Dell Technologies Consuming Less at Hannover Messe

By Olivia Hughes
Apr 16, 2019 1:00 PM ET
Blog

Did you know that Dell Technologies has the largest IT recycling program in the world? Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, ranging from sustainable design, responsible and ethical production through to end-of-life and recycling.

We walk the talk

This isn’t a principle that we just apply to R&D and manufacturing. We incorporate it into every single business practice, including the design and construction of our exhibition booth at Hannover Messe. Typically, given the temporary nature of trade fair exhibitions, booths are not designed or constructed with sustainability in mind, as much of the material is sadly discarded after the show.

Our sustainable stand

In contrast, at least 85% of the elements on our booth are sustainable, have been previously used and will continue to be used in the future. In fact, many of the elements have been used at least ten times. The inner structure of our booth is made of plywood frame and laminated wood. LED lighting is used for illumination, while the furniture is sturdy and designed to last. In fact, we have some pieces of furniture on this year’s booth, which date from 2014! Our only new element this year is the monitor wall, which we plan to re-use for future shows. The same goes for our products on the booth, for example, the OptiPlex XE3 uses 44.6% post-consumer recycled plastic/closed loop recycled plastics.

Of course, in addition to the sustainability aspect, the booth also has to look aesthetically pleasing with visually strong graphics and impactful demo displays. We believe that the two principles are fully compatible – it’s entirely possible to have a sustainable and attractive booth.

Store, adapt and refurbish

How does the whole process work? Easy. The big focus is on storing, adapting and refurbishing existing materials. When our booth is dismantled, all the elements are logged and placed in central warehouse storage. When the next event is scheduled, we design our new booth, using the existing materials.

What about damage? Not a problem! If there’s a hole on an existing board, it is simply filled in, sanded down and painted over. Of course, we may need to add new boards depending on the dimension of the new booth, but all surplus materials are stored, ready to be re-used in the future.

A practical approach

Is there anything that cannot be reused? Carpets fall into this category, but they are put to good use afterwards as protective packaging material. Likewise, we cannot re-use graphics, but the materials are made of recycled material and are fully recyclable. In total, these elements represent around 3% of the total materials used on a typical booth. To avoid unnecessary transportation, we also store all the show materials – including computer equipment for demos – in one central location.

Common sense prevails

Of course, Hannover is a great venue, easily accessible by public transport. True to that principle, we always look to use sustainable venues, for example, hotels or conference centers versus building a bespoke location. In the booth, we ask for clear sorting of waste and avoid single-use items like paper cups, plastic bottles, printed materials and unsustainable merchandising. In terms of food and beverages, we choose local suppliers as much as possible, estimating quantities as precisely as possible to avoid waste. If food is served, we look to use chicken, fish and vegetables versus red meat.

Cost-neutral over the long term

While a sustainable stand is more expensive initially due to the associated warehousing and refurbishments costs, over the longer-term, it becomes cost-neutral. More importantly, we believe that it’s the right thing to do. Our world faces pressing social and environmental challenges. It’s no longer enough to sit on the side-lines – we all need to do more, consume less and make better use of resources.

Analytics

And, that’s not all! Thanks to technology and the use of smart tags, our sustainable booth is smart. We can track what type of visitors come onto the booth, what areas they are most attracted too and how long they stay on average. These insights will help in future designs.

Our commitment and our vision

On a closing note, I believe that technology plays a crucial role in driving environmental progress. Digital transformation is giving the world the opportunity to find lasting solutions by decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions. And, we can now use tools to understand what is happening to our climate more clearly than ever before. In fact, IoT and Artificial Intelligence are already helping to improve our knowledge of the world, reduce energy consumption and protect endangered species – read my colleague, Bryan Jones’ fascinating blog here.

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