Dell trumpets green moves, Greenpeace begs to differ

The computer maker has announced today that is has become the first in its industry to achieve 80 Plus Gold-certification for a server product. Dell claims this is the latest sign that it's on its way to become the "greenest" technology company on the planet.

The computer maker has announced today that is has become the first in its industry to achieve 80 Plus Gold-certification for a server product. Dell claims this is the latest sign that it's on its way to become the "greenest" technology company on the planet.

Dell claims the new 80 PLUS Gold power supply certification meets July 2009 Climate Savers targets for servers more than a year ahead of schedule, which require 92 percent minimum efficiency for the power supply unit at 50 percent of rated output.

Interestingly, poking around on the 80 Plus website, we learn that the certification organisation is backed by utility companies. "Participating utilities and energy efficiency organizations across North America have contributed over $5 million of incentives to help the computer industry transition to 80 PLUS certified power supplies."

While it's not clear whether Dell received any of these "incentives", I don't really understand why any computer maker would need funding from a utility company to improve its power efficiency? Surely they can afford to do this for themselves.

(Also Dell just happens to be on the board of one of the main partners of 80 Plus, an organisation called The Climate Savers Computing Initiative.)

While it's good to see a company like Dell, making efforts around servers, we shouldn't forget the scale of the contribution that IT makes to climate change. As Greenpeace points out, the IT sector currently accounts for two percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, equal to the aviation industry – with the average datacentre using the same amount of power as a small village.

And while Dell might be busy giving itself a slap on the back, environmental charity Greenpeace isn't quite as convinced. The green campaigner has just released the latest update to its Greener Electronics Guide – in which it names and shames the tech companies it reckons aren't a green as they might be.

The charity is now including criteria to assess the impact of electronics companies on climate change in its latest report.

According to Greenpeace, "Companies are scored on disclosure of their greenhouse gas emissions, commitment for absolute cuts in their own emissions and support for the mandatory global emissions reductions that are needed to tackle climate change."

Although Dell is doing fairly compared to other PC makers – it scores 4.5/10 in the latest report, and is in 5th place overall - Greenpeace does single out the PC maker for criticism. "Some companies that promote their ‘green’ policies come up short when measured against global standards of measuring impacts on climate change. Dell scores relatively poorly while Toshiba, Samsung and LGE score close to, or zero, on climate change criteria," the report claims.

Greenpeace also claims Dell could do better when it comes to potentially harmful or polluting chemicals in its manufacturing process as it has to put out on the market products free of PVC or BFRs.

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