Technology and its evolution has impacted our lives in several different ways. However, the true benefits of technology can only be unlocked by keeping sustainability at the forefront. Ahead of Earth Day, FinancialExpress.com spoke to Page Motes, Head of Global Sustainability, Dell Technologies on how companies can embrace a circular design vision in the digital-first era and the initiatives undertaken by Dell to accelerate the circular economy. Excerpts:
With Earth Day around the corner, how do you think companies can embrace a circular design vision in the digital first-era?
With technology playing an indispensable role in our lives today, there is also a need to ensure that we take great responsibility to protect the planet. One of the most important things for companies to realize is that sustainability is no longer a “nice to have,” but rather plays a critical role in their journey to business success. As a result, it is critical that they have a thorough understanding of their products’ entire lifecycle. They must incorporate circularity and sustainable design at every stage of the product life cycle, from conceptualization to material sourcing, manufacturing, delivery to the customer, and the ability to repair and extend the product’s life. Another key way to advance the circular economy is by bringing out of use technology back into the supply chain, where materials can get recycled to make new products. Finally, companies must be cautious of unintended consequences, as alternatives can come with tradeoffs that have negative, unforeseen effects elsewhere in the ecosphere. This Earth Day, it is important for us to understand that the transition to a circular economy will require collaboration across industries, customers, supply chains and policy makers. Every member of the community has a duty and a role to play in ensuring that we achieve sustainable growth.
E-waste management in particular is becoming a huge concern across the globe, how can we solve this problem effectively? Anything you’d like to highlight for our readers?
Climate change and the growing e-waste are two of the biggest challenges faced by the planet today. The UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020 highlighted India as the third largest e-waste generator in the world, behind China and the USA. In order to tackle this issue at scale, we must come together to identify what can be fixed, what needs to go and then take action. At Dell, we’re focusing on one action everyone can take together- helping to reduce e-waste through recycling. To build awareness, drive education and increase recycling year-round, we’re launching a Global Recycling Drive where consumers can recycle their computer equipment through our mail-back program. Dell will provide prepaid shipping and easy logistics for customers to mail back their used electronics and printer supplies- any brand, in any condition- to be responsibly recycled. We encourage consumers to join this drive and help us in amplifying the impact.
Can you tell us about the initiatives undertaken by Dell to minimize environmental impact?
At Dell Technologies, advancing sustainability is a key priority for us, and to hold ourselves accountable for driving measurable change, we’ve set our 2030 goals where for every product a customer buys, we will reuse or recycle an equivalent product, 100% of our packaging will be made from recycled or renewable material, and more than half of our product content will be made from recycled or renewable material.
Furthermore, since 2007, Dell has recovered more than 2.5 billion pounds (1.1 billion kilograms) of used electronics, but we know we must be even more aggressive to deliver the positive environmental impact. In order to take this a step further, this month we’re expanding our Asset Recovery Service to 36 countries globally. With this service, Dell manages the pickup logistics of any brand of leased or owned hardware, sanitizes used devices to ensure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, resells devices to give value back to the customer or recycles the equipment responsibly and provides a comprehensive report of the process, including the ability to manage and follow the entire process through our online TechDirect portal. We will continue to build in sustainability, whether through focusing on using better materials, to ensuring that end-of-life products are treated properly, and leveraged in a circular fashion. And that’s not only important to us; that’s incredibly important to customers as well.
You recently unveiled a futuristic prototype called Concept Luna at CES. Tell us more about it and how it will aid in the transition to a circular economy?
The objective with our 2030 goals is simple- the more we take back to reuse or recycle, the less waste there is on our planet. Concept Luna ties back to this focus, where we’re exploring revolutionary design ideas to make components immediately accessible, replaceable and reusable, thereby reducing resource use and keeping even more circular materials in the economy. More importantly, we took a different approach not only in design but also in how it’s going to be made. Let me share a few examples of how we’re doing this, the motherboard that goes inside the Luna is 75 percent smaller and uses 20 per cent less components to manufacture. Every other component in the laptop is then rearranged around the motherboard which sits near the top for extra cooling exposure. The use of screws is reduced by 10x over a regular laptop and the battery would be lithium iron phosphate, which has twice the life cycle of a traditional lithium-ion battery. The most exciting aspect about this concept is that it was designed to test what could be possible, not to be manufactured and sold. But if all the design ideas in Concept Luna were realized, we could expect to see an estimated 50% reduction in overall product carbon footprint.
Lastly, how is Dell looking at the future of sustainable technology?
The future we’re looking forward to may seem far off, but if we’re going to achieve a circular economy globally, we need to take action now and we need to take action together. Our efforts to make our operations more sustainable and purpose-driven are strongly guided by our 2030 goals. In fact, the Latitude 5000 series that we recently launched are Dell’s most sustainable laptops yet, bringing together the world’s most innovative use of sustainable materials. Protecting the product, the packaging is made from 100% recycled or renewable materials- all of which is 100% recyclable. The new packaging is rolling out across all new Latitude series laptops, Precision mobile workstations and XPS devices, giving Dell the opportunity to make an impact at scale. As we move forward, we will continue to examine, re-examine and reconsider every step of the product life cycle, to deliver even more sustainable products in the future.