Dell First Major Computer Firm to go Carbon Neutral

Dell First Major Computer Firm to go Carbon Neutral

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Continuing its program of environmental stewardship, Dell became the first major computer manufacturer to commit to neutralizing the carbon impact of its worldwide operations.

“Leadership starts at home, which is why we are going carbon-neutral to make a difference for the Earth we all share,” said Michael Dell, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Dell issued a challenge to its peer companies to do the same, and to join a new program called Plant a Forest for Me that enables organizations worldwide to join together with Dell and facilitate the planting of millions of trees in sustainably managed reforestation projects. This program is a continuation of the Plant a Tree for Me program for consumers.

The founding members of Plant a Forest for Me include Dell, ABN AMRO, AMD,, and WellPoint. Each company has committed to offsetting part of their carbon output by purchasing trees for Plant a Forest. Dell partners with The Conservation Fund and, non-profit organizations that facilitate the tree planting.

Carbon neutrality involves taking inventory of an organization’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and then implementing strategies to reduce and eliminate those emissions. To meet its carbon-neutral commitment for Dell operations, the company will pursue an aggressive strategy of driving additional energy-efficiencies, maximizing purchases of renewable power and offsetting remaining impacts.

“Dell’s continued efforts to raise the bar for environmental performance are commendable, and we are pleased to see a concentrated effort on addressing climate impacts throughout its business, products and supply chain,” said Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres, a national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working to address global sustainability challenges.


“What’s particularly impressive is the company’s focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy as primary mechanisms for addressing climate change, and we look forward to working with Dell as additional environmental initiatives are developed.”

Carbon Neutral Dell Operations

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 progressive climate policy focuses on minimizing both direct and indirect emissions impacts, including supplier operations and customer product use.

Dell is 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.

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.

Increasing Energy Efficiency and Reducing Electricity Demands.

  • Dell is implementing a company-wide power management program that automatically powers off machines at night and during periods of inactivity. The company 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.
  • The company recently replaced 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.
  • Dell’s new facility in Halle, Germany, included energy-saving features such as enhanced insulation and use of LCD monitors at workstations.

As part of its climate stewardship commitment, a company priority 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.

Although Dell cannot currently source all its energy needs from renewable sources, company officials will work with government partners to investigate how incentives may support the private sector implementing energy-efficiency operational improvements and support energy producers making additional power from renewable sources available.

Dell will offset the emissions impact of the remaining energy the company uses and cannot source from renewable sources. Dell is working with stakeholders to shape its offset strategy, which will help ensure that offsets are invested in projects that can be monitored and verified. Projects will be evaluated for their long-term viability and assurance that the carbon savings are real.

Supplier Partnership

In June, Dell announced the requirement for its major suppliers to identify and report their emissions impacts. The move is the first step in a long-term strategy to work with suppliers to minimize emissions from supply-chain operations, one of Dell’s indirect climate impacts. Additional projects under way or 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, that evaluated emissions from buses and delivery vehicles. Repairs to supplier vehicles with unacceptable levels of emissions were required within 10 days.

Product Energy Efficiency

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.

Product Recycling and Chemical Use

Dell recently announced 2006 results of its responsible product recovery and recycling program – an increase of 93 percent over the previous year – putting the company on track to meet its goal of recovering nearly 275 million pounds of equipment by 2009.

Dell’s progressive chemical-use policy has committed the company to remove the use of all brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride from products by 2009.

For more information on Dell’s carbon neutral commitment, visit
(source: press release)