In June of this year, Dell re-asserted its aim of becoming the Greenest Technology company on the planet with a post which included nuggets like:
- recycled 102 million pounds of IT equipment from customers during 2007, a 20 percent increase over 2006
- became the first major computer manufacturer to offer desktop customers Silver 80 PLUS-certified power supplies
- the company’s laptops and desktops, already among the industry’s most energy-efficient, are being designed to consume up to 25 percent less energy by 2010 relative to systems offered today and
- The company’s carbon intensity (CO2 emissions/revenue) is among the lowest of the Fortune 50 and less than half that of its closest competitor
Then just last week Dell announced that it had met its aim of becoming a carbon neutral company five months ahead of schedule. It did so using a combination of “an aggressive program to improve efficiencies in the company, purchasing green energy directly as well as renewable energy credits and verified emissions reductions” according to Dane Parker, Dell’s Director of Environment, Health, & Safety.
Some have sounded a note of skepticism saying things like:
You have to question whether they have taken all their workers’ commuting into consideration, and the materials (involved) in making a computer, going all the way back to zinc mining
Carbon neutrality is a large amount of greenwash. Computer companies should be focusing on the developments made in recent years in the reduction of harmful material inside the computers, and reduction in the power that computers use. With these high claims, companies are setting themselves up to be knocked back down again
And while there is some validity to this, in fairness to Dell, they have implemented a policy that requires their suppliers to report their emissions during quarterly business reviews, so they are pushing this back down the supply chain and it is hard to argue with the fact that Dell’s carbon intensity (CO2 emissions/revenue) is less than half that of its closest competitor.
We need to see a lot more companies following Dell’s lead in this. Having said that, independent verification of the carbon neutral claim by a trusted third party would do away with any lingering doubts about Dell’s commitment to Green once and for all.
[Disclosure – Dell are a GreenMonk client]