Sharing HP’s knowledge and experience with government officials and regulators is an important role for business, as industry insights can contribute to effective policies. In an economy increasingly driven by technology, policies that promote innovation and reward companies for investing in research and development are essential.
HP’s public policy work complies with all applicable laws and our Standards of Business Conduct. HP’s board-level Public Policy Committee assists the HP Board of Directors in fulfilling its responsibilities related to public policy, government affairs, and global citizenship activities. (See Governance and management for more information.)
As a large, multinational company, HP is affected by numerous public policies in multiple ways. We aim to resolve any conflicts that may arise between these policies and our practices and promote effective regulations in partnership with governments and industries where we operate.
Policy priorities in 2010
Our public policy work focuses on the areas below. More detail on these and other issues is available in our global issue briefs.
HP’s continuing success relies on inventing products and services that help improve how people live and work. We promote public policies that support innovation, including:
- Intellectual property rights Innovation is central to our business. We hold approximately 37,000 patents worldwide and invested nearly $3 billion USD in R&D in 2010. Such innovation relies on fair and efficient intellectual property protection. However, many current patent and copyright systems hinder digital content distribution, and we support policy reform that provides for a fair balance between the interests of consumers, manufacturers, and intellectual property rights holders. For example, we strongly support implementation of changes to copyright levy schemes traditionally in effect in many European Union countries to conform to recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in October 2010 on the Padawan case. This provides that copyright levies must necessarily be calculated on the basis of harm caused only by legitimate private copying and prohibiting the indiscriminate application of copyright levies to digital devices acquired by business and professional users. See also our global policy issue brief on Copyright levies. HP has long supported reforms to curb abusive patent litigation and strengthen the patent system in the United States as well. Litigation costs associated with frivolous lawsuits adversely affect innovation. We will continue to work with policy makers to ensure the U.S. Patent and Trade Office is equipped with 21st century tools and resources to foster future innovation.
- Competitiveness HP supports public policies that enable fair global competition and sustainable economic growth, such as global corporate tax competitiveness, appropriate regulation, immigration reform, and R&D incentives. We support comprehensive corporate tax reform that would bring the U.S. system into harmony with the majority of OECD countries, leveling the playing field for HP with its global competitors.
- Market access Sixty-four percent of HP's sales were outside the United States in 2010. Open trade is vital for our plans to build sales globally—helping create jobs and expand access to the benefits our products and services bring. We support comprehensive and progressive bilateral and regional trade agreements that include commitments to liberalization and transparency in government procurement, services, and standards.
We work with policymakers and educators to create country-led programs that reduce inequality in education. Examples include:
- China In 2010, we worked with several Chinese universities to deliver a career skills program for graduate students, in order to help reduce youth unemployment. The program boosts basic workplace skills and helps students to understand the technology industry. Since the program began in 2008, more than 80% of its participants have found full-time employment, while most of the remaining students are continuing their studies. We are working with the Ministry of Education and relevant authorities in 20 cities to expand the program across China.
- United States HP supports legislation, such as Texas House Bill 4294, passed in 2009, which allows public schools to spend funds intended for textbooks on digital learning materials. Previously, schools that lacked additional funds were unable to provide more innovative and up-to-date materials. HP contributed to drafting the bill, formed a coalition to promote it, supported it through the legislative process, and informed school districts of its passage and benefits. This landmark legislation has served as a model for efforts in other U.S. states during 2010, including Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, and could give officials in those states much needed flexibility in obtaining digital learning materials from HP and other vendors.
Energy and environment
Concerns about climate change, resource depletion, and pollution are leading to new regulations, as well as new business opportunities. HP is committed to reducing its own environmental impact, as well as that of its customers and suppliers. Environmental legislation relevant to HP includes:
- Energy efficiency HP works to improve energy efficiency in our products and operations as this is the quickest and most cost-effective way to cut energy costs for customers and for HP. We also work with governments to help shape energy legislation. For example, in April 2010 we ran a panel discussion for regulators in Washington, DC, to promote the role of smart grids and advanced metering systems in reducing energy consumption and increasing use of renewable energy. Watch contributors from HP , EDF Energy , and Baltimore Gas and Electric speak at the event. (See Energy and climate – Enabling a low-carbon economy.)
- Climate change HP promotes the role IT can play in the transition to a low-carbon economy. We support government efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and regulations that foster innovation in this area, such as the California Global Warming Solutions Act. In 2010, we strongly opposed the unsuccessful ballot proposition 23, which sought to postpone the Global Warming Solutions Act until unemployment dropped to 5.5% or below, for four consecutive quarters. This would have impaired the state’s leadership in reducing GHG emissions.
- Electronics recycling Electronic equipment is frequently replaced, creating a growing surplus of unwanted items. We support the concept of individual producer responsibility (IPR), in which all manufacturers share with governments and customers the responsibility to manage IT products at the end of their useful lives. We run recycling programs in developed countries and increasingly in emerging markets, where we are helping to develop a blueprint for wider recycling initiatives. (See Product reuse and recycling – Programs for more details.)
Information technology (IT) has the potential to dramatically improve inefficient and costly healthcare administration systems. The U.S. system in particular needs fundamental reform to improve care, cost control, and overall effectiveness. The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010 has underlined this need. HP’s Medical Assistance Provider Incentive Repository (MAPIR) helps by linking state and federal systems for administering Medicaid and tracking payments to healthcare providers. In 2011, 15 states will be using the system to pay providers under “meaningful use” federal guidelines. In Wisconsin, HP worked with state Medicaid officials to develop and implement efficiencies in the state payment system we installed in 2009. The flexible new IT system enabled the state to change its benefits structure, saving millions of dollars.
HP contributed to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act , which President Obama signed into U.S. law in July 2010. This law requires publicly traded companies to disclose how they assure that products containing tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold do not finance armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). HP provided feedback on the draft legislation to promote a workable and effective solution. We also collaborated with several nongovernmental organizations and socially responsible investors to develop recommendations for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on how to enforce the new law. These recommendations aim to promote industry leadership on responsible sourcing and avoid a de facto ban of minerals from the DRC and adjoining countries. See Conflict minerals for more detail.
Memberships and coalitions
Industry associations provide a collective voice that can reach government officials more efficiently. We list the major associations we belong to worldwide on our Government Affairs website. In addition, we disclose the proportion of our membership fees that each trade association in the United States used for lobbying purposes in 2010.
We also participate in standards bodies and industry coalitions. For example, we continue collaborating to develop industry standards for energy efficiency, supply chain responsibility, and product carbon footprinting that will improve performance globally and support fair competition.
Employees can participate in public debate through the HP Government Affairs Network, which provides members with regular updates on policy issues important to HP. In the United States, we encourage members to express their views on pending legislation to elected officials.
In 2010, HP contributed $1,284,900 USD to state and local candidates, political memberships/sponsorships, and ballot measure campaigns in the United States. These contributions aligned with our policy positions and complied with HP’s political guidelines and applicable laws.
U.S. law prohibits corporate contributions to federal political candidates. However, eligible employees can make voluntary donations to the HP Political Action Committee (PAC) and legacy EDS PAC. These are separate legal entities from HP that contribute to bipartisan campaigns for U.S. congressional candidates who share our policy views. In 2010, the PACs contributed a combined $378,000 USD. HP does not make political contributions outside the United States.
See historical data in our data dashboard.
Learn more on our Government Affairs website:
- Policies for corporate and PAC political contributions
- Criteria and responsibilities for approving political contributions
- List of candidates receiving corporate or PAC contributions in 2010
- List of section 527 organizations1 receiving contributions from HP in 2010
- 1 The term “527 organization” refers to a U.S. political organization that is not regulated by the Federal Election Commission. These organizations are created under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.