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Building a Sustainable and Resilient Recovery

Written by Richard Rawcliffe, Vice President and General Manager UK Public Sector, Dell Technologies

This July, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, reaffirmed the UK Government’s commitment to a “green recovery”. Unveiling the latest economic stimulus package, the Chancellor promised that the Government would deliver a “green recovery with concern for our environment at its heart”. Recent polling from YouGov shows that despite the economic damage from COVID-19, protecting the environment remains an important priority for the British public.

The pandemic offers policymakers across Whitehall a unique opportunity to rebuild our economy in a way that is greener and more resilient. Technology offers us many pathways towards that goal. As remote working became a tool in the fight against COVID-19, we saw how technology could empower us to work, live and socialise while remaining physically distant.

But while technology plays an increasingly important role in our daily lives, we must mitigate against its potential environmental impacts. Without strong sustainability programmes, more end-user devices could mean more ICT waste and ultimately more pressure on supply chains, resources and electricity.

That’s why sustainability is at the heart of Dell Technologies’ 2030 Progress Made Real goals. The goals reflect Dell Technologies’ commitment to making a positive social impact. And leaders across our business are working hard to deliver on our goals by the end of the coming decade. To give just a few examples of the goals we are working towards:

– By 2030, every product a customer buys, we will reuse or recycle an equivalent product
– 100% of our packaging will be made from recycled or renewable material
– More than half of our product content will be made from recycled or renewable material

Dell Technologies is also constantly finding new ways to not only operate more efficiently and with less waste but also to build a global circular economy that uses our precious natural resources in more responsible ways.
We’re happy to say we are not alone when it comes to putting sustainability at the heart of the private sector.

The UK has been home to some of the world’s finest examples of sustainable business, with Unilever leading the way. The company has just celebrated 10 years of its Sustainable Living Plan, proving that doing good is good business. When former CEO Paul Polman stepped down last year, he issued a rallying cry for business leaders to “reinvent capitalism,” and prioritise tackling climate change. A message heard loud and clear in boardrooms across the country.

It’s also heartening to see big change in some of the world’s largest energy companies. For example BP has recently set a new ambition to become net zero by 2050 or sooner – looking at cutting its carbon intensity by 50% and increasing investment into its non-oil and gas interests. A willingness to fundamentally change who we are and what we stand for is needed if we are to create a better future.

But of course progress requires everyone to get involved. We need to see public and private sectors work together to achieve our ambitions. Last year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), launched its Industry Guide to Sustainable ICT, encouraging cross-sector collaboration by bringing together businesses, NGOs, academia and policy makers to work towards making the IT sector as sustainable as possible.

Indeed, the UK Government is making strong progress towards meeting its own targets in delivering more sustainable ICT performance. Defra’s Greening Government Commitments, for instance, set out the actions Government departments and their agencies will take to reduce their impacts on the environment.
Government policies and initiatives are significant drivers of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As the Government works to develop the legal and practical frameworks in support of the SDGs, Dell Technologies is ready to support those policies that address climate change by leveraging technology, supporting research and developing and promoting resiliency.

One of the most powerful levers any government can pull is to drive demand for sustainable and responsible IT solutions through its own public procurement processes. Ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Government has an opportunity to step up investment in sustainable technology and lead the world in demanding sustainable and responsible IT solutions that build safe, resilient and livable societies.

This is something we are thrilled the Government will commit to from the start of 2021. Recently announced measures will look to promote new jobs and skills, encourage economic growth, tackle climate change, and level the field across the UK, by awarding supplier contracts based on the social value model – assessing the wider positive impact the business brings to society in delivering that contract.

The Prime Minister has said that he is determined to “build back better, build back greener and build back faster”. There is a big role for tech to play as a force for good in solving our shared challenges. As the Government accelerates the digital transformation, the tech industry stands ready to use its expertise to move fast and fix things to promote a sustainable recovery. At Dell Technologies, we’re committed to seeing this happen.

June 2020


June 2021