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Dell becomes carbon neutral by saving endangered lemurs

Dell becomes carbon neutral by saving endangered lemurs

Dell becomes carbon neutral by saving endangered lemurs
Rhett Butler,
August 6, 2008

Dell, the world’s largest computer maker, announced it has become the first major technology company to achieve carbon neutrality.

The Texas-based firm reached its goal through “an aggressive global energy-efficiency campaign and increasing purchases of green power, verified emission reductions and renewable energy certificates,” according to a statement. The company is also making investments in wind power in the U.S., China and India and funding rainforest conservation in Madagascar to avoid emissions that would otherwise result from deforestation.

The firm now consumes 645 million kWh of “green electricity” per year and avoids more than 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from power generation, saving more than $3 million annually. It avoids another 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions through energy efficiency.

Saving lemurs while protecting climate

Uroplatus gecko and Lepilemur in Madagascar.

Dell’s decision to offset more than 500,000 tons of emissions over the next five years through forest conservation lends support to the emerging market for ecosystem services as well as offers marketing benefits for the firm. The “avoided deforestation” funds will be used to promote sustainable income-generating activities for poor rural communities who might otherwise clear forests for subsistence agriculture and cattle grazing. The protected forests serve as a refuge for endemic wildlife, including charismatic lemurs, cryptic leaf-tailed geckos, neon-colored day geckos, brightly-hued poison frogs, and spiny hedgehog-like tenrecs. About 90 percent of Madagascar’s species are endemic — or unique — to the island.

Scientists say avoided deforestation may offer one of the cost-effective ways to reduce emissions while safeguarding biodiversity and critical services provided by healthy forests. Globally deforestation accounts for roughly 20 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Dell’s avoided deforestation project is managed by Conservation International. The 240,000-hectare area of forest is part of the Fandriana-Vondrozo Forest Corridor, which stretches along Madagascar’s eastern escarpment

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