Gap Score: +6.9
  • Dell was named a Green Power Leadership Award winner in 2013 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its longstanding commitment to purchasing renewable energy. More than 22.6% of Dell’s electricity purchases were for renewably generated power, including wind and water.

  • In 2013, Dell reached and exceeded its 2008 goal—a full year ahead of schedule—of collecting and recycling 1 billion pounds of used electronics. This is roughly the equivalent of 46 million average desktops—enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall more than twice over.

  • While Dell is not a large water consumer compared to other brands, it does operate in some water-stressed regions. It is committed to reducing water use in those areas by 20% by 2020 and continues to reduce water intensity through packaging innovations such as its wheat-straw-based boxes, which require less water and energy to produce than conventional cardboard and can be recycled just like any other box.

  • Marking an “industry first,” Dell has developed carbon-negative packaging bags made of AirCarbon, a material produced from air, not oil. The manufacturing process alone reportedly produces a net positive impact on the environment by sequestering more carbon from the air than it produces.

Working Together

Putting its Powering the Possible mantra into action, Dell created the Legacy of Good plan. The most ambitious of the plan’s 21 goals is the 10x20 Goal, which seeks to generate 10 times more benefit through its technology than it takes to make and use it. Counting on people power to get there—including cooperation from suppliers, employees, and collaborators, as well as the collective expertise of its researchers, engineers, and experts—will help Dell develop ways to expand the ripple effect of IT on the planet and society. Customers can help multiply the Goal’s positive effects by recycling computer equipment through the Dell Reconnect program (a Dell and Goodwill® partnership) or participating in Dell’s Plant a Tree program.

The Green Advantage

Dell’s sustainability efforts and accomplishments are impressive, making it one of the top green companies in the world by any measure. While it excels at revolutionizing packaging and addressing the entire life cycle of its products through consumer-facing initiatives (making it easier for customers to recycle their old products through the Dell Reconnect and Plant a Tree programs, etc.), the bulk of its efforts are at the corporate level, which means its sustainable actions are not always visible. But if any brand can meet the ambitious goals set out in the Legacy of Good plan, Dell is well positioned to do it. Better yet, most of its sustainability efforts tie back to the company’s brand heritage and core competencies, reinforcing its reputation as an innovator. Though Dell may not be the first brand that comes to mind when consumers think “green,” the company is indeed reducing its footprint, nudging us toward a more circular economy, and articulating bold visions that are powering the company from an authentic place.


Dell’s Sustainability Plan Sets Lofty Goals for 2020
Dell's next big sustainability goal requires collaboration
Dell ups sustainability efforts with AirCarbon packaging
Turning wheat waste into packaging
Dell’s Plant a Tree program