will be implemented on other Dell campuses within the coming year.

  • The introduction of energy-saving features such as enhanced insulation and the use of LCD monitors at workstations at is new facility in Halle, Germany.

More campaigns
Meanwhile, as part of its climate stewardship commitment, one of Dell's priorities is to invest in energy from renewable sources, such as wind, where available and economically feasible. Approximately 10 percent of the energy needs of the company's Austin, Texas, operations come from renewable sources.

As for supplier partnership, in June, Dell announced the requirement for its major suppliers to identify and report their emissions impacts. Other projects underway or have been recently completed include:

  • Requiring that logistics suppliers use biodiesel fuel sources for a portion of their energy needs within a year.

  • A pilot program at Dell's Penang, Malaysia, facility, in collaboration with the Malaysia Department of the Environment, which evaluated emissions from buses and delivery vehicles. Repairs to supplier vehicles with unacceptable levels of emissions were required within 10 days.

In addition, Dell has committed to designing energy-efficient products with the maximum performance per watt. Minimizing the energy needed to power its own products addresses Dell's primary indirect climate impact. Most recently Dell introduced a desktop computer that is up to 78 percent more energy efficient than the model it replaces.

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