Dell’s Vested Vision: A “Legacy of Good”

Dell legacy of good_coverA major corporate sustainability report from Dell contains some highly Vested ideas advocated by the company’s Chairman and CEO, Michael Dell.

Dell’s 2020 Legacy of Good Plan—released late last year—is ambitious, realistic and philosophically consistent as it attempts to forge a long-term, multi-dimensional culture of sustainability both within the company and with its suppliers.

“We are setting the bar high,” Dell explains. “By 2020, we expect to reduce the energy intensity of our product portfolio by 80 percent, use only packaging that is 100 percent compostable or recyclable, and rally our global workforce to give 5 million volunteer hours to the communities we call home — just to name a few.”

He takes those laudable goals even further by articulating a “new vision that extends well beyond what Dell can do alone.” Dell’s goal is to generate 10 times more benefit through its technology than it takes to make and use it. “We call it the 10×20 Goal — A Legacy of Good.” Several Vested concepts are at play: collaboration, innovation, sharing value by “global scaling,” transparency and accountability.

One way of looking at Dell’s plan is as a 69-page sustainability governance framework designed to “aggregate and accelerate the ways that Dell and its IT solutions help customers, Dell team members and communities make lasting contributions to the planet and society.”

No industry-standard of measurement currently exists to fully assess how IT-industry customers are using IT to become more socially responsible by deploying efficient and sustainable solutions, according to Dell. “Ultimately, a firm understanding of the full-spectrum impact of technology across IT companies and the customers’ environments will enable Dell – and others in the industry – to identify areas of opportunity for innovation and optimization.”

Dell is also working with industry stakeholders, including suppliers, partners and competitors, to develop a method for more accurately assessing the “net positive” impact of IT on society, including the ways IT customers use and benefit from increasingly environmentally-sustainable and efficient IT solutions.

A short video on the plan says:

“In the past few decades there has been a shift in the way we view our place in the world.” Dell says it is committed to “creating change through action by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.” These challenges are “bigger than any single entity can solve.”

A major part of the plan is to achieve 100 percent transparency of key issues within its supply chains, and “working with suppliers to mitigate risks in those areas.” Another is to recover two billion pounds of used electronics.

“The challenges facing the world today require collaboration and partnership among people and organizations with a shared vision of what could be,” says Dell in the report.

The goal of achieving 100 percent transparency with suppliers reflects a remarkable and industry-unique approach that takes logistics and working with service providers beyond mere transactional bean-counting to the realm of true partnership.

What also strikes me as unique is that Dell’s message is not just about sustainability goals this year or next, and what the company can do by itself: it’s about vision, sharing vision and collaboration to achieve a long-term culture of sustainable social and environmental change. And it’s about how they do it. Collaboratively and in a transparent manner. Very Vested indeed.

Image: Dell Legacy of Good cover

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