Eliminating abuse of human rights remains a significant challenge for society. HP is pleased to see leading businesses and governments converge towards acceptance of the UN Special Representative's Guiding Principles. In April 2010, Professor John Ruggie published the follow-up to his seminal 2008 report, Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights . The new report,Further steps toward the operationalization of the protect, respect and remedy framework , focuses on implementation of the framework, which as a work in progress HP generally supports. The report references HP's work in strengthening worker-management communications with two suppliers in China.
HP has a long history of commitment to respecting human rights wherever we operate, and believes it is our corporate responsibility to use our size and influence to promote human rights in the business community. We apply this commitment across our value chain, including our own operations and supply chain. Our formal commitments are outlined in HP's Human Rights and Labor Policy.
Fostering respect for human rights globally
HP's founding role and subsequent support for the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR) led to the development of tools and policy views aimed to reduce the number of human rights abuses by corporations. HP was one of eight leading multinationals invited to found and steer the successor to BLIHR, the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI). Through GBI, we support the work of John Ruggie by raising awareness of and advancing the human rights agenda within the business community. We are also developing local business networks of support for human rights around the world. HP uses the Ruggie Framework as the basis for our own work. Like others, we see the need for additional guidance, and are looking to GBI as a forum for tackling difficult issues together, such as how to source responsibly from conflict zones.
As a member of the GBI steering committee, we are charged with demonstrating leadership and contributing to the development of practical approaches by testing emerging best practice in our operations and supply chain. We are committed to engaging our stakeholders and other leading companies to tackle difficult human rights issues through collaborative working groups and pilot projects.
Understanding our impacts through due diligence
HP has a longstanding policy to respect human rights wherever we operate. In 2010, our Global Citizenship Council conducted a comprehensive policy assessment that drew on inputs from a range of stakeholders, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), industry groups, thought leaders, and HP management teams. With the help of leading experts from the Danish Institute on Human Rights (DIHR), we compared more than 70 of our internal and external policies against some 200 clauses from international human rights standards. With the support of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), we assessed the most material industry-specific impacts throughout our value chain.
Following the assessment, HP's senior leaders received an objective analysis of our strengths and opportunities for improvement. The recommendations encouraged HP to build on its traditional strengths in human rights by continuing to raise the bar in our policies and across our operations. Focal areas for further assessment include:
- Labor and employment, especially in our supply chain
- Conflict minerals
- Privacy and data protection
- Diversity and discrimination
- Freedom of expression
- Customer use of products and services
Our analysis also pointed to the benefits of more collaboration between HP, other leading businesses, and governments to fully understand the perspectives of our stakeholders.
We have shown leadership in tackling the human rights issues most relevant to HP where the electronics industry risks are high. However, each human right is independently important and we regularly encounter new challenges to protecting human rights. We will continue to conduct due diligence by assessing our risks, policies, and impacts to ensure we are positioned to address new challenges as they arise.
We are revising HP's Human Rights and Labor Policy to reflect our heightened understanding of international human rights laws and impacts to vulnerable groups where HP operates. We will continue to provide access to grievance mechanisms so that our stakeholders may raise concerns directly and confidentially. In cases where we identify human rights issues, we are committed to collaborating with stakeholders to remedy those situations through continual improvement and, as a last resort for severe abuses, by ending business relationships.
Summarized below are the areas where human rights considerations most directly impact our practices, with links to other sections in this report for additional information.
Our values and Standards of Business Conduct (SBC) require integrity and ethical behavior. HP's Human Rights and Labor Policy commits us to the fair treatment of all employees wherever we operate. We generally align with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); in particular, we respect employees' rights to organize in labor unions in accordance with local laws and established practice. Our diversity policies require that every employee is treated and treats others with dignity and respect. We do not under any circumstances tolerate discrimination or harassment. Our clear commitment to promoting human rights, as well as leadership in other global citizenship areas, is vital to retaining and recruiting employees.
HP provides several grievance mechanisms for our employees to raise concerns about potential misconduct. Our Open Door Policy enables employees to talk to their manager or more senior levels of management if ethics issues arise. Employees can also seek advice from internal ethics and compliance experts or regional or business ethics and compliance liaisons.
When potential violations of law, company policy, or the SBC do occur, we provide formal, confidential communication channels through which employees and third parties can report. These include postal mail, email, and a global 24-hour, toll-free hotline with translators available. This line is also accessible to external parties via our website, partner, and supplier portals. Where allowed by law, reporting can be anonymous.
See how to ask a question or report a concern.
For more information, see HP employees.
Our supply chain
Our Supply Chain Code of Conduct is underpinned by international labor and human rights standards. As our customer base and supply chain have become more global, we have encountered new challenges in ensuring that the rights of workers who manufacture our products and the communities in which are suppliers operate are respected. We aim to encourage high standards wherever we have influence and to promote the principles of the United Nations UDHR. Our supply chain social and environmental responsibility (SER) program reaches beyond our first-tier suppliers to second- and third-tier firms and beyond. However, the multi-tiered nature of the electronics industry supply chain creates challenges of visibility, transparency, and validation of standards. For example, HP is working to establish procedures for eliminating conflict minerals originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo from our products.
HP's supply chain SER program has been instrumental in raising awareness of human rights among the management and workers in our supply chain since its launch in 2000. The program encompasses supplier self-assessments, rigorous audits by HP and third parties, support for suppliers to improve their capability to identify human rights issues, and requirements for suppliers to take corrective actions in any cases where serious infringements are identified. For details of our supply chain SER program and specific audit findings, see Supply chain responsibility.
On January 1, 2012, a new law will come into effect in California, designed to increase transparency for consumers and allow them to make better, more informed choices. The new law will motivate businesses to ensure human rights are respected throughout their supply chains. Since the start of HP's supply chain SER program, we have undertaken efforts to ensure and verify the absence of forced labor and child labor in our supply chain. Learn more about the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010.
Education, health, and community involvement
Our long-term commitment to social innovation and community involvement is focused on improving access to information technology (IT) around the world. Our programs and partnerships underpin our commitment to advancing the human right to healthcare (UDHR Article 25) and the right to education (Article 26). Our HP Volunteer Policy encourages and provides people the opportunity to participate in the cultural life and development of their community through volunteerism (Article 27).
We combine the enabling power of technology with our employees' skills to boost education around the world. HP partners with leading educational organizations to foster the future innovators and socially minded entrepreneurs who will be instrumental in transforming society around the world.
HP also provides its technology and innovative solutions expertise to improve healthcare systems for underserved communities in the developed and developing world. We are partnering with health experts, governments, and aid organizations to make a tangible difference saving and improving lives.
Our support of organizations worldwide is made through a combination of cash, technology, and skilled employee volunteerism.
See Social innovation for more information.
Privacy is a fundamental right of prime importance to our employees and customers.
People rely on information technology in many aspects of their daily lives. Organizations use sophisticated systems to collect, aggregate, and analyze personal information, enabling them to provide consumers with personalized products and services. With the proliferation of cloud computing, data can now be available 24/7 from virtually anywhere in the world. New technologies are collecting, using, and processing data in new, innovative ways; much of this occurs behind the scenes without the user's full awareness or understanding.
While these trends make products and services more personalized, convenient, efficient, and widely available, the ubiquitous collection and use of personal data also sparks concerns. Many consumers question whether social networking, profiling, location-aware services, and behavioral observation and targeting threaten their privacy. People also worry that authorities in some regions can access, analyze, and control citizens' personal information too easily—at times infringing on their right to privacy and freedom of expression.
We continue to develop and embed our accountability approach to privacy, to implement the concept of Privacy by Design in our products and services, and to consider the social impact our decisions may have.
See Privacy for details of our approaches and activities.