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  • Writer's pictureCarolina MIlanesi

HPs' Mission: Becoming More Sustainable And Just

In its recently published 2022 Sustainable Impact Report, HP restated its commitment to becoming a more sustainable and just company. HP has always been a company that strives for excellence in innovation, and social responsibility because it believes that combining its technology expertise and values can make a positive difference in the world. Contrary to those who skeptically question the value of a robust Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) strategy, HP astutely recognizes that its enduring triumph hinges upon the well-being of its talented workforce and the communities it profoundly influences.

Because of this core belief, sustainable impact is not a separate initiative at HP but an integral part of how the company operates. It influences everything from product design, manufacturing and distribution, services and solutions that adapt to customer needs, and the company's investments in human potential. 

Over the past year, it has become clearer that a sustainable approach to business is the right thing to do for the planet and the right thing to do for a company's bottom line. In 2022, Corporate Knights recognized that over 60% of HP's revenue met their standard for sustainable revenue, showing that customers increasingly prefer products and services that reduce environmental impact and help them achieve their sustainability goals. 

James McCall, the Chief Sustainability Officer at HP, passionately emphasizes the need for immediate and impactful action in addressing climate change. While the aspirational 2040 net zero goal is commendable, HP recognizes the pressing urgency of the climate crisis and its far-reaching consequences for communities worldwide. That is precisely why the company has committed to slashing its absolute value chain emissions by a 50% by 2030. HP's commitment to circularity is equally resolute, with a bold pledge that 75% of its products and packaging will be sourced from circular resources by 2030.

The company's tireless efforts in recycling have yielded remarkable results, exemplified by the recovery of over 1 billion cartridges, reclaiming more than 90% of the raw materials within these inkjet cartridges. These materials are then reincorporated into new cartridges or provided to other industries to fuel the creation of innovative products. McCall emphatically asserts the necessity of embracing a more circular economy, particularly in a world grappling with resource constraints.

Moreover, HP is resolute in its mission to combat deforestation. Whether it is its own HP paper, which is already responsibly sourced and third-party certified at 100%, or paper utilized by their customers in HP printers, the company strives to counteract deforestation comprehensively. By 2030, HP aims to achieve a remarkable feat of being forest positive—ensuring that their actions in the realm of paper contribute to the preservation and regeneration of forests.

The intersectionality of climate change and community impact is becoming increasingly apparent. McCall explains: "Whether it's our worker empowerment programs, whether it's our own internal diversity inclusion programs, or whether it's our community programs or even climate, the reason we're trying to save the planet is for the people on the planet. And so keeping people at the heart of our programs is helping us derive the kind of vision we want to see and the kind of leadership we want to take across the industry."

This is why protecting the planet and empowering people must go hand in hand. 

In the U.S., 46% of HP's new hires in 2022 self-identified as ethnic or racial minorities. HP believes helping people achieve their full potential while safeguarding human rights across the supply chain can help build stronger communities, societies, and economies. At the core of this empowerment, there is the need to bridge the digital divide. As the developed world is busy experimenting with generative AI, the risk of leaving billion of people behind is growing. That's why HP is working to increase access to technology while creating training, curriculum and partnerships that empower underserved communities. So far, the company has enabled digital equity for 21 million people. That's a four-fold increase since 2021 as it works toward 150 million by 2030.

As I often say, doing well while doing good is not only possible but necessary to safeguard the longevity of any sustainability or equity program. HP recently conducted a global research study among parents in India, Mexico, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States to find out how they felt about climate change and how their thinking impacted their spending. The study found that 91% of parents are concerned about the climate crisis, leading to changes that reshape their lives and purchasing habits. More than half (53%) say it has impacted their perspective on having more children. Forty-three percent of respondents said they had reconsidered working for a company based on its commitment to environmental and social issues.

According to the study, several parents demonstrate a preference for companies that are actively combating climate change. Sustainability holds significant sway for nearly two-thirds (64%) of parents regarding product choices, while 60% emphasize the importance of sustainable practices in companies they support. These inclinations persist even if most parents (84%) acknowledge the escalating cost of living, and over half (57%) believe that adopting environmentally friendly practices consumes substantial amounts of time.  

While parents actively take personal action, the majority also recognize the importance of corporate responsibility. A significant proportion of parents (51%) believe that companies bear a substantial responsibility in holding themselves accountable for climate action, surpassing the percentage of parents (36%) who attribute the same level of responsibility to customers.

The study clearly points to the imperative of investing in more sustainable business practices, not only because it aligns with ethical principles but also because it fosters the cultivation of lifelong customers. Reflecting on the study's significance, McCall emphasizes its role in guiding both their own organization and the wider IT industry towards a necessary shift for future-proofing businesses. It goes beyond the pursuit of sustainable impact; it entails ensuring that customers can flourish in an ever-evolving and dynamic world. The findings underscore the importance of embracing sustainability as a strategic approach benefiting businesses and the broader ecosystem.

Disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this column.

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