Dell ranked number one in Newsweek's annual green ranking of American companies. According to the October 18, 2010, Newsweek article “The 100 Greenest Companies in America:”
Dell got high marks for its strong environmental policies, including free recycling of products worldwide and a ban on the export of e-waste to developing countries. But, while feel-good policies may win the trust of potential customers, offering more efficient products closes the sale. And Dell has figured out how to do both, designing desktops and laptops that consume 25% less energy than systems produced in 2008. Dell figures these efforts, along with others, has saved its customers more than $5 billion in energy costs over the past few years.
Chairman and CEO Michael Dell offers, "Sustainability makes Dell a more responsible partner to its customers. Dell was recognized for its efforts to ensure sustainability is built into its supply chain and operations, as well as its work to make quote being green" easy and cost-effective for customers the company's convenient recycling programs, for example, have diverted more than 484 million pounds of equipment from landfills since 2006."
To get your head around just how much 484 million pounds equates to, it approximates the combined weight of 1,200 Boeing 747-400 unloaded and unfueled jet aircraft.
Job creation is a top priority in our current economy. For six years, Dell has had a relationship with Goodwill Industries that has resulted in the creation of 250 green jobs through a program called Dell Reconnect. These green jobs have gone to individuals who might otherwise find themselves challenged to find jobs due to issues that many employers might find disqualifying.
Each of the employees involved in the Goodwill recycling program has an A+ certification and the opportunity to learn skills that can qualify them for work in the private sector. Goodwill Industries provides approximately 2200 donation centers in the United States and Canada. These are attended drop-off stations consisting of both brick-and-mortar Goodwill store locations as well as drop-off centers strategically placed in different communities. Donated equipment can be recycled or, if it is operational or can be made to be operational after wiping all data, these products be resold in Goodwill stores to offset the cost of running the program.
Dell and Goodwill Industries are to be applauded for this imaginative approach to employing people in this recycling program.
In April 2010, Microsoft teamed with Dell Reconnect to offer product recycling through our program. In addition to collecting PCs and computer accessories, Dell Reconnect can now collect Microsoft® entertainment products, including Xbox®, Zune® and accompanying accessories, for free recycling. Read more about this here.
But, Dell has not stopped merely with the Goodwill Industries program. For example, Staples provides some 1500 drop-off locations for Dell branded products where individuals can recycle Dell products at no charge.
Dell's introduction of bamboo packaging provides customers a strong, rapidly renewable packaging alternative that can be composted for easy disposal. As depicted in the following video, readers will be impressed that the bamboo packaging supply chain initiative has taken into account sustainability and environmental protection:
As you can imagine, some old, exotic equipment finds its way to Goodwill. Goodwill has established a computer museum (www.austincomputerworks.org/museum) to remind us of how old we are becoming and how fast technology has evolved:
What's important about this article?
- There are green alternatives to dumping electronic equipment in our landfills.
- As of the publication date, 23 states have laws that dictate the requirements for disposing of electronic equipment. Isn't it time the remaining 27 states address this issue?
Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker and blogger who resides in Silicon Valley. His firm helps clients eliminate business execution issues that threaten profitable and sustainable growth. Dave is a member of Dell's Customer Advisory Panel. He can be reached through his website at www.gardnerandassoc.com or on Twitter @Gardner_Dave.