Women in Leadership: Frances Edmonds on the End of the ‘Take, Make and Dispose’ Economy

How one 'eco babe' helped HP close the waste loop years before other companies were thinking about it by Sheima Benembarek
Apr 17, 2019 3:00 PM ET

You can’t really miss Frances Edmonds in Canadian corporate sustainability settings. The head of sustainable impact at HP Canada is rather tall and dons a stern confident look, a signature angular platinum bob, and a lilting British accent. She also happens to be one of the industry’s pioneering environment champions.

“Hard to believe that it’s been 20 years. If you had told me that when I’d joined HP I wouldn’t have believed it,” Edmonds muses.

In her two decades with the company, she’s helped shift the printer-and computer-making IT giant away from the old ‘take, make and dispose’ model towards a more circular one before many other companies put an emphasis on closing the loop on waste.

In a world where sustainability departments have often been staffed with marketers and communications experts, Edmonds has always brought a deeper vantage point to the table, thanks, in part, to her roots in environmental science. In her early days of working as a scientist testing water quality for a local UK water authority, Edmonds witnessed firsthand how industrial discharges were polluting natural ecosystems. It sparked an early desire to be part of the solution.

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