*Images by Dell Malaysia
With the arrival of the new year, Techside Tales had the opportunity to exclusively interview Dell EMC Senior vice-president and Dell Malaysia Pang Yee Beng about Dell’s Legacy of Good Plan where it builds on the idea that technology should be a driver of human progress.
Currently in its sixth year, Dell continues to carry out its long-term commitment to the society, its team members and the environment.
For Dell, it means investing in innovation that reduces environmental impact, supports a transparent supply chain, ensures an inclusive future workforce and advances underserved communities.
Techside Tales (TST): Could you share with us what is the Dell’s Legacy of Good program about?
Pang Yee Beng: Our purpose as a company is to drive human progress through technology. One of the ways we bring that to life at Dell is through our Legacy of Good commitment – to put our technology and talents to work where they can do the most good for people and the planet.
Launched in 2013, Legacy of Good Plan is our strategy for bringing sustainability and business objectives together, creating social and environmental benefits while driving better customer outcomes.
This commitment shapes our culture, policies and business practices. It inspires our team members and guides our suppliers. And it drives us to create innovative solutions that benefit our customers while building a lasting legacy of social and environmental good.
Five years on, our approach has evolved but the passion and commitment remain the same.
Techside Tales (TST): How is a technology firm like Dell making a difference in the community and the environment?
Pang Yee Beng: Dell is always committed to maintaining an innovative, diverse, ethical and transparent supply chain that ensures good working conditions and a sustainable approach for the community and the environment around the world. Underscoring our Legacy of Good program are 5 key areas and our approach to each of them:
Net Positive: It’s simply not enough to do “less bad.” We see technology as the key to unlocking regenerative solutions — ones that put more back into society, the environment and the global economy than they take out.
To do this, Dell believes transitioning to a circular economy is critical to advance human progress.
The company’s deep supply chain expertise, design strategy and global electronics recycling infrastructure puts the company in a unique position to advance a circular model.
From closed-loop recycling (using recycled material in new products; upcycling used gold from e-waste into new laptop motherboards and a jewellery line) to recovered ocean-bound plastics (XPS 13 2-in-1 packaging), Dell is pioneering sustainable design innovation in a multitude of areas.
Cumulatively, Dell has used 73 million pounds (about 33 million kg) of recycled material in new products since 2013, keeping the company on track to meet its 2020 Legacy of Good goal of 100 million pounds (about 45 million kg).
For example, closed-loop plastics are used in parts for more than 90 different products (as of June 2017). When the plastics arrive, they are shredded at the manufacturing facilities, melted and blended (currently are 35% recycled-content), then moulded into new parts.
It takes approximately 6 months for the materials to go from old computer, get melted down and turned back into a new computer.
Environment: Environmental responsibility is about more than creating an eco-friendly product or initiative.
It’s about incorporating sustainability at every step, using our technology and expertise to innovate on behalf of our customers, our communities and the planet.
From metals to carbon fiber to plastics, Dell is finding ways to put recycled materials back to work in meaningful ways and out of landfills.
Our Latitude portfolio is a case in point – more than 590 tonnes of reclaimed carbon fiber was incorporated into the Latitudes last year, while the Latitude 5285 2-in-1 is the first product to ship with a motherboard made from closed-loop gold.
Another example would be Dell’s efforts with ocean-bound plastics – we are already shipping XPS 13 2-in-1s in packaging made with recovered ocean-bound plastics, which will be expanded to the XPS line and commercial product portfolio.
To scale the work, Dell partnered the Lonely Whale Foundation to create NextWave, a consortium of companies dedicated to scaling use cases for ocean-bound plastic materials in manufacturing while creating economic and social benefits for stakeholders.
NextWave hopes to divert 3 million pounds (about 1.36 million kg) of plastics over five years, the equivalent of keeping 66 million water bottles from washing out to sea. As part of our NextWave commitment as well, the company will remove the use of plastic straws from all our global facilities.
Supply Chain: We hold our suppliers to the same high social and environmental standards we set for ourselves.
We are committed to driving transparency, accountability and continuous improvement throughout our global supply chain.
This is why in 2015 Dell began organising tours of both Dell and supplier manufacturing facilities to enable customers to see the operations first-hand – which now includes the use of Virtual Reality (VR) to provide an immersive, 360-degree experience.
We are the first in the industry to lead customer tours like this, and the first to use technology to expand access to the tours to even more customers.
Communities: As a global technology provider and corporate citizen, we see first-hand how a lack of access to quality education and technology can prevent people from reaching their full potential.
We apply our technology, expertise, funding and volunteerism toward helping communities overcome challenges and thrive. An example of this is our Digital LifeCare project which is transforming healthcare for 37 million people in rural India. It is a cloud-based analytics solution that helps healthcare personnel transition from paper-based systems for improved health screenings and tracking of patients.
First launched in 2014 in the State of Karnataka, the project has now extended to select districts in the State of Andhra Pradesh (2016) and Telangana (2017), training more than 15,000 healthcare personnel across 22 districts in these states to serve a population of 9.5 million.
People: We are committed to attracting the world’s greatest talent; building diverse, inclusive teams; and delivering breakthrough performance for our team members, businesses and customers.
We do this by embodying the shared values outlined in our Culture Code: customers, winning together, innovation, results and integrity.
One of the key programs we launched is ‘Connected Workplace’ – a strategic business initiative that allows eligible team members to choose from a variety of flexible work solutions including work-from-home and part-time work arrangements, variable daily work times and job sharing.
Established in 2009, Connected Workplace has evolved to be a key component of our culture as well as our efforts to attract and retain world-class talent. Enabling a flexible workforce allows Dell to hire the best person for each role, despite their physical location or ability to come into a Dell facility.
One of our Legacy of Good goals is to encourage eligible team members to enrol in Dell’s flexible work programs, increasing global participation to 50% by 2020.
Techside Tales (TST): Could you share some of the initiatives done by Dell in Malaysia?
Pang Yee Beng: Dell Malaysia is committed to finding opportunities to do good for society, the community and our planet, contributing towards the 2020 Legacy of Good goals.
Some key highlights include:
- Raised more than RM1 million over the last eight years for the Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital in Penang through its annual ‘Charity Engaged’ event. The proceeds went towards the construction of the hospital’s day-care pediatrics procedure cancer wing which is expected to be completed this year.
- As part of Dell’s global commitment for a #StrawlessOcean, Dell Malaysia has joined the campaign to eliminate the use of plastics straws across all its facilities. We are also committed to no single-use water bottles at all our events moving forward.
- Cleaned up over 500kg of ocean drift waste in its #ShoreUp initiative in conjunction with Earth Day 2017.
- Recovered close to 750kg of e-waste since mid-2017; on track to achieving its goal of 2,000kg of e-waste by 2020.
- Employees clocked in an average of 33,000 hours annually for volunteer work since 2008, which includes tutoring underserved communities and cleaning up beaches.
- Dell is enriching the lives of the underserved Orang Asli community in the state of Selangor, providing tuition for young children and their parents on the subjects of English and Mathematics.
- In November 2017, the state of Penang was hit by the worst floods in its history. Dell, through its annual ’31 Days of Giving’ initiative helped with flood relief efforts, donating 3.4 tonnes of goods and essential supplies for flood victims.
- Together with the Penang state government, Dell also supported clean-up efforts on the island, including a tree planting drive to plant 500 tree saplings.
- We were also recognised for our efforts in providing a healthy, environmentally friendly workplace for our employees – we were awarded as the ‘Healthiest Workplace for Large Corporation’ in AIA Malaysia’s 2017 Healthiest Workplace challenge. In addition, all three Dell sites (2 in Penang and 1 in Cyberjaya) have been given the “Green Office” certification by the Penang Green Council
Techside Tales (TST): One of the more interesting collaborations Dell has is with Lonely Whale, to address the pressing issue of plastic pollution. Can you tell us more about that?
Pang Yee Beng: Dell is constantly finding ways to put recycled materials back to work in meaningful ways.
When it comes to plastic pollution, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastics in the oceans right now, according to some estimates.
A further 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year, and that amount is increasing by 7% every year.
Malaysia is not free from this global crisis – according to a 2015 study, we are the eighth worst country worldwide for plastic waste!
The situation is clear – everyone has a part to play, from the individual consumer to large business organisations, in ensuring a cleaner, livable future for us and the future generations.
In 2017, we collaborated with the Lonely Whale Foundation to launch NextWave, an initiative to reduce plastic waste in the ocean at scale.
NextWave is made up of a consortium of companies which look into ways to scale use cases for ocean-bound plastic.
Our goal: to divert 3 million pounds of plastics collectively over five years, which is equivalent of keeping 66 million water bottles from washing out to sea.
Production-wise, Dell is also committed to achieving 100% sustainable packaging by 2020 as part of Legacy of Good.
A majority of our XPS portfolio now ships with ocean-bound plastics packaging, with plans to expand this across other product lines.
Since 2013, we have incorporated 73 million pounds (or more than 33,000 metric tonnes) of recycled and sustainable sourced materials into our products.
Techside Tales (TST): How is Dell different from what other companies are doing when it comes to green initiatives?
Pang Yee Beng: Environmental responsibility is about more than creating an eco-friendly product or initiative.
It’s about incorporating sustainability at every step – in our case, using Dell’s technology and expertise to innovate on behalf of our customers, our communities and the planet. That is what sets us apart with our Legacy of Good initiative.
It in, we outline the ambitious goals that will help us deliver on the commitment. As part of that commitment, we use “Circular Economy” principles – engineering out “waste” and turning it into valuable resources.
Dell’s innovative approach to design has made us a leader within the circular economy. We have a history of incorporating sustainable materials into our products and packaging, among them:
- Post-Consumer Plastics purchased on the commodities market. We incorporate it into PCs, displays and servers.
- Closed-Loop Plastics: in addition to buying on the open market, we harvest plastics from our own recycling streams to create new parts for desktops and displays. The program as the first of its kind, receiving UL Environment certification in May 2014.
- Recycled Carbon Fiber: We are not the only industry that recognizes the benefits of carbon fiber. We are able to take scrap carbon fiber left over after the manufacturing process in the aerospace industry and incorporate that into our own products.
- Ocean-Bound Plastics: Using others’ waste and bringing it back into the economy is a key concept in the circular economy. While our work with ocean plastics is perhaps most notable, we have also developed packaging solutions using mushrooms fed with agricultural waste (the spores and cottonseed hulls are mixed, poured into forms and start growing before being kiln-dried to stop the growth process) and previously molded pulp that contained wheat straw (the stalks left over after the harvest that farmers usually burn).
- Closed-Loop Gold: There is 800x more gold in a tonne of motherboards than there is in a tonne of gold ore. While still just a pilot project, we’ve shown it’s possible to recover gold from e-waste and return it back into new components.
At Dell, innovation goes beyond just our products and services. Consider this: In India, air pollution can be so extreme, it is akin to smoking 50 cigarettes per day.
To combat this, Dell partnered with a small India-based start-up, Chakr Innovation, to capture soot from diesel generators and transform it into ink for printing on packaging.
Dell has since shipped approximately 150,000 boxes printed with pollution ink. This gives you an idea of the kind of circular innovation that is consistently taking place at Dell.