A Case for Climate Neutrality

VIRTUAL CLIMATE NEUTRALITY The information and communications technology (ICT) sector contributes approximately two per cent of the world’s GHG emissions. However, the use of computers to control and organize every aspect of our lives and economies gives this sector a significant influence over the remaining 98 per cent.

estimated to be produced from “upstream” and “downstream” sources—upstream being emissions frommaking and shipping components, and downstream being the electricity used in the running of Dell’s computers and servers worldwide. Emissions from each of these sources are estimated at five million tonnes annually (10 million tonnes in total). Dell is committed to reducing its direct and business travel emissions as much as possible, while offsetting the rest. Since around 80 per cent of these emissions are from electricity, this is where the company will focus its efforts in striving towards carbon neutrality. After exhausting the maximum efficiency improvements, Dell undertakes to account for all of its electricity use through purchase of renewable energy. As far as possible this is done through negotiation with the utilities that supply the power itself—in the United States Dell is able to source 36 per cent of its power from renewable generation technologies, and 26 per cent worldwide—well above the average availability for renewable power.

Dell, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of computers and computer-related products, has made the decision to go climate neutral. But as its own analysis shows [see graphic], even offsetting every tonne of CO 2 required by the agreed protocol for carbon neutrality accounts for a relatively small portion of the emissions associated with its business. Dell counts within its GHG inventory the direct emissions from its own factories and facilities worldwide, plus those from business travel. Together, they amounted to about 470,000 tonnes of CO 2 between 2008 and 2009. These emissions were, however, just a small fraction of the emissions which Dell judges to be linked with its own business and products. About 20 times the company’s own emissions are


Made with