DP: Tree planting is an essential, effective way to reduce the impact of carbon emissions and restore natural ecosystems. The United Kingdom has only 13% tree cover, one of the lowest in Europe, which averages 37%. Locally, we have held tree planting initiatives across the United Kingdom and Ireland, planting 27,100 trees over the last few years, helping local communities while supporting our global Forest Positive commitments. Through the Arbor Day Foundation and Trees of the Land we are continuing our momentum and are set to plant more trees this winter.
BF: In Germany, we planted a “partner forest” with the Plant-My-Tree organization and learned that planting mixed species, not monocultures, reduces disease and pests. We’re also rolling out a carbon- neutral managed print services (MPS) program.
What are the areas where you have encountered the greatest challenges when it comes to sustainability?
BF: Looking at digital equity, we still see a pronounced divide in Europe. For example, ITU [International Telecommunication Union] data shows that 36% of the Central and Eastern European population is still not connected to 4G, versus 19% in Western Europe. We are investing in digital education and skills through HP Foundation’s HP LIFE program, and we’ve enrolled over 66,000 students in Romania, with partnerships starting in Hungary, Bulgaria, and beyond.
HH: To help solve the digital divide, we recognized the need to give educators and students different tools. In Spain, teachers have been able to develop online teaching skills through the free and open-access HP Online Teaching Assistant, which reached over 132,000 teachers in its first 200 days. On gender diversity, there’s still work to be done, but we’ve made progress in Southern Europe: HP Iberia’s Management Committee is 46% female.
DP: The cost of going green is something that customers and companies need to shoulder, although I believe the benefits clearly outweigh the costs. We also need to examine our value chain for opportunities to reduce carbon emissions — sustainable by design, R&D, and end-of-life product strategy.