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HP Sustainable Impact: How More Sustainable Choices Can Help the Earth

HP Sustainable Impact: How More Sustainable Choices Can Help the Earth

Sima Thakkar
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As we enter the decisive decade for climate action, widespread concern over the world’s non-renewable resources is increasing. This means now is the perfect time to audit your own carbon footprint. Join us as we take a deep dive into making more sustainable purchasing decisions with companies like HP. You can get the tech solutions to help you work and play, while leaving a lighter environmental footprint.

A pandemic-fueled pause

With fewer planes taking off, fewer cars on the road, and remote work becoming the primary way of life for many non-essential workers worldwide, our planet’s everyday hustle and bustle has slowed, reducing our collective carbon emissions. The Earth has taken a deep breath.
The upside of the disruption over the last year or so? This pause gives us a unique opportunity to review our individual consumption and find ways to partner with companies who share our vision to live and work more sustainably.

HP’s culture of sustainability

HP began recycling in the company’s earliest days. For example, we were recycling punch cards in 1966 and had an established hardware recycling program by 1987. In order to broaden the company culture of sustainability, HP formed HP Planet Partners in 1991, allowing us to focus the resources needed to make an impact on waste reduction.
Over the course of the past 30+ years, this initiative has resulted in 2.3 billion pounds of products that have been either reused or recycled. Originating in the U.S., the HP Planet Partners product return and recycling program has expanded to 76 countries and territories across the globe.
The program also includes refurbishing technology hardware in an effort to extend the generational life cycle of each piece of technology that we produce.

HP Sustainable Impact goals

HP has carefully mapped out specific sustainable impact goals divided into three pillars: Planet, People, and Community. Each year we track and report progress against these goals in our annual Sustainable Impact Report.
Our goals are formed with an ecosystem in mind, prioritizing not only environmental protection and restoration, but also striving to protect and empower the people and communities where we live, work and do business.
Each HP Sustainable Impact goal is carefully constructed with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind. The UN SDGs are 17 goals endorsed by the United Nations to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.” The goals were intentionally laid out to help organizations like HP work in synchronicity to create a more sustainable future for all.
HP’s Planet, People, and Community goals encompass 11 of the 17 UN SDGs. These include:
  1. Quality Education (UN SDG goal 4)
  2. Gender Equality (UN SDG goal 5)
  3. Affordable and Clean Energy (UN SDG goal 7)
  4. Decent Work and Economic Growth (UN SDG goal 8)
  5. Reduced Inequalities (UN SDG goal 10)
  6. Responsible Consumption and Production (UN SDG goal 12)
  7. Climate Action (UN SDG goal 13)
  8. Life Below Water (UN SDG goal 14)
  9. Life on Land (UN SDG goal 15)
  10. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institution (UN SDG goal 16)
  11. Partnerships for the Goal (UN SDG goal 17)
If you want to know more about the ambitious and deliberate goals set by HP Planet Partners, you can see our full list and progress made to date in the 2019 Sustainable Impact Report. Keep an eye out for the 2020 report, too, which will be out in June 2021.

Planet goals

HP has many goals and initiatives as part of our Planet pillar that relate to our Products and Services, Supply Chain, and Operations.
  1. Single-use plastics are causing severe and rapid detriment to our Earth’s ecosystem. HP aims to eliminate 75% of single-plastic packaging by 2025, compared to 2018.
  2. Recycling and refurbishing technology is a fundamental part of HP Planet Partners. Through 2019, 528,300 tons of hardware and supplies have been recycled. HP Planet Partners will continue to strengthen our recycling and refurbishing programs and have set a goal to recycle 1.2 million tons of hardware and supplies by 2025.
  3. We committed to a reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions from global operations by 60% by 2025, compared to 2015. This will be accomplished through efficiency projects, renewable energy purchases, and site consolidation.
  4. We have achieved zero deforestation for HP brand paper since 2016, as well as for over 80% of our paper-based packaging as of 2019.

How HP is tackling ocean-bound plastics

An organization called First Mile approached HP in 2016 about using plastic from Haiti to build their products. Haiti suffers from a harrowing plastic problem and lacks a functional sanitation system to address it.

Supply chain monitoring

From the moment a plastic bottle is collected to when the recycled plastic is delivered to customers, First Mile carefully monitors the supply chain, ensuring accountability for both the quality of the product and the impact it has on the community.
Since then, HP has sourced over 1.6 million pounds of plastic bottles to manufacture new HP ink cartridges and hardware, in addition to generating employment opportunities and a new income stream for locals. That’s more than 60 million bottles diverted from reaching waterways and oceans.

Ocean-bound plastics in HP products

HP released the first Original HP ink cartridge with plastic from Haiti in 2017. Building upon these initiatives, in 2019 HP launched the world’s first display manufactured with ocean-bound plastic, the HP EliteDisplay E273d.
Next came the world’s first notebook made using ocean-bound plastic, the HP Elite Dragonfly. We have since released a portfolio of HP desktop computers, HP notebooks and HP Chromebooks, and even large-format printers containing ocean-bound plastic material.
Deepening our investment in the recycling infrastructure in Haiti, HP installed a new $2M washing line enabling higher quality plastic recycling and creating an additional 1,100 income opportunities in this island nation.

People goals

At HP, our goal is to empower the people who are part of the HP productions ecosystem not only at their workplace, but also at home and in their communities. These are two of the People goals set by HP.
  1. HP set a goal to develop the skills and improve the well-being of 500,000 factory workers beginning in 2015 with a target date of 2025. With 266,400 workers trained through 2019, HP is to 53% of our goal.
  2. HP has developed a training program that requires a 99% completion rate of annual Integrity at HP (formerly Standards of Business Conduct) by employees and the Board of Directors. While integrity is a critical component of a balanced workplace, it can be hard to measure. The required training reviews key policies, procedures, and high-risk issues that employees might face. It also discusses anti-corruption, conflicts of interest, accurate business records, and anti-retaliation.
Other People goals set by HP contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals are focused on:
  • Climate Action (SDG Goal 13)
  • Life on Land (SDG Goal 15)

Community goals

Technology is a powerful tool that vastly improves accessibility in local communities. HP is dedicated to providing educational and economic opportunities in the local communities. Here are some of the Community goals.
  • HP believes education is a fundamental human right, and technology can be a great equalizer. HP has committed to enabling better learning outcomes for 100 million people between 2015 and 2025. Through 2019, more than 28 million students and adults have benefitted.
  • HP employees have four hours of paid volunteer time each month. In 2019, this resulted in 8,850 employees contributing about 145,000 hours to local volunteer efforts in 51 countries, with a value of $5.43 million. HP aims to contribute 1.5 million employee volunteering hours by 2025 (cumulative since the beginning of 2016).
Other Community goals set by HP Planet Partners contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals that are focused on:
  • Quality Education (UN SDG Goal 4)
  • Gender Equality (UN SDG Goal 5)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (UN SDG Goal 8)
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities (UN SDG Goal 11)
  • Partnerships for the Goal (UN SDG Goal 17)
For more details, please visit our 2019 Sustainable Impact Report.

How you can participate in HP’s recycling efforts

Consumers play a critical part in improving recycling, as well. Whether it’s recycling old ink cartridges or purchasing a product containing recycled hardware, supplies, or ocean-bound plastic, there are several ways to support a more sustainable future.

1. Find a local HP recycling center

Several retailers allow you to drop off your empty printer toner cartridges, including Staples, Office Depot, and Best Buy. Check the HP Planet Partners website to find your country and region for a list of items you can recycle along with the closest drop off location.

2. Review HP’s recycling resources

Click here to see a comprehensive list that provides full transparency into HP’s vendor list, with additional resources such as product disassembly instructions and HP’s hardware recycling standard.

3. Consider purchasing from HP’s suite of products containing recycled content

Ranging from high energy efficiency products to hardware using recycled plastics, HP offers an entire portfolio of products including laptops, printers, and several other products with low environmental impact.

Conclusion

The past year has exposed how the daily habits of both individuals and corporations contribute to the health of our planet. And while we hope to get back to our normal routines soon, we can still work together towards a more equitable and sustainable planet. For HP, that will always remain at the forefront of product and program innovations.
About the author: Sima Thakkar is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Sima is a writer based out of California, whose work has appeared on TechSoup and other NGOs worldwide.

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