Dell pressures suppliers to cut emissions

By Chris Mellor, Techworld.com |  Green IT

Dell has become the first IT company to sign up to the Carbon Disclosure Project
(CDP) plan to report on supply chain carbon emissions.

The Carbon Disclosure Project is a not-for-profit organization founded to obtain
full carbon footprint disclosure by Times 500 companies on behalf of investors
and with a desire to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It produces annual reports providing a fair and accurate way to compare suppliers
and their carbon footprints. The CDP is currently inviting institutional investors
to become signatories to the sixth Carbon Disclosure Project for 2008. It is
the collective pressure from these investors, representing US$41 trillion of
investment funds, which encourages suppliers to reveal carbon footprints to
the CDP.

The CDP has recognized that disclosing companies have supply chain contributors
which also cause GHG emissions. Although the CDP has its standard reporting
format there is no standard format for supply chain company emissions.

The CDP's Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration (SCLC) project has produced
a worldwide standard for supply chain businesses to report their emissions.
By signing up for SCLC Dell has served notice on its suppliers that it wants
them to report their emissions to Dell in this format.

It also means that the supply chain companies have joined the CDP by proxy
and their emissions may even become public.

Furthermore it provides Dell with the means to compare and contrast its suppliers
on GHG emissions and direct business to the low emitters. Thus a virtuous circle
is produced in which Dell suppliers will compete to lower their emissions and
so help to lower Dell's own emissions.

The entry of Dell to the SCLC may well prompt other IT suppliers in the CDP's
ranks, such as IBM, HP and Sun, to follow suit; such is the CDP's hope.

Paul Dickinson, its CEO, said: "Dell is the first IT company to join the
collaboration and we hope others will follow their lead. The supply chain is
often responsible for a large part of a company's emissions, so in working with
Dell to help measure these emissions, CDP hopes to help them achieve their own
carbon reduction goals."

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