Taking Steps to Protect Our Planet on Earth Day and Beyond
On Monday, April 22, more than 1 billion people in more than 190 countries are expected to take part in Earth Day—a day dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and action. It is also a day for personal reflection. A day for each of us to take stock of what we can do to help reduce our own environmental footprint in 2019 and beyond.
It’s also a time for companies to embrace the role that they can play in creating a healthier planet. HP is one of those companies.
HP was founded 80 years ago by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard—two men committed to operating their business in a way that would have the least environmental impact. Today that commitment remains strong as we work to deliver on our mission of making life better for everyone, everywhere, while also making things better for the planet.
We’ve learned some valuable lessons on our sustainability journey, including the importance of sharing best practices. With that in mind, I’d like to share a few of those lessons.
Build an environmental strategy across your value chain
At HP, we are focused on growing our business, not our footprint—and supporting our customers to do the same. To accomplish this goal requires a holistic approach that touches on all aspects of our value chain—operations, supply chain, and products.
For example, within our operations, we’ve set goals to reduce energy, emissions, waste, and water usage and designed initiatives—such as our zero waste program—to help us reach those goals. Similarly, within our supply chain we are incenting suppliers to set science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets and are working with them to help reduce their environmental impact.
We continue to focus on delivering our most sustainable portfolio of products and services to help our customers achieve their own environmental goals. This includes designing products that use less natural resources, are more easily recycled, and consume less energy.
I’m pleased to share that we recently became the first company to have its desktops, notebooks, all-in-ones, workstations, and thin clients registered on the EPEAT 2019 Gold and Silver ecolabel registry, an important purchasing criteria for many customers. In addition, this month we were named an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Recognize you’re on an evolutionary journey
To truly make a sustainable impact requires a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, ongoing assessments of where you are, and building on past successes to push your company to even greater results. Nowhere is this more important than in setting environmental goals.
HP has a long legacy of transparency and leadership in setting goals, reporting on progress, and setting new goals once they’ve been achieved. That legacy includes being the first global IT company to set carbon reduction goals for all three parts of its value chain, as well as one of the first companies to have its GHG emission reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
Companies that show their commitment to ongoing improvements can set themselves apart. For example, in 2016, we set a goal to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity usage in our global operations, with an interim goal of 40 percent by 2020. Having achieved this interim goal in 2017, today we are announcing a new goal to reach 60 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.
Similarly, after meeting our goal early of reducing our global Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 25 percent by 2025 compared to 2015, we have now reset our goal to 60 percent by 2025, compared to 2015.
Create programs that tackle more than one global challenge
When choosing the type of initiatives to undertake, many companies—particularly those that are just starting on their environmental journey—choose smaller “point solutions” that focus on a single environmental problem. By creating programs that look beyond just an environmental challenge, companies can create an even greater impact.
HP’s efforts to help address the growing problem of ocean plastics is a great example.
In 2016, we began partnering with the First Mile Coalition to turn plastic bottles collected in Haiti into recycled plastic that would be used to produce Original HP ink cartridges. But the program was about more than just helping clean up Haiti, it was also about addressing the social issues associated with plastic pollution.
Today, about 716,000 pounds of plastic materials collected in Haiti—that’s more than 25 million bottles—are making it into ink cartridges and not the ocean. At the same time, HP and our partners have created more than 795 income opportunities for adults in the country and provided 100 children with educational opportunities, food, and medical care.
And we are extending our investments in Haiti to improve living and working conditions. We are making a $2 million investment to add a new plastic bottle washing line into our ocean-bound plastic supply chain that will create more than 1,000 new income opportunities in the island nation and eliminate the need to ship bottles elsewhere for processing. And along with our partner, Work, a Haiti-based NGO, we have built two learning centers that are being equipped with HP laptops and printers, empowering children to receive a quality education while their parents work nearby at collection sites.
Sustainability: The new workplace standard
We know from published studies that consumers make decisions about the companies they want to work for and purchase products from based on a company’s environmental efforts. In fact, HP just released results of a new survey showing that 61 percent of office workers agree that sustainability is no longer a nice to have for companies—it’s a need to have. The survey also revealed that 58 percent of respondents believed that sustainability is key to engaging the workforce of the future.
Companies that implement sustainable business practices and programs enabling a circular economy can have a positive impact both inside and outside the office.
By harnessing the passion of your employees—whether through their own work, programs that support your business strategy, or support of community activities—you can build a stronger bond with your employees and improve business results.
For example, in March, we announced our internal #ReinventReuse campaign which asks employees to pledge to use reusable bottles rather than one-use plastic bottles in support of our corporate-wide zero waste program. In addition, hundreds of employees around the world will volunteer for our Global Shoreline Cleanup events this year to help beautify local beaches, parks, and other community areas—and help keep plastics and other debris from entering our oceans.
At HP, we know that what’s good for the environment is good for business and society. Earth Day is an opportunity to celebrate this big blue marble we call home, take stock of our individual and company impacts and efforts to improve, and envision the world we want for ourselves and future generations.