Your next Dell EMC servers might come in a reusable tote

Nov 26, 2019

As Dell Technologies shoots to 2030 with a new social impact plan

By Asha

Dell Technologies has announced a new decade-long plan to improve its global social impact.

The company has set itself four “moonshot” goals to make good on this promise: Advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion, transforming lives, and upholding ethics and privacy.

The moonshot goals fall under the company’s 2030 Progress Made Real plan and are grounded in the belief that “technology and data combined with human spirit are, and will always be, positive forces in the world”.

By 2030, Dell Technologies is aiming to recycle an equivalent product for every product a customer buys; have more than half of all product content made from recycled or renewable material; and use 100% recycled or renewable material in all packaging.

“So what you can envisage this relationship we’ve created, this kind of circular relationship, circular economy with our customers,” Dell Technologies vice president of sustainability David Lear told media during the Dell Technologies Summit in Austin on Tuesday.

“We think that’s really important because that’s really the concept here of us thinking about intentionally designing our products knowing we’re going to get it back some day. In fact, if you look over the last 10 years, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. We want to grow that significantly.

“We recognize electronics waste is growing very fast; it’s one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world right now and we want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

Lear said that over 50 million tonnes of electronic waste was last year entered into commerce — 4,500 Eiffel Towers worth.

“This is our motivation, saying, ‘we’re putting stuff out there, how do we get it back?’,” he said. “We’re doing it today, but we want to do it at a greater percentage.”

One such example of this is in the shipping of servers with a server “tote” on the horizon.

“It’s a packaging tote for our big server products,” Lear said.

“You’re probably thinking a big tote for a server? What’s cool about it is that it can hold 40 1U servers, so it’s a pretty big device, but it’s reusable, something we can actually send to our customer, they can use it, and they can send it back.”

The tote is touted as a multi-pack for large enterprise customers buying a lot of PowerEdge Servers — up to 41U. It will get picked up at the Dell Technologies factory and shipped to a customer’s data center, and then collected again by the company.

According to Lear, just using this device is going to save over 500 pounds of unnecessary waste packaging every time it ships 40 servers.

“It’s also going to allow us to ship more per truck, so it’s going to reduce the amount of carbon, and we think it’s just going to be a great solution and innovation across the industry,” he said.

Early next year Dell Technologies will begin to run a tote pilot with a few of its customers. 

Lear also touched on the new Latitude 7300 80.

“We’re especially proud of this, because this integrates a lot of cool features … and it’s going to come packaged in recycled ocean plastics,” he said. “One innovation that we’ve been working on for a couple of years is this concept of reclaimed carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is not something you think about in a computer, but it’s actually very popular in the aerospace industry. We found that they were taking a lot of their trash material and throwing it away.”

As a result, Dell Technologies partnered with a company based in South Carolina that helps convert the waste material into something that can be integrated into its products.

As part of its social good plan, the company also plans on delivering future-ready skills development for workers in its supply chain and driving a comprehensive science-based climate program, as well as setting emissions goals across facilities, supply chain, and operations to meet a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of “60% per unit revenue” by 2030.

Under its cultivate inclusion goal, Dell Technologies is planning on hiring, developing, and retaining the number of women that are employed so they account for 50% of the company’s global workforce and 40% of management.

Dell will also have 25% of the company’s US workforce assumed by African American and Hispanic team members. The company also aims to annually educate 95% of all team members about unconscious bias, harassment, microaggressions, and privilege

It also wants to advance the health, education, and economic opportunity of 1 billion people; digitally transform 1,000 non-profit organisations; and achieve 75% team member participation in charity or volunteer-related activities.

In addition, where privacy and transparency is concerned, Dell Technologies hopes to fully-automate data control processes, in a move it said will make it easier for customers to access, delete, or share their personal data.

“Every one of these areas really matters,” Dell Technologies EVP and chief customer officer Karen Quintos said. “We’re committed to make a difference.

“If you don’t change the culture, you’re not going to change anything.”

Asha Barbaschow travelled to Dell Technologies Summit as a guest of Dell Technologies.