Dell Technologies (Dell) published today its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, a 159-page detailed report on the company’s goals to deliver meaningful impact through its technology, people and scale by 2030 and beyond.
In its remarks for the report, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell underlines the importance of driving innovation, partnerships and technology to connect people with opportunities, reduce environmental impact and build trust. To do that, Dell has listened to its stakeholders to learn where to focus and operationalize its efforts in advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion and transforming lives. All underpinned by a commitment to uphold ethics and privacy.
Making a difference requires setting ambitious goals, transparency and accountability, all clearly in display in the report.
“Our FY22 ESG report shares the actions we are taking today to accelerate progress against our 2030 and beyond goals. I am proud of the progress we’ve made in the past year and eager to continue the work. As we move forward, you’ll see us increase our focus on our ESG priority areas: climate action, circular economy, digital inclusion and our inclusive workforce. We have never been more intent on creating technology solutions that drive positive impact and human progress. Our stakeholders — employees, customers, partners, suppliers, investors and communities — expect this of us. And we expect it of ourselves,” shared in an email Cassandra Garber VP, ESG, Dell.
With this report, Dell retires its “Progress Made Real” brand and combines the 2030 goals previously under that report together with Diversity and Inclusion and Supply Chain Responsibility, so there is no confusion about the role ESG plays in the company’s strategy. At Dell, ESG is a clear business imperative. As such, it requires a formalized organization within the business with governance extending to the very top. Dell sees the ESG organization as having the power to add long-term value, minimize risk, attract top talent and drive societal progress. However, it can only do so if it meets stakeholders’ expectations by bringing transparency to the process, continued performance improvement and governance on the strategy, risks and performance.
In the true engineer-driven mentality, Dell’s ESG practice is driven by numbers as the company strives to improve its ESG reporting by considering internationally recognized frameworks and guidelines. For example, Dell publishes stand-alone indexes based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the industry-specific technology and communications hardware and software standards established by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Dell has also committed to reporting on the World Economic Forum(WEF) framework’s core Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, which offers a set of 21 universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity and governance principles. Using common metrics standards helps create consistency and simplifies how the company’s ESG efforts can be evaluated.
There is a lot of detail in the report about each of the four pillars that make up the backbone of Dell’s effort: Advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion, transforming lives and upholding ethics and privacy.
Over the past two years, particularly in the US, the question of social equity has been top of mind for individuals and organizations alike. However, while we have seen a movement in the European Union advocating for mandatory human rights due diligence legislation, the US government has been more focused on regulating tech and compliance and has yet to voice an opinion on the topic.
This has not stopped Dell from dedicating a section of the report to its commitment to Human Rights. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, to which Dell is a signatory, inform Dell’s commitment to driving human progress. In addition, Dell strives to ensure it is not complicit in human rights violations and holds its suppliers and business partners to this standard.
Dell’s human rights policies focus on seven areas: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Health and Safety; Worker Protections; Forced Labor and Human Trafficking; Child Labor; Responsible Sourcing; Privacy; Environmental Responsibility and Bribery and Corruption.
The recently updated Dell Human Rights Policy formalizes Dell’s commitment to respect human rights by setting policies, processes and governance protocols. In addition, experts across Dell implement human rights due diligence and assurance practices on an ongoing basis. The company also engages with third-party experts for more formal human rights impact assessments. The latest corporate level Human Rights Impact Assessment confirmed Dell’s awareness of the human rights risks and impact areas of discrimination, child and forced labor, health and safety, privacy and working hours. Dell is committed to using the FY23 impact assessment to increase awareness of the evolving risks and use that increased knowledge to accelerate positive change.
All Dell employees have to complete a Code of Conduct training annually and adhere to the code and the policies, including the Dell Human Rights Policy. To help talent “do the right thing,” Dell makes sure policies are clear and concise, digital tools are used to streamline decisions and processes and leaders are accountable.
Dell holds partners, suppliers, vendors and other third parties to the same high ethical standard we set for its own people and business. There is a Code of Conduct for Partners and Supplier Principles to adhere to and supporting material and solutions like the new Articulate-based Compliance Training for Dell Partners course used to increase awareness of both the risks and the solutions.
Dell’s early focus on Human Rights is the right thing to do for its employees and society more broadly. It is also, of course, the right thing to do for the business as it will allow it to continue to do business in countries where there is a due diligence standard already in place. This is the third annual report Dell has published on its 2030 goals and with each version, the amount of data shared and transparency on the steps taken to achieve each goal has increased. Compliance is the floor, not the ceiling and Dell’s leadership is very well aware of that.
Disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this column.