Dell's Carbon Neutral Claim|Business Ethics|Case Study|Case Studies

Dell's Carbon Neutral Claim

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BECG099 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through Shipping & Handling Charges extra: Rs. 300 +Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Carbon neutral status / Environmental sustainability / Supply chain carbon footprint / Corporate Social Responsibility
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2007-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Dell Inc.
Industry : Computers, IT and ITeS
Countries : Global


Companies in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector were expected to adopt various measures to improve the energy efficiency of their operations and also to manufacture products that consumed less energy in order to reduce their contribution to the worldwide emission of greenhouse gases. In August 2008, Dell Inc. (Dell) came out with the announcement that it had managed to achieve carbon neutrality a few months before its self-imposed deadline.

On the one hand, Dell’s achievement was applauded as it was the first company with a global presence to achieve this landmark. Critics, on the other hand, expressed doubts over the credibility of this claim.

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They argued that, to assess its carbon footprint, Dell had defined its own metrics that included only emissions from company-owned vehicles, operational electricity use, and employee business travel; and excluded emissions from its suppliers of parts, pollution created during the shipping of its products, and the electricity consumed in the usage of the products.

This case discusses the carbon neutral strategy adopted by Dell and the controversy around its carbon neutral claim. It also explores the role of the supply chain in a company’s environmental sustainability initiatives.


Definition, scope, measurement, and disclosure of carbon footprint/carbon neutral status.

Environmental sustainability in the Information Technology industry and its supply chain.

Purchase of renewable energy and carbon credits to offset carbon emissions.

Corporate social responsibility and corporate communications.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
The 'World Ahead' Program 2
'World Ahead' Program in India 6
The Baramati Initiative 7
The Appreciation 9
The Criticism 10
Exhibits 12


Environmental sustainability, Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Dell, Carbon footprint, Carbon neutral, Climate change, GHG protocol, Energy efficiency, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs), Carbon credits, Greenpeace, Energy Star, Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration (SCLC), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), ISO 14001, Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC)

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