The technology giant Dell recently made a splash in the fashion world by collaborating with Nikki Reed, actress and activist, to launch the The Circular Collection, jewelry made with gold responsibly extracted from technology recovered through the Dell US recycling program. Parvati Magazine’s Business Editor, Pam Bryan, spoke with Trisa Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Responsibility Officer at Dell Inc. to learn more about the tech giant’s Legacy of Good sustainability programs.
Parvati Magazine: What is the Dell Legacy of Good Plan and why is it so important to Dell?
Trisa Thompson: Dell’s Legacy of Good Plan outlines long term commitments for how our technology and expertise can do the most good for people and the planet. It also aligns our sustainability goals with our business objectives to grow our business while considering the broader societal impacts.
PMAG: Could you share some recent Legacy of Good wins Dell is most proud of?
TT: Our role in advancing the circular economy for the technology industry is a huge point of pride for the company. We have built the world’s largest technology recycling program, which now serves as a source for materials in new Dell products. We’ve recycled more than 50 million pounds of electronic plastics and other sustainable alternatives into 92-plus new products. And, we continue to embed more circular programs across our supply chain and manufacturing.
PMAG: You’ve identified 22 goals in the plan. Which have been the most challenging to make progress on and why?
TT: Our Net Positive goal has been our greatest challenge, and that was by design. We believe that the good that will come from our technology is ten times what it takes to create and use it, but we have to align across industries on the standards and measurements to prove it. Our goal is to push ourselves and others to consider carefully how our actions as a business can be used to create net positive impacts.
PMAG: Dell just partnered with actress and activist Nikki Reed to launch a jewelry line with gold responsibly extracted from technology recovered from your US recycling program. What makes the gold responsibly extracted and what is your strategic goal for the line?
TT: One of our Legacy of Good goals is to recover 2 billion pounds of e-waste by 2020. With global e-waste recycling rates at <15% we need to find unique partners to advocate and educate on all the benefits of responsible recycling. Many people are not aware of all the precious materials in electronics that can be repurposed. The Circular Collection symbolizes the concept of circular economy and educates audiences on the beauty that can come from their e-waste.
According to a Trucost study we led, our partner, Wistron GreenTech’s extraction process is 99% more environmentally friendly than mining gold from the earth. You can learn more about the process at dell.com/gold.
PMAG: What do you think most people don’t realize about sustainability for technology companies?
TT: Technology companies have an opportunity to affect broad change on a number of global challenges. Whether it’s democratizing access to bring education to underserved populations or creating more efficient systems to address climate change, we have an enormous role to play. Even seemingly unrelated challenges can be an opportunity. We’re proving this with our involvement in addressing the marine plastic pollution issue through our materials innovation and supply chain work. We have an opportunity to transform how we live and work for a more sustainable future.
Trisa Thompson is Senior Vice President and Chief Responsibility Officer at Dell Inc., with responsibility for Dell’s Legacy of Good program including strategic giving, sustainability, and women’s initiatives. Trisa also serves as a judge for the global Circular Awards with the World Economic Forum.