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Dell Eliminates More than 20 Million Pounds of Packaging

Dell achieved the goals in its 3Cs (cube, content, curb) packaging strategy, according to the company’s Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Corporate Responsibility Report.

The computer-maker reduced the size of packaging more than 12 percent, increased the amount of recycled and renewable content in packaging up to 40 percent, and ensured that up to 75 percent of packaging is recyclable at curbside. As a result, the company says it has eliminated more than 20 million pounds of packaging material since 2008 and helped spur use of innovative and biodegradable materials such as bamboo and mushrooms.

Dell reduced its facilities carbon footprint by up to 16 percent from FY08 to FY12 and drove toward zero waste by recycling or reusing approximately 98 percent of its nonhazardous manufacturing waste.

As the company’s operational footprint represents less than 10 percent of its total opportunity to drive more sustainable outcomes, Dell says it will now focus on setting longer-term goals for helping its supply chain and customer base become more efficient.

In FY12, Dell conducted 125 facility audits of its suppliers (including 25 Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) third-party validated audits) and released consolidated findings about areas of non-conformance necessitating corrective action.

As part of its commitment to the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Dell identified five initial suppliers with whom it will work over the next three years. IDH looks for innovative ways to address non-conformance issues and is focused initially on 500,000 workers in China.

Other environmental highlights from the report include:

  • Dell recycled more than 192 million pounds of end-of-life computer equipment last year, an almost 30 percent increase over the previous year, keeping the company on pace to meet its goal of recycling 1 billion cumulative pounds by 2014.
  • All removable media storage devices, memory and hard drives became BFR/CFR/PVC-free in FY12, and Dell offered BFR/CFR/PVC-free standard configurations of all Latitude laptop and XPS 13 Ultrabook™ products earlier this fiscal year, with more in planning.
  • Dell added fresh air validation to an entire line of data center equipment, establishing that it can run in customer data centers under warranty at up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. This innovation allows more Dell customers to avoid energy-intensive chillers and instead rely on fans or other solutions that take advantage of outside air.

On the social front, Dell donated approximately $44 million to charitable causes in FY12, meeting its goal to give 1 percent of annual pre-tax profits.

The company added three new countries — Panama, Canada and the United States — to its youth learning program, expanding its reach to 11 countries working with 56 non-profit organizations. The company also expanded the impact of the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, a program that helps the world’s university students bring their ideas for solving social problems to life, by launching a new web community and growing the formal mentoring program.

Dell aligned the CR report with the Global Reporting Initiative’s G3 guidelines, self-declaring it for application level A.

Bart King is a PR/marketing communications consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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