We live in a rapidly changing world where the consequences of population growth, climate change, depletion of natural resources and pollution are of serious concern. Land, oceans, Polar Regions and the atmosphere are all being deeply affected by what we do. Mere economic development is not the solution and GDP, alone, is not a true indicator of progress. Despite economic growth, we witness poverty, disparities and inequalities with serious adverse implications. A new equilibrium that improves the quality of life without compromising the Earth’s finite resources is critical for this Planet’s survival.
Resources and biodiversity are planetary boundaries that affect every individual, society and organization. Technology empowered businesses, with their ability to bring about profound transformation, must articulate a vision of methods, tools and strategies for the integration of environmental requirements into product development and business operations.
The interesting thing is that sustainability and profitability are not at war with each other. Making eco-friendly changes in the supply chain can improve the bottom line significantly while having a bigger impact on the community around us. This transition is inevitable. With governments imposing bans on plastic waste to legislations promoting recycling processes, operations must get greener, stronger and smarter. A sustainable approach will be more cost-efficient while helping create goodwill.
Sustainability is much more than manufacturing eco-friendly products. It is about incorporating sustainability into every practice. It is about cultivating a sustainability mindset, leveraging innovation and emerging technologies to solve some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Hence, we need to address all five pillars of sustainability: Social, Economic, Environmental, Cultural, and Technological.
This requires a rounded strategy based on responsible business practices involving all stakeholders at multiple levels. The 2020 Legacy of Good Plan has been a blueprint for long-term sustainability and resilience. With wide-ranging targets covering diverse areas, it established sustainability, diversity and technology as accelerators for successful customer and societal outcomes and embedded our commitment to social responsibility into our organizational DNA.
Renewables, material recovery, remanufacturing, disassembly, and recycling can address some of today’s vexing problems. In 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is expected to double by 2034. There are an estimated 86 million metric tonnes of plastics in our oceans – about five trillion individual pieces. Scientists have discovered microplastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice. In 30 years, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans.
Recycling of ocean-bound plastics to reduce pollution has been a major initiative for organizations across the globe. We at Dell, are using plastics collected from beaches, waterways and coastal areas in the packaging of our flagship products. We began shipping the XPS 13 2-in-1 in packaging made from ocean-bound plastics. We have made a commitment to increase annual usage 10x by 2025. We will open-source our supply chain to encourage broader use of ocean plastics by other companies. We have partnered with Lonely Whale in FY18 to bring together a cross-industry consortium of global companies that are committed to scaling the use of ocean-bound plastics.
Our commitment to sustainability remains at the core of our activities, initiatives and development directions. We have successfully completed more than 75 per cent of our ambitious 2020 CSR targets ahead of time. In June 2019, Dell announced “Progress Made Real”, our visionary Social Impact Goals for 2030. It is an ambitious roadmap that covers a wide gamut from recycling to using renewable energy to employing a more inclusive, diverse and gender-equal workforce.
As early as 1962, Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring focused attention on the devastating impact of chemical pollution, fertilizers and pesticides on birds and other life forms. While this has led to the establishment of environmental policies worldwide, there is an urgent need for organizations to examine how they operate and measure how their activities impact the environment and society at large. How we act now will shape future trajectories, determining what we leave behind. As a Native American Proverb says, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”.
The time to respond is Now!
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
Rajeev Kapoor leads Finance Shared Services (FSS) business and works on the CSR strategy, Sustainability report and successfully implement CSR projects in PAN India for Dell Technologies. He is a member of the India Leadership Team in Dell which is focused on building the Dell brand and business in India. Rajeev is very passionate about serving our community. He is championing the community service for India and is on the committee for APJ as well. He also spearheads the Diversity & Inclusion Team in Finance.
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The CSR Journal Team