IN LATE 2013, DELL WENT PRIVATE, and as part of the move has been focused on its corpo- rate social responsibility initiatives. Trisa Thompson Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Dell, caught up with The Marketer Quarterly to discuss the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy and sustainability efforts including plans to get to zero-waste packaging by 2020. THE MARKETER QUARTERLY: How has Dell changed its vision for CSR since going private?
TRISA THOMPSON: In October 2012, right when Michael [Dell] announced the company was going private, we launched our “2020 Legacy of Good” plan, a corporate-wide plan setting forth long-term goals for corporate responsibility. The “2020 Legacy of Good” long-term goals are consistent with the business’ long-term goals: both drive innovation. In the past we had set CSR goals to align to different parts of the business’ 1-2 year goals, but for this report we stepped back to look at the bigger picture.
We wanted to look not just at our environmental
strategy, but also at our people to create a communi-
ty strategy. We asked how do we set more aspiration
goals and how do we make sure that behind it all
there is a focus on innovation, a focus on customers
and a focus on scale, because it needs to be global.
We want to be leaders in environmental change. It
has to be collaborative in the industry
MQ: How do you provide transparency and accountability?
TT: One of our goals is to get to zero-waste packaging by 2020. That is something that our customers have asked for; it is customer-focused as well as an internal goal. We would like to get rid of wasteful packaging. What it means is making sure that all packaging is recyclable or compostable by 2020.
It is driving some really interesting thinking. Since we launched our plan a year and a half ago, we have started using wheat straw packaging out of China. Today farmers grow wheat in China, and they burn their waste. Air pollution is already a problem in China, so we are working with a company over there that is taking that agricultural waste and turning it into a packaging product instead of burning it. We are actually paying farmers for the waste, and they weren’t getting money before.
And the wheat is being manufactured in the same location that we ship from, as opposed to having packing shipped from the United States or some
BY DIANNA DILWORTH