The News: Dell Technologies’ published the company’s annual suite of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and social impact reports in the last week or so, and reported on where they are, what’s working, what needs improvement, and how the company is tracking toward their 2030 Progress Made Real goals. Read more from Dell Technologies here.
Dell Technologies’ Making Real Progress on ESG and People-Focused Initiatives
Analyst Take: Dell Technologies’ has made no mistake of its high aspirations when it comes to making not only a positive social impact, but also working to ensure that progress is both real and measurable. In the company’s recently published annual suite of ESG and social impact reports, that commitment to real progress and tracking progress toward goals is front and center. Dell Technologies released its Progress Made Real Plan for 2030 in November 2019, with the goal of articulating the company’s plan for creating a lasting social impact on both people and the planet, using the company’s reach, technology, and people.
As committed to driving positive, societal change for everyone and embraced four key areas that reflect the company’s mission and commitment to making positive social impact. These include advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion, transforming lives, and upholding ethics. Here are some quick highlights from Dell’s goals dashboard showing YOY progress toward these moonshot goals.
Dell Technologies’ Advancing Sustainability Moonshot Goal
Dell Technologies’ Advancing Sustainability Moonshot Goal is all about sustainable production. Dell Technologies has committed to a goal of reusing or recycling an equivalent product for every product a customer purchases¬¬. The company has also committed that 100% of packaging will be made from recycled or renewable material and more than half of product content will likewise be made from recycled/renewable material.
Dell reported using more than 27 million pounds of sustainable materials in products and packaging, introduced bioplastics, and scaled use of reclaimed carbon fiber from the aerospace industry. The company also launched a closed-loop aluminum pilot, focused on accelerating circular design. You can see the progress Dell Technologies has made, with growth over FY20 baselines in every instance, as well as specifics provided by the company about that FY21 performance, in the graph below.
For more specifics on Dell’s Advancing Sustainability Moonshot Goal, check it out here.
Dell Technologies’ Cultivating Inclusion Moonshot Goal
Dell Technologies has committed to a strategic focus on inclusion, working to attract and develop people who identify as women, and established a 2030 goal of achieving gender parity across its global organization. This has been identified as especially important in leadership positions and in traditionally underrepresented tech positions as well. It’s exciting to see some real forward progress from FY20 to FY21 on this moonshot goal, especially specific to those who identify as Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino minorities. You can check the entire dashboard for a full look at FY21 progress, but definitely check out the chart below for progress made specific to minorities.
Dell Technologies’ Transforming Lives Moonshot Goal
We’ve covered Dell’s commitment to initiatives that are aimed at the greater good here before. The company is committed, as a global tech leader, to using its technology and knowledge to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
We saw that commitment in play during the COVID-19 global pandemic when Dell unveiled a financing program to help customers and partners as they were navigating extremely difficult time. The company also donated thousands of devices to communities in need and undertook other efforts to help when it was needed.
In addition to corporate efforts, it bears noting that the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation stepped up during the course of the last year in a big way with a $100 million commitment, with $20 million going to the Global COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard to identify potential treatments, and $80 million to help communities around the world deal with the economic impact of the pandemic and to support relief efforts.
Dell’s ESG report showed an additional 47 million people reached through health, education, and economic opportunity initiatives, bringing the total reached to about 93 million — so far.
Dell Technologies’ Upholding Ethics & Privacy Moonshot Goal
Dell Technologies’ goals are around transparency and trust, especially as it relates to customer data privacy. In FY21, the company launched a new privacy trust center for customers, allowing the easy management of data, and also launched global privacy training as part of the company’s required annual ethics training. The company reported strengthened internal procedures by embedding operational privacy compliance controls and processes.
WEF participation, Sustainability, Impacting One Billion Lives
Beyond the company’s Progress Made Real social impact plan, Dell Technologies announced it signed up for the World Economic Forum’s Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics initiative so as to contribute to the effort to work productively with regulators, industry leaders, and businesses to help shape standards. The company also announced its net zero climate goal, hoping to achieve net zero across the company’s entire value chain by 2050. If you’re interested in more on that front, be sure to check out Dell’s Head of Sustainability Page Motes’ article on what it takes to get to net zero and how the company as a whole is working to make that happen. Dell’s work on digital inclusion, the company’s working the healthcare and education spaces, along with a commitment to working with nonprofits helping to treat the impacts of long haul COVID-19 (and others)
There is a lot to unpack here, and that’s to be expected. The world of ESG is big, and it’s also one of the latest hot buttons in just about every corporate boardroom. In fact, as I was writing this article, I happened across a Bloomberg article today on the topic of corporate climate efforts lacking impact, which featured former sustainability executives at corporations speaking out about the disappointing impact that many such initiatives actually have. Efforts by corporations and investors often sound good but are little more than marketing messages and, as one leader expressed, nothing more than “ESGlalaland” nonsense. Corporations the world over are embracing ESG, but in many instances, there is dissonance between what they say and what they do, which of course often creates the impression that there is more happening to address climate and sustainability challenges than really is the case.
That’s why I appreciated Dell’s dashboard approach and what feels like a lot of transparency around the company’s success, one year in. As you can see from some of the data/charts I shared earlier, in some cases, the progress in certain areas is small, but it’s happening. While global pandemic spurred a lot of things, for Dell and other Big Tech companies, it will be interesting to see the FY22 version of this report when it comes out to see how removing
You can find brief descriptions and overviews on Dell Technologies’ ESG initiatives here, and if you’d like to dive deeper, access the full reports here: Progress Made Real FY21 ESG Report, D&I, and Supply Chain.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Other insights from Futurum Research:
Image Credit: Dell Technologies
Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”