Thursday, 27 August 2009

Dell CSR report

Dell has made its 2009 CSR report available. It covers the company's environmental responsibility, social responsibility and corporate accountability activities for the past financial year and outlines future goals. The summary report is available here.

In the environmental area, some of the main achievements the company claims include:

* Exceeding its commitment to recover 125 million kilograms of used computer equipment for responsible recycling.

* Reducing product packaging by more than 9.5 million pounds and introduced its first curbside recyclable product packaging.

* Expanding its portfolio of energy-efficient products, with 148 Energy Star-certified desktops, laptops, workstations, monitors, printers and multi-function devices.

* Completing 88 projects to save 17 million kWh of annualised electricity use, avoiding 4,300 tons of annualised green house gas emissions.

* Meeting a goal to become operationally carbon neutral last year (although it was only through using offsets, which is by no means ideal - we reported on this in a previous blog).


It all sounds pretty impressive, but I would encourage readers to look at the small print in CSR reports to see what's actually covered and how it's counted. Dell seems to be ahead of me on that one, though. The press release states "Dell engages a range of stakeholders to ensure the report delivers the level of transparency the industry expects. Again this year, Dell partnered with Ceres, a national network of investors, environmental organizations and public interest groups to receive feedback and input on Dell’s report and performance. The company also engaged philanthropy- and diversity-focused stakeholders for additional feedback". Can't argue with that.

The company is also devoting more web pages to CSR, with the relaunch of its corporate responsibility site (at http://www.dell.com/corporateresponsibility). The enhanced site has triple the number of pages and Dell says there is more content around sustainable operations, diversity and inclusion and greener products.

All this does show just how important it is to set targets, verify achievements and get the information out there (even if it is subject to some scrutiny, e.g. the offset question). As I've said in the past, transparency in green activity is important if you want to be taken seriously (and any sensible company will be looking to leverage the PR benefit anyway). The rivalry between companies to be seen as greenest has become an important part of climate change activity, particularly where legislation is moving at a snail's pace.

© The Green IT Review

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