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hp-low-carbon-initiatives-and-their-impact-on-the-environment 161860804492685.jpg

HP Low Carbon Initiatives and Their Impact on the Environment

Jolene Dobbin
Responsibility to care for our planet rests squarely on the shoulders of its inhabitants, including its corporate citizens. As a company, HP leads the way in protecting our planet for future generations. We were the first IT company to set science-based targets across our value chain aligned to the goals of the Paris climate accord.
HP recognizes the imperative to minimize the technology industry’s environmental footprint, and embraces the opportunity to position itself as a business and technology leader enabling a low-carbon economy.
In 2007, HP was the first IT company to publish GHG emissions associated with product
manufacturing. And in 2013, we were the first to set a supply chain GHG emissions intensity
reduction goal, as well as the first to publish our complete carbon footprint.
As part of our HP environmental policy, the company is committed to continuing to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our value chain. Let’s learn more about HP’s low carbon initiatives, and how you can be a part of this Earth-friendly initiative.

What is a low carbon footprint?

To define what a low carbon footprint is, we’ll begin with a definition of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
These are emissions that, when released, rise into Earth’s upper atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. These gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide, ozone, and methane. They’re generated from burning fossil fuels, manufacturing and consuming material goods, agricultural activities, and more.
A carbon footprint is the total amount of GHG emissions produced by any one person, product, or company. It uses the metric measurement of CO2e – which stands for the carbon dioxide equivalent – so that it more accurately reflects all greenhouse gases, not just CO2.

A history of sustainability

HP has been committed to environmental stewardship and corporate citizenship since its founding. In 1957, global citizenship was included in the company’s first written set of corporate objectives as the “HP Way.” In 1972, HP adopted a manufacturing policy to protect the environment.


You’re probably familiar with the postage-paid, return-addressed envelopes included with your HP printer cartridges. What you might not know is that this initiative is, in fact, nearly 30 years old. In 1991, HP launched the HP Planet Partners return and recycling program to enable simple and convenient recycling of Original HP InkJet and LaserJet supplies, any brand of computer hardware, and rechargeable batteries.
HP properly recycles the returned products and processes them to recover valuable plastics and metals for new products – saving millions of tons of waste from entering landfills. The program is now available in 76 countries worldwide, and as of October 2020 has recycled over 875 million HP ink and toner cartridges.

HP sustainability initiatives

HP is applying rigorous sustainable design principles to help compel progress toward reducing carbon emissions, supporting a circular economy, and protecting and restoring forests.


The energy consumed by HP products during use is one of the largest contributors to our carbon and water footprints. To help our customers reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions, HP designs products for energy efficiency and offers convenient, more sustainable service-based solutions. We also use multiple metrics to assess progress and impel improvement.


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines the circular economy as one that is restorative and regenerative by design. It’s based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.

Reducing GHG emissions and improving performance

HP has adopted a “full circle” approach to our products and services, in which service-based solutions deliver better value to customers with reduced environmental impact and capital costs.
HP’s service offerings include regular maintenance, which keeps hardware products in use for longer and reduces waste. Decreasing individual product shipments and customer store visits also reduce GHG emissions. At end of service, HP recaptures value from materials through a range of product repair, reuse, and recycling options.
During 2019, HP conducted three life cycle assessments (LCAs) to quantify the environmental benefits of circular business solutions compared to transactional product purchases. These studies demonstrated that each solution improved performance compared to transactional sales in all LCA impact categories.


Forests help mitigate GHG emissions by absorbing CO2 and other gases. Today, nearly 50% of them are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation, and according to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) the planet is losing 18.7 million acres of forests yearly: the equivalent of 27 soccer fields per minute.
n 2016, HP set a goal to eliminate deforestation from its paper and paper-based packaging supply chain. In 2019, the company maintained zero deforestation associated with HP brand paper, and continues to work to achieve zero deforestation associated with HP paper-based product packaging by the end of 2020.
Through the HP Sustainable Forests Collaborative, HP is working to protect, restore, and manage more than 200,000 acres of forests in Brazil and China.

Reducing GHG emissions across the value chain

The three major areas across the value chain in which HP is lowering GHG emissions include operations, supply chain, and products.


HP has committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity usage in its global operations by 2035, with an interim goal of 60% by 2025. As of 2019, we achieved 100% in the U.S. and 43% globally.


HP relies on one of the IT industry’s largest and most complex supply chains, comprised of hundreds of production suppliers and thousands of non-production suppliers.


Through our supply chain responsibility program, HP engages with suppliers through social and environmental assessments and audits to ensure that they are part of an ethical, sustainable, and resilient supply chain. HP considers these suppliers to be our partners in our sustainability initiatives.


In 2019, there was a 53% increase in participation in HP’s supply chain sustainability programs, compared to 2015. HP’s Energy Efficiency Program helps our suppliers improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions. Since 2010, supplier sites in China and Southeast Asia have saved more than 847 million kWh of electricity, prevented 1.26 million tonnes of CO2e emissions, and saved roughly $109 million.


HP develops products and services that have lower GHG emissions through research and development (R&D), design for sustainability, and innovations that advance progress toward a circular economy.


Through the end of 2019, HP achieved an 18% decrease in product use GHG emissions. Our goal is to reduce those emissions 30% by 2025, compared to 2015. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) approved this product use GHG emissions reduction goal as being in line with its latest Scope 3 criteria, meaning that all GHG emissions reduction goals across the HP value chain have been SBTi-validated.


In 2020, HP published the first-of-its-kind Sustainability Buyer’s Guide on shopping for HP products in the United States. This guide is designed to help customers choose from the most sustainable products. ENERGY STAR® designations are highlighted under each applicable product to help customers understand its importance when considering products.

A spotlight on the portfolio

Here are just a few standout products across the portfolio that are designed to take meaningful action toward HP’s vision for a low carbon future and sustainability.


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Made with more than 30% closed-loop recycled plastic, the HP Tango Terra smart home printer is the world’s most sustainable home printing system. It’s also HP’s first printer with zero plastic packaging. The new paper pack reduces weight and CO2e emissions associated with materials; it also includes 40% recycled content and is 100% curbside recyclable.


The HP Tango Terra is the first HP product that is certified as carbon neutral, according to The CarbonNeutral Protocol, by providing financing to support the conservation of an area of the Amazon rainforest in Peru. HP has ensured that the entire life cycle of HP Tango Terra is carbon neutral from raw material extraction and processing, printer manufacturing and transportation to printing including electricity, paper, and cartridge use. It’s also ENERGY STAR certified and EPEAT Gold registered.


HP Instant Ink helps home users and micro businesses remain productive by ensuring that they never run out of ink. The service anticipates when your printer’s ink is running low and sends replenishments along with recycling envelopes directly to you. HP Instant Ink decreases the carbon footprint of ink purchase and distribution by 73%, energy use by 69%, and water use by 70% compared to traditional cartridge purchases.


HP Managed Print Services (MPS) helps customers manage and optimize their printers and digital workflows by combining hardware, supplies, software, and consulting and management services. By servicing and maintaining printer fleets, and refurbishing and redeploying units, HP helps customers keep printing equipment in use longer. HP MPS reduces GHG emissions by 12%, improves resource efficiency by 13%, and decreases ecosystem impacts by 12% for a multifunction color laser printer.

Most sustainable PC portfolio

HP has the world’s most sustainable PC portfolio based on EPEAT criteria, which independently verifies manufacturers’ products for sustainability, product energy efficiency, recycled materials usage, and more.


The world's first notebook created with ocean-bound plastics, this ultralight premium PC weighs less than 1 kilogram. Its speaker enclosure component is made with 50% post-consumer recycled content plastic, including 5% ocean-bound plastic, and the outer box packaging is 100 percent sustainably sourced. It’s also ENERGY STAR certified and EPEAT 2019 Gold in the U.S.


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The HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise laptop is the world’s first Chromebook made with ocean-bound plastic. It features 75% recycled aluminum in its top lid, and a keyboard made from 50% recycled plastics.


Both the HP EliteBook 840 and HP EliteDesk 800 SFF reduce annual energy consumption by 47% and 40%, respectively.


The HP ZBook Studio mobile workstation is the world’s first mobile workstation made with ocean-bound plastics, and has a highly recyclable and lightweight aluminum exterior.


The industrial and commercial printing portfolio of the HP Indigo Digital Press is designed with the environment in mind. These printers are manufactured as carbon-neutral and include sustainability innovations. In 2016, an HP-funded third-party LCA determined that printing a flexible package on the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press produced 80% less GHG emissions than the rotogravure analog print process.

Recognized for sustainability

HP has been recognized as one of the world’s most sustainable companies. Some of its more noteworthy awards include:

Looking to the future

Mitigating the effects of GHG emissions to address climate change is an ongoing societal imperative for all people and businesses across cultures and geographies. HP is continuing to set and achieve both short-term and long-term goals to reach a low carbon footprint. Some of our 2025 climate targets are:
  • 55% reduction in operational emissions compared to 2016 levels
  • 30x increase in energy performance of products from 2015
  • 15% reduction in manufacturing-related GHG emissions in the supply chain from 2016 levels
Join us in our commitment to reduce emissions and protect our Earth’s resources.

About the Author

Jolene Dobbin is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Jolene is an East Coast-based writer with experience creating strategic messaging, marketing, and sales content for companies in the high-tech industry.

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