Dell announced a Zero Carbon Initiative for the long term, and committed to reducing its global carbon intensity by 15% by 2012. The company also announced the extension of its "Plant a Tree for Me" program, which donates trees to offset the carbon impact of the production of electricity used to power computers and equipment to Europe.
In addition, Michael Dell asked customers to submit their ideas for how to build "the greenest PC on the planet" via its extremely popular IdeaStorm online community, where customers post their ideas about products, vote on them and discuss them with other users. Ideas will be collected on IdeaStorm through June 26, and the submitters of the five best ideas will have a $1,000 donation made in their names to the non-profit environmental organization of their choice.
"Our goal is simple and clear," Michael Dell says. "We'll take the lead in setting an environmental standard for our industry that will reflect our partnership with, and direct feedback from, our customers, suppliers and stakeholders, and we intend to maintain that leadership."
Dell's announcement follows a period of increased scrutiny on the environmental practices of the tech industry, highlighted by the April edition of Greenpeace's "Green Ranking" report of the technology industry. Dell ranked fourth in that report; Lenovo ranked first, and Apple ranked last--although Apple Inc.'s CEO Steve Jobs recently has made a public commitment to bringing Apple's environmental practices in line.
Greenpeace has had a reasonably favorable opinion of Dell throughout its tracking of the technology industry. Dell is the only company in the industry to offer free recycling for any Dell-branded product at any time, anywhere in the world, a model Greenpeace has urged other technology companies to emulate.
Other environmentally conscious policies include its commitment made in 2006 Dell to phasing out the worst toxic substances from their product ranges by 2009, as well as its Energy Smart-configured line of products that meet the latest Energy Star 4.0 requirements.