If you're not as geeky about this whole green thing as we are, you might not have noticed Dell's new strategy to become the green computer manufacturer. Well...it's definitely a significant project, and at its head is Dell's director of worldwide environmental affairs, David Lear. Formerly HP's vice president of corporate, social and environmental responsibility, he's brought his passion and enthusiasm to the world's second-largest PC manufacturer with some stunning results. His recent appearance on CNBC outlined a $25,000 prize for the most environmentally friendly computer design, and under his leadership the company is ahead of schedule to triple its recycling between 2006 and 2009. He was kind enough to join us for an interview, and his desire for his business to be the "greenest in the world" seems grounded in a desire to create a win-win situation, where businesses and consumers save money while improving the world we all inhabit.
EcoGeek: You're at the bleeding edge of the green revolution in consumer electronics. How did you come to see environmental responsibility as a necessary part of your business strategy?
David Lear: Customers and our shared earth expect nothing less than full responsibility. This means investing in energy-efficient technologies, embracing responsible recycling practices, offsetting what can’t be reduced directly, etc., from the desktop to the datacenter. What we’re finding is that what’s good for business is good for the environment (and vice versa).
EG: With global warming, overpopulation, and peak oil looming on the horizon (just to name a few), there's a lot out there that could scare your pants off. What do you see as your role in working towards a better world?
DL: I see it as being at the forefront of a new era of environmental responsibility where businesses are partnering with their customers, governments, and other businesses to protect the environment. As our CEO clearly stated when he announced our commitment to be the first computer company to go carbon neutral, “Never before in the history of business has there been such a critical need to build a global community dedicated to improving the environment.” We see this as an opportunity to bring our customers closer together while protecting the earth for future.
EG: Your jobs have provided you with a lot of influence. What's the biggest contribution you feel you have personally made towards a sustainable future?
DL: Driving awareness and understanding both internal and external audiences on the sustainable business value of environmental design.
EG: Dell was one of the first big companies to engage in take-back programs, and has set an industry standard for ease-of-use in electronics recycling. What is Dell planning to do to keep its position as a business leader in this regard?
DL: When it comes to recycling, we’re focused on three things. First, we want to continue to make it as easy as possible for businesses and consumers worldwide to responsibly recycle unwanted computer equipment. Second, we are working hard to achieve our goal of recovering 275 million pounds of equipment by 2009…as of this interview, we are ahead of schedule. Third, we will continue to challenge every manufacturer, regardless of size or location, to join us in offering free recycling for consumers, worldwide. It’s the right thing for our industry and the earth we all share.
EG: I'm sure Michael Dell's receptivity to your goals as an individual played a large part in your decision to move to his company. What is your personal vision for the future of electronics, industry, and consumerism?
DL: I see a time when all manufacturers and customers instinctively see sustainability as a performance feature of anything on the market, and use this to drive research, investment, and choice.
EG: What do you see as the biggest hurdle to accomplishing this vision? What's your strategy for accomplishing it?
DL: Driving common metrics across our industry that allow consumers to both understand and make conscious choices in their lifestyles.
EG: That's certainly no small task, given the direction of the growing global economy. What gives you hope for the future?
DL: We've already seen a huge increase in customer engagement across all our customer segments and global regions.
EG: That's very good to hear. What’s next on the horizon?
DL: We’re committed to becoming the “greenest” technology company on earth, which means we’ll continue to raise the stakes for our friends and competitors to join us. We can collectively make a difference by integrating environmental best practices and ideas into all our conversations, products, and services, something you’ll hear us talking more about in the weeks and months ahead.
As part of the ongoing campaign to reach out and listen, David has also agreed to answer some of the questions you, our loyal EcoGeek readers, might have. Post them in the comments section, and we'll post an update for you next week!
written by Hank, November 21, 2007
written by EcoMattJames, December 06, 2007
written by bob, December 15, 2008
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