Dell Technologies Inc. just released a 2023 ESG report that shows significant progress. Like most tech firms, Dell is taking ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) very seriously, but it wasn’t always this way. Thanks to its almost impossible acquisition of EMC, Dell has become one of the most powerful tech companies in the world. After Apple, its brand remains one of the most distinctive.
This past year, Dell made impressive progress, but I want to call out one metric that is unique in the segment. Only IBM has a similar focus on what may be one of the most important metrics in our troubled world: ethics.
Let’s talk about Dell’s latest ESG report this week. We’ll focus on the ethics part of it because one of the most important things about a tech vendor is its trustworthiness. Nothing else should matter as much.
Dell’s ESG results
Dell is headquartered in Texas, which is one of the U.S. states that seems to be at the heart of climate change denial and anti-diversity, and it’s likely one of the hardest places to get state ESG support because the State doesn’t appear to believe in it. This increases Dell’s difficulty in this area substantially, making its progress a testament to Michael Dell’s commitment to making the world a better place regardless of headwinds.
Dell is incredibly aggressive regarding the use of sustainable materials. It has consumed 143.3 million pounds of sustainable materials, which means the use of unsustainable materials has been sharply curtailed. Equality in tech companies remains very difficult because educational institutions, particularly when it comes to critical STEM education, have historically been anything but diverse, assuring a hiring pool that inordinately favors white male employees. In this difficult environment, Dell has increased the percentage of women it employs to 34.8%.
Expanding its philanthropic efforts, Dell reports that a whopping 238M people have benefitted from its strategic giving and employee volunteer programs. Obviously, Dell’s employees are solidly behind Dell, making a positive difference.
Dell has already achieved 50% of its 2050 goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions, which is well ahead of schedule, and it will continue on that path to improve 1B lives by 2030 by making technology available to those that currently don’t have it, helping to assure access to technology to everyone so that the promise of a better digital future is possible for most people.
On the sustainability side, Dell’s Concept Luna (which won an impressive award) is a massive breakthrough in terms of how to build a sustainable PC. It’s a concept that would allow a store like Best Buy to create PCs to order, upgrade them and potentially provide customizations not currently available in-store. The prototype of this now includes a robot that can do the physical labor and potentially function like a vending machine.
I’m calling out ethics because I was a compliance officer at IBM for a time and came to believe, as IBM did, that a focus on ethics was incredibly important to the long-term success and even survival of a company. Dell, along with IBM, stands out from the crowd by including ethics in its ESG effort (and it should fall under governance). Dell has been honored 11 times as one of the world’s most ethical companies by the Ethisphere Institute.
It has been awarded the platinum medal by EcoVadis for its ethical performance as one of the top 1% of companies assessed on the environment, sustainable procurement, labor and human rights, ethics, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In short, I think all companies should be measured on ethics, and I applaud Dell for being one of the few to do this.
Dell’s ESG progress is amazing, particularly given where it’s headquartered, but it is Dell’s focus on ethics that has me the most impressed. We need to be able to trust the companies we deal with, and Dell continues to stand out as one of the most trustworthy firms in tech based on its latest ESG report and recognition by the Ethisphere Institute and EcoVadis.
We need every company to step up to the problems of climate change, pollution, and lack of diversity and inclusion and place a priority on trustworthy behavior. This last year, Dell clearly stepped up. Here’s hoping it will drive even greater changes in the future and bring Concept Luna to market.