Dell doubles down on university hiring spree, green energy in new 2020 plan

The computer maker, in the midst of going private, outlines a 12 point plan with aims to reduce its environmental impact, among other things. Corporate caring, or pipe dream?

Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas Image: Dell

Dell's latest pitch as a private company is to not only reinvent itself as the computer-making giant it once was, but to emerge as the caring, tree-loving, environmentally-friendly firm it wants to be.

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The Round Rock, Texas-based firm said the plan is split into three parts: the environment, people — which includes Dell's 100,000 employees around the world, and communities.

In its quest to save the planet, Dell said it wants to reduce the environmental impact of its company operations (while aiming to enabling — the key word there is "enable," not to actively force — its customers to do the same).

Dell noted it also wants to:

  • Reduce the energy intensity of its product portfolio by 80 percent

  • Use 50 million pounds of sustainable materials, including recycled plastic, and 2 billion pounds of used electronics.

  • Ensure waste-free packaging by using wheat straw, mushrooms, and bamboo, which can be 100 percent recycled or composted.

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from its facilities and logistics operations

On its "save the economy" drive, Dell said it wants to build loyalty and foster "inspirational leadership" within its corporate walls. In doing so, it's going on a hiring spree, by:

  • Increasing university hiring to 25 percent of external hire

  • Achieving (only?) 75 percent favorable responses or higher in team member satisfaction surveys carried out each year

  • Increasingly eligible participation in flexible work programs by 50 percent

And for community, which Dell says it wants to make a "positive impact" on communities by applying technology and expertise to solving "real" societal issues. How's it doing that? By:

  • Committing to engage 75 percent of team members in community-service initiatives

  • Apply education technology and expertise in projects that reach 3 million young people (despite being a multi-national, billion-dollar company, the U.K. has about 12 million children alone. That figure isn't going very far, but it's not bad for a private firm, granted.)

Looking back at some of these, they're far from difficult to achieve. Aside from the small things, such as achieving better satisfaction in surveys, manufacturing efforts will have to change. There's no doubt about that. But many feed into each other. Switching to different packaging alone will drive down the energy used, for one, but the financial investment into the new eco-friendly packaging will cost the company a fair buck or two.

Now the company is private, it has a little more weight to throw around to improve its image. But will this be one of those things that fades into distant memory in five to ten years?

Well, look how well the Kyoto Agreement worked out.