The Technology Effect: Scaling Climate Impact

Climate action means going beyond business-as-usual to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

If you read any newspaper today it is increasingly clear that the climate crisis needs a collective, globally aligned path forward if we are going to tackle it. This week, businesses, governments and organizations will come together for Climate Week to accelerate climate action and measure progress ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November. Dell is proud to be part of this effort and will host several sessions during Climate Week.

At our company, addressing climate change is and has always been a critical priority. We are taking the steps to reduce emissions across our operations, our supply chain and the energy intensity of our products — before neutralizing what remains — as we close in on our goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. We are making real progress on our goals, but we also see opportunities for technology to make a big impact with companies and industries that are facing the toughest mountains to climb in reducing carbon emissions.

Technologies like Cloud, data analytics, edge computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning can all deliver significant impact in reducing emissions. Let’s take big data and data analytics as an example. Storing and crunching mountains of data require massive supercomputing power, so reducing the energy intensity of our products and embracing technologies like direct liquid cooling are key to maximize performance while increasing efficiency.

This year, 20 supercomputers powered by Dell Technologies appeared on the most recent Green500 list. At #3 on the list was our customer Cambridge University who, by optimizing the frequency of the GPU cards slightly to reduce performance by 9%, delivered an astounding 40% reduction in power without sacrificing their advanced research across astrophysics, nuclear fusion power generation and lifesaving clinical medicine applications.

Intelligent sensors linked to edge computing platforms offer other opportunities for efficiency. Buildings generate nearly 40% of energy-related carbon emissions worldwide. Hark, an energy analytics and industrial IoT company, is using our distributed edge gateways operating in all types of environments to communicate with a range of devices such as industrial furnaces, air conditioners, microgrids and solar panels to help their customers their carbon footprint. By using the Hark Platform to centrally manage 24,000 devices, including commercial ovens and refrigeration systems at 600 stores, a U.K. supermarket chain has saved more than £1 million ($1.38 million) in energy costs over 12 months. Staff can not only pinpoint inefficient systems but adjust power and other device settings to reduce energy consumption.

These are just two examples of how Dell’s technologies are driving climate innovation and mitigation – and we are only just getting started. Through both human ingenuity and continuous technology evolution we’ll soon realize new ways to digitally reinvent energy, land use, waste, water, transportation, manufacturing, and how buildings will operate more efficiently in the future. During Climate Week, we’re hosting sessions exploring two of these topics: The Role of Cities in Mitigating Climate Change and Grid Modernization: From Funding to End User which we invite you to join.

As business leaders, governments and organizations meet this week and momentum builds in the lead-up to COP26, these discussions will be mission-critical. And while there is no single technology that will solve the climate crisis, it is an important tool – one we must embrace boldly and use to act now. Let’s work together to drive innovation and accelerate our progress on our commitments to protect the future. There isn’t a day to spare.

Page Motes

About the Author: Page Motes

Page Motes leads Corporate Sustainability, overseeing Dell Technologies’ strategic vision and goals, as well as stakeholder engagement. This role, and her team's work, includes deep collaboration with internal business groups to advance sustainability programs with long-term value. Other work includes engaging in third-party partnerships to accelerate initiatives and position the company as a thought leader, and foster innovation and engagement within Dell Technologies’ global enterprise. Programs span across themes of advancing the circular economy, climate change, and deep engagement in the supply chain. ​ ​ Page previously spent 10 years as a leader in the Global Ethics & Compliance Office, overseeing and managing Dell Technologies’ ethics strategy and proactive culture of integrity initiatives, including the Code of Conduct, compliance and ethics-related awareness programs and key operational processes for Dell and its global team members. Both roles have been complimented by an additional 15 years in sales and consulting, much within the ethics, compliance, risk and governance space, and Page has lectured at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law and McCombs Business School, as well as the University of Colorado at Boulder Law School and Bentley College. ​ Page lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. She is a member, and former Board member, of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) Hill Country Chapter, which engages high school boys to develop a heart for service in their communities.