Making Progress Real

By setting science-based targets and counting upstream and downstream emissions, Dell Technologies is making meaningful impacts.

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Dell Technologies was a sponsor of the 2021 Metropolis Perspective: Sustainability Symposium

“There is no question that zeroing out emissions is the strongest commitment countries and businesses can make to slow down global warming,” writes Page Motes, who leads corporate sustainability at Dell Technologies. The legacy technology giant is taking on the climate challenge with lofty goals backed by their characteristic no-nonsense data-driven approach.

They’ve set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, which is based on the Paris Climate Agreement. When individual companies set targets that don’t relate to larger scientific consensus on what’s necessary to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change, it isn’t helpful, explains Motes. She’s proud to point out that when Dell set their reduction targets in 2015, they were one of the first 12 companies to have their targets approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative, which coordinates corporate sustainability plans to keep warming below two degrees Celsius.

Currently Dell is working to cut their factory and energy emissions by 50 percent before 2030. Most of that work is being done by ramping up their use of renewable energy and making their operations more efficient. But, as Motes points out, the majority of a company’s carbon footprint often comes from materials and products that the company purchases (upstream), and how their products are used and disposed of by customers (downstream). Working with suppliers, the company is committed to meeting an emissions reduction target of 60 percent per unit revenue by 2030. Downstream, they’ve reduced the energy intensity of their entire product portfolio by around 70 percent since they launched a first-of-its kind program to do so in 2013.

To achieve a net zero future, there’s no single way forward, but Dell’s broad approach is already showing results. “Technology innovation, increased adoption of renewable electricity, and climate science are all things that could increase the rate at which the world makes the net zero transition,” concludes Motes.

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