Washington DC - Dell has become the first major computer manufacturer to commit to neutralizing the carbon impact of its worldwide operations, a significant extension of its global climate policy and environmental stewardship. "Never before in the history of business have we seen such a critical need to build a worldwide community dedicated to improving the environment," Michael Dell, the company's chairman and CEO, said here today during a policy forum organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Leadership starts at home, which is why we are going carbon-neutral, but this should only be the beginning of building long-term partnerships with customers, stakeholders and suppliers of all sizes to team up and make a difference for the Earth we all share," Mr. Dell said.

Dell issued a challenge to its peer companies during Mr. Dell's speech to join in "a long-term, carbon-neutral commitment to our shared Earth." The company also announced a new program called "Plant a Forest for Me" that enables organizations worldwide to join together with Dell and share best practices, partner and facilitate the planting of millions of trees in sustainably managed reforestation projects. This program is a continuation of the "Plant a Tree for Me" program for consumers.

The founding members of "Plant a Forest for Me" include Dell, ABN AMRO, AMD, Ask.com, Salesforce.com and WellPoint. Each company has committed to offsetting part of their carbon output by purchasing trees for Plant a Forest. Dell partners with The Conservation Fund and Carbonfund.org, non-profit organizations that facilitate the tree planting.

Carbon neutrality involves taking inventory of an organization's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and then implementing strategies to reduce and eliminate those emissions. To meet its carbon-neutral commitment for Dell operations, the company will pursue an aggressive strategy of driving additional energy-efficiencies, maximizing purchases of renewable power and offsetting remaining impacts.

"Dell's continued efforts to raise the bar for environmental performance are commendable, and we are pleased to see a concentrated effort on addressing climate impacts throughout its business, products and supply chain," said Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres, a national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working to address global sustainability challenges.

"What's particularly impressive is the company's focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy as primary mechanisms for addressing climate change, and we look forward to working with Dell as additional environmental initiatives are developed."

Carbon Neutral Dell Operations

In June, Dell committed to an aggressive, long-term goal to be the "greenest technology company on the planet," an initiative that includes teaming with "The ReGeneration," people of all ages who care about the environment. The company's progressive climate policy focuses on minimizing both direct and indirect emissions impacts, including supplier operations and customer product use.

Dell's commitment to carbon neutrality in its operations primarily involves emissions impacts created by electricity use and facility heating and cooling. The company will also offset the emissions impact of employee business travel.

As part of its climate stewardship commitment, a company priority is to invest in energy from renewable sources, such as wind, where available and economically feasible.

Dell will offset the emissions impact of the remaining energy the company uses and cannot source from renewable sources. Dell is working with stakeholders to shape its offset strategy, which will help ensure that offsets are invested in projects that can be monitored and verified. Projects will be evaluated for their long-term viability and assurance that the carbon savings are real.