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The Keys to Environmental Sustainability from HP

The Keys to Environmental Sustainability from HP

Dwight Pavlovic
There’s constant pressure on the natural world to accommodate the pace of human development, making environmental sustainability a more serious concern for everyone. That applies to individuals who may want to make small lifestyle changes, up to large organizations who can use their scale and influence to address the issue directly.
Among major corporations and tech producers, HP® has made extensive independent commitments to sustainability. From how the company makes its products to the range of services it offers to support them, HP® takes a variety of steps to systematically improve its impact. The company also promotes more efficient products, supports charitable undertakings, and makes financial commitments to sustainable development.

What does environmental sustainability look like in 2019?

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly convened for the World Summit on Social Development and helped formulate a more systematic approach sustainability philosophy. The meeting helped to clarify a three-section breakdown of how sustainability needs to involve governments and institutions. The three fields of sustainability effort they identified were environmental conservation, social responsibility, and economic development [1].
For most institutions, this environmental sustainability definition helps provide a better framework for conservation, social projects, and growth. With that in mind, it’s easier to set goals and measure progress over time. While sustainability efforts have much deeper roots than just the last 15 or 20 years, this meeting still helped shape much of how we all talk about the environment and managing human impact today.

1. Environmental conservation

This is the most all-encompassing feature on the breakdown of sustainability. Social responsibility and economic development all function within the larger world of our shared environment, making it a critical foundation for individuals and businesses. If plant and animal life can’t thrive at large in the world, the basis for commerce and civilization as we know it disappears. Respecting the earth is a necessary cornerstone for sustainable social and economic development.

2. Social responsibility

In the world of large organizations and institutions, social responsibility is the idea that everyone should be operating for the benefit of society at large. This has taken many forms over the decades and become an increasingly important touchstone for most businesses. Promoting social responsibility revolves around issues like securing fair and equal pay, building more equity into supply chains, and making deeper commitments to communities.
Social responsibility is fundamental when it comes to how we interact in the marketplace. It’s as much of a factor for small businesses that support a community softball team or volunteer efforts as it is for global corporations with international obligations and prominence. Ideally, each gives back in its own ways.

3. Economic development

Operating within both the larger realms of social responsibility and environmental conservation, economic development is also concerned with improving the well-being of individuals. Fair and equitable economic development is a critical part of improving the balance that underpins true sustainability.
In today’s world, this can mean empowering your partners throughout the manufacturing process and creating better work conditions. Economic development is the crux of many ventures, notably projects designed as incubators or accelerators for niche or regional talent.

Environmental sustainability from HP

How companies address environmental sustainability is more and more important, with increasing awareness prompting bigger efforts and more transparency overall. With a number of different programs and initiatives geared toward sustainability in general, HP® has already set a high bar for what a major corporation can do to improve.
Having a strong stake in these issues has never been more important or in more demand. While energy efficiency is a big priority across product lines and one that touches on many parts of the company, HP’s efforts have taken several forms. From the introduction to the company’s Sustainable Impact Report for 2018, CEO Dio Weisler wrote:

“At HP, we aspire to create a world without waste. From our supply chain, to our operations, to our technology and service offerings, we are transforming our entire business for a circular, low-carbon economy. We are reinventing how we design, deliver, and recover our products to enable our customers to drive growth while shrinking their carbon footprint. And we are disrupting the global manufacturing sector with 3D printing technology that’s making companies more competitive, productive, and sustainable.”

Let’s take a look at a few more environmental sustainability examples and projects like these that have been implemented by HP®.

Transparency when it comes to overall impact

In addition to publishing rigorous data on our overall environmental footprint, HP® maintains a set of stated emission targets to reach by 2025. For the last several years, the company has also offered total carbon emission numbers and a complete breakdown of where that impact originated.
The reports are exhaustive and cover everything from the supply chain and product usage, to smaller factors like operations and administration. You’ll also find data on water impact, which has another complete source breakdown. Elsewhere, you can check out information about other goals and progress, like the switch to renewable energy sources for company operations.

Maintaining a sustainable impact

Supply chain responsibility is another big focus, with tons of public labor data and information about mineral sourcing among other things. HP® has also fostered partnerships beyond the supply chain, with many projects focused on education. In line with setting clear goals and making measurable progress, HP® has committed to improve “learning outcomes for more than 100 million people between 2015-2025 [2].”
For example, the company has made numerous investments to support infrastructure and development projects for the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, where tens of thousands of refugees live after fleeing violence in their home countries. To help create a better tech ecology and promote connectivity, HP® partnered with Microsoft to open a new AppFactory in Dzaleka [3].

Wireless education support

HP School Cloud is another great example focused on education, with loads of potential applications in a variety of situations. In Uganda, HP® is collaborating with Education Cannot Wait, UNHCR, and Learning Equality to provide new opportunities.
Developed to support students and educators, HP School Cloud helps make resources for learning more accessible to students without a dedicated internet connection. Each HP School Cloud is essentially a wireless router and server that comes loaded with open source resources for both students and teachers.
The goal is to offer more freedom to those living as refugees or isolated in remote communities, as well as support for others without internet access in the developing world. You can watch a short video here for more background on the project.

Well-developed recycling and renewables infrastructure

Founded in 1987, HP Planet Partners is a long-standing initiative created to promote proper product recycling worldwide. Beginning in 2016, the program’s specific goal is to recycle at least 1.2 million metric tons of hardware and supplies by 2025. So far, 20% of that goal has been met with 271,400 tons recycled.
HP® is committed to greener energy sources as well, setting a goal of 100% renewables in 2016. Since then, HP broke their interim goal of 50% by 2020 a few years in advance, with a large part of operations now powered by renewables [4].

ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year

Founded by the Environmental Protection Agency to promote energy efficiency and better inform buyers about new tech products, ENERGY STAR® is an internationally respected benchmark for conservation and consumer protection. Their impact over the years is evident in the recognizability of the brand and in declining waste numbers, showing that ENERGY STAR has saved households and companies billions of dollars [5]. If you’re reading this on an energy-efficient device, chances are that it’s ENERGY STAR-certified.
Minimizing the footprint of new devices is a big priority at HP®, one that’s demonstrated by the large number of ENERGY STAR-certified products in the HP Store. In recognition of that, the company has been an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for many years, including 2019.

The HP Foundation

Underpinning some of the company’s charitable and community work, the HP Foundation promotes volunteer projects at the local level and tech-focused initiatives at varying scales.


For example, the HP LIFE (Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs) program provides resources for small businesses and start-ups by offering support courses and educational material.

HP Connection Spot

We also provide on-the-spot support for hard-hit communities using a mobile disaster relief truck known as the HP Connection Spot. It’s loaded with useful tech for emergency scenarios and provides an internet connection, PCs, and printers to whoever needs them.

HP Matter to a Million

Within the company, the HP Matter to a Million initiative has also facilitated thousands of micro-loans from HP employees via the Kiva platform to support small projects across 39 countries.

Balancing growth and sustainability

HP® has done more than most when it comes to being an environmentally sustainable company. We’ve engaged with a number of structural problems and offered a transparent approach. Plus, the company continues to make an impact on the environment and humans through supply chain initiatives, which is part of a long-term commitment to sustainability.
Promoting environmental science toward a sustainable future is a big part of HP’s operations across the board. To read more about the company’s efforts, check out the complete Sustainable Impact Report for 2018.
[1] United Nations; 2005 World Summit Outcome
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.

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