Dell Technologies (Dell) today published its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, a detailed 159-page report on the company’s goals to make a meaningful impact through its technology, people and scale by 2030 and beyond.
In his remarks to the report, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell emphasized the importance of driving innovation, partnerships, and technology to connect people to opportunities, reduce environmental impact, and build trust. To do this, Dell listened to stakeholders to find out where it focuses and operationalizes its efforts in advancing sustainability, nurturing inclusion and transforming lives. It’s all backed by a commitment to uphold ethics and privacy.
Making a difference requires ambitious goal setting, transparency and accountability, all of which are clearly laid out in the report.
“The ESG Report for FY22 shares the actions we are taking today to accelerate progress in achieving our goals for 2030 and beyond. I am proud of the progress we have made in the past year and look forward to continuing to work. As we move forward, you” will see our focus increase on our priority areas On ESG: Climate Action, the Circular Economy, Digital Inclusion and Our Inclusive Workforce. We have never been more determined to create technology solutions that lead to positive impact and human progress. Our stakeholders – employees and customers, partners and suppliers, investors and communities – expect this from us. And we expect that from ourselves,” shared in an email Cassandra Garber VP, ESG, Dell.
With this report, Dell retires its “Progress Made Real” brand and combines 2030 goals previously under this report along with diversity, inclusion, and supply chain responsibility, so there is no confusion about the role ESG plays in the company’s strategy. At Dell, ESG is a clear business necessity. As such, it requires a formal organization within the business with governance that extends to the top. Dell sees ESG as having the ability to add long-term value, reduce risk, attract top talent, and drive societal progress. However, it can only do so if it meets stakeholder expectations by bringing transparency into the process, continuous improvement of performance and governance over strategy, risk and performance.
In a true engineer-led mindset, Dell ESG practice is driven by numbers as the company strives to improve ESG reporting by considering internationally recognized frameworks and guidelines. For example, Dell publishes stand-alone indexes based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), industry-specific technology, and standards for communications hardware and software developed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Dell has also committed to reporting on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Core Stakeholder Capital Measures, which provides a set of 21 globally comparable, disclosures focused on the principles of People, Planet, Prosperity and Governance. The use of common metrics standards helps create consistency and simplify how a company’s ESG efforts are evaluated.
There is plenty of detail in the report about each of the four pillars that form the backbone of Dell’s efforts: promoting sustainability, promoting inclusion, transforming lives and supporting ethics and privacy.
Over the past two years, especially in the United States, the issue of social justice has been of great interest to individuals and organizations alike. However, while we have seen a movement in the European Union calling for mandatory human rights due diligence legislation, the US government has been more focused on technology regulation and compliance and has yet to express its opinion on the subject.
This did not prevent Dell from dedicating a portion of the report to its commitment to human rights. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Principles of the UN Global Compact, to which Dell is a signatory, constitute a commitment to advancing human progress. In addition, Dell strives to ensure that it does not engage in human rights abuses and holds its suppliers and business partners to this standard.
Dell’s human rights policies focus on seven areas: diversity, equality and inclusion. Health and safety; labor protection; forced labor and human trafficking; Child labor; responsible sources; Privacy; Environmental responsibility, bribery and corruption.
Dell’s recently updated Human Rights Policy formalizes Dell’s commitment to respecting human rights through the development of policies, processes, and governance protocols. In addition, experts across Dell perform human rights due diligence and warranty practices on an ongoing basis. The company also collaborates with third-party experts to conduct more formal human rights impact assessments. The most recent company-wide Human Rights Impact Assessment confirmed Dell’s awareness of human rights risks and impact areas of discrimination, child labor, forced labour, health and safety, privacy and working hours. Dell is committed to using the FY23 Impact Assessment to increase awareness of evolving risks and to use that increased knowledge to accelerate positive change.
All Dell employees are required to complete a Code of Conduct training annually and adhere to the rules and policies, including the Dell Human Rights Policy. To help talented people “do the right thing,” Dell makes sure that policies are clear and concise, that digital tools are used to simplify decisions and processes and that leaders are accountable.
Dell holds our partners, suppliers, vendors and other third parties to the same high ethical standards we set for their people and their businesses. There is a Partner Code of Conduct and Supplier Principles for Adhering to and Supporting Materials and Solutions such as the new Clarity-Based Compliance course for Dell Partners used to raise awareness of both risks and solutions.
Dell’s early focus on human rights is the right thing to do for its employees and society at large. It is also, of course, the right thing to do for a business as it will allow it to continue doing business in countries where the standard of due diligence is already in place. This is Dell’s third annual report on its 2030 goals and with each release, the amount of data shared and transparency around the steps taken to achieve each goal has increased. Compliance is the floor, not the ceiling, and Dell’s leadership is well aware of that.
disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consulting firm that engages or engages in research, analysis, and advisory services with several technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any stock positions with any company mentioned in this column.