Globally, product transport accounts for about 8% of energy-related carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions and the absolute amount is expected to grow over the next two decades.1 We estimate the emissions from transporting more than a million HP products on a typical day are almost as much as those from our own operations (see Performance below) and we are committed to reducing this impact.

Most of our product transport emissions are from international airfreight, while roughly 25% are from road transport and parcel freight. Although we use ocean transport extensively, it is the least carbon-intensive mode (see table below), and we estimate it produces about 10% of our total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from logistics.

We are working to reduce fuel use and emissions relating to transport in the following four ways:

Influencing logistics providers

HP utilizes best-in-class logistics service providers (LSP) to transport our products. These LSPs maintain their own programs and initiatives to help reduce their environmental impact as well as that of HP.

Our requirements for LSPs include environmental criteria such as calculating GHG emissions specific to HP's freight and developing proposals to help HP reduce emissions. We have also introduced environmental guidelines for HP warehouses,which encourage the use of zero-emission material-handling equipment, energy-efficient lighting, and no-idling policies for trucks entering and unloading at the warehouses.

In the United States and Canada, all HP products are shipped using a network composed entirely of surface transportation carriers certified by SmartWay SM , a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. surface freight industry that targets reductions in fuel consumption, GHG, and other air emissions.

Changing transport modes

Most of our computer and imaging products are assembled in Asia and transported to Europe, the Americas, and within the Asia Pacific region for sale. We typically ship these products by ocean or air to regional distribution centers, and then by truck or rail to their final destinations. We are continuing to convert some shipments from air to ocean, which reduces costs and GHG emissions because ocean shipment emissions per tonne of product are only about 1/60th of those from aircraft.2 For example, in 2010, air to ocean conversions included notebook shipments from Asia Pacific to Europe, Latin America, and the United States, and 70% of HP Visual Collaboration products from Puerto Rico to all destinations worldwide (see more detail below). We also conducted a trial using the Trans-Siberian Railway for notebook shipments from China to Germany and the Netherlands.

Optimizing distribution networks

Optimizing distribution networks decreases the distance products need to travel and therefore reduces fuel use and GHG emissions. This is one of four main aspects of a global supply chain optimization initiative started in 2010, designed to enhance, simplify, and standardize our supply chain systems and processes. We expect to decrease environmental impacts by consolidating shipments, optimizing routes, and making other improvements across our transportation supply chain. We will track and communicate related GHG emissions reductions throughout the process.

Better utilizing pallets and containers

We save fuel in transport by increasingly using plastic pallets which are more than 70% lighter than wooden ones, reducing GHG emissions per product transported. After use, our pallet vendor reclaims the pallets from customers and reuses them if possible or sells the plastic to recyclers. The recapture rate is more than 90% for our Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, and more than 70% for the Americas.

In addition to improving pallet utilization, we continue to review and optimize the packaging of each individual product. This has yielded significant density improvements, allowing us to fit more products into the standard pallet cube volume and decreasing containers required for the same number of products.

We have also implemented the next generation of airfreight handling technology for notebook air shipments from Asia to Europe. A process called clamp loading uses special forklifts to load notebooks on a single lightweight, low-cost foam pallet that is recycled by our freight forwarders. This allows us to stack shrink-wrapped notebooks on top of each other, avoiding the use of additional plastic pallets in between the products and enabling us to build loads to better fit specific airline configurations. Overall, we estimate this enables us to fit 11% more cargo on an airplane.


Transitioning from a wood crate to a cardboard crate saves more than 20 kilograms per crate. About 14 crates are included with each system.


Replacing one layer of a typical wooden pallet with doughnut cushions saves about 30 kilograms per crate.


In 2010, GHG emissions related to transporting our products equaled an estimated 1.9 million tonnes CO2e. This is roughly comparable to GHG emissions from our own operations. Last year, estimated GHG emissions from product transport equaled 1.7 million tonnes CO2e. This increase is due primarily to business growth, partially offset by specific projects in 2010 (including those described above), which reduced GHG emissions by more than 57,000 tonnes CO2e. We have continued to enhance the GHG emissions calculation process through collaboration with our LSPs, which may have also contributed to the 2010 increase.

GHG emissions from product transport, 2010 [% by mode]4

GHG emissions (approximate, CO2e)
Shipment mix by weight/distance (approximate, kg/km)
Road (includes rail)
  1. 1 The Potential of Economic Incentives to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Goods Transport 1st International Transport Forum, Leipzig, 2008, Professor Alan McKinnon, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.
  2. 2 According to the World Resources Institute GHG Protocol.
  3. 3 According to , air-dampened "doughnut" cushions provide maximum protection against shock and vibration with minimum size and weight—taking the place of wood skid runners.
  4. 4 Does not include data from all recent HP acquisitions.