2019 Sustainable Impact Report: HP focuses on diversity in leadership and stemming plastic waste

A look at the key takeaways from HP’s 2019 Sustainable Impact Report, where the company reports on its progress toward achieving its goals and commits to new ones.

By Sarah Murry — June 24, 2020

Businesses emerging from the cloistered period of COVID-19 quarantine are focused on economic recovery and supporting customers and employees in a world that looks very different from before. HP is doing the same, but is still keeping an eye trained on other important goals that have only become more critical in recent months: Reducing its impact on the planet and becoming more diverse and inclusive in its highest ranks.

With the release of HP’s 2019 Sustainable Impact Report, HP has renewed and amplified its commitment to diversity and the environment with ambitious new goals and signed on to the UN’s Recover Better Statement

HP announced its intention, over the next five years, to double the number of Black and African American executives inside the company and eliminate 75% of single-use plastic packaging.

The global pandemic, which has seen a disturbing uptick in many places in recent weeks, as well as the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, has brought these goals into even sharper relief.

“The HP culture has long been built on the belief that how we do things is just as important as what we do,” says Enrique Lores, HP president and CEO. “Recent events have laid bare the systemic racism and deep inequalities that remain a stain on society, and it’s imperative for all companies to act with urgency on all fronts.” 

READ: 2019 Sustainable Impact Report

Throughout its history, HP has focused its sustainability efforts toward accelerating the shift to a more circular and low-carbon economy. That means using materials efficiently and treating them as the limited resources that they are, while shifting to recyclable and renewable ones wherever possible; keeping materials and products in use throughout their lifespan and beyond, improving energy efficiency and decreasing its carbon and water footprint; and partnering to regenerate natural systems for the health of the planet. 

Ellen Jackowski HP Sustainable Impact Report 2019

Jonah Podbereski

HP Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer Ellen Jackowski (second from right) and a team from HP learning about how responsible forest management protects biodiversity, water sources, indigenous populations, and the livelihoods of local communities.

In recent years, it’s broadened its scope to include transparency around hiring and diversity and inclusion, as well as extending support to the communities where its employees and suppliers live and work. 

“This year’s data shows that HP is making significant strides forward in many areas, while also revealing where we must do better,” Lores says. “For example, the number of African American employees is below where it needs to be, and we are taking actions to improve.”

In addition to the diversity and inclusion goals, here are the biggest initiatives from the report: 

Smarter recyclable packaging means less waste

Three hundred million tonnes of plastic are produced each year worldwide, half of which are for single use and 91% are not recycled at all. Packaging is also experiencing an increase in demand as a result of COVID-19. Packaging comprises a significant portion of total waste produced and can affect the health of our planet and people, which is why HP today announced a new goal to eliminate 75% of single-use plastic packaging by 2025. The goal focuses on hardware unit packaging and is predicated on a move to molded fiber packaging cushions.  

HP’s environmental packaging strategy aims overall to eliminate unnecessary plastics — such as power cord ties and plastic bags — and where possible, to swap plastic shipping materials for recyclable ones. More than 6.8 million units of laptop and desktop PCs were shipped in 100% recycled molded fiber packaging, which eliminated 933 tonnes of hard-to-recycle expanded plastic foam in 2019.

Tackling the Plastic Packaging Problem | Sustainable Impact | HP

HP is committing to eliminating 75% of single-use plastic packaging by 2025, compared to 2018.

To date, HP has sourced more than 1.7 million pounds of ocean-bound plastic for use in its products, and is on track with its plans to increase recycled content in products to 30% by 2025.

Partnering to restore and protect forests 

The issue of global deforestation is in the spotlight now perhaps more than ever before, as scientists have traced the likely origin of the novel coronavirus as it was transmitted from animals to humans. They warn that deforestation is driving exotic species out of their habitats, where they interact and breed new strains of disease.

In 2019, HP announced its partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Together, HP and WWF aim to restore, protect and responsibly manage 200,000 acres of forest, an area equal to the size of New York City. Over five years, HP is contributing $11 million for WWF to restore part of Brazil’s critically threatened Atlantic Forest. In China, the project is focused on increasing the area of sustainably managed forest plantations to improve their resiliency and biodiversity. In both countries with the help of WWF, HP is advancing forest science to quantify the nature benefits of forest restoration activities.

HP has also launched the HP Sustainable Forest Collaborative and those efforts have inspired the Arbor Day Foundation, Chenming Paper, and packaging and paper companies Domtar and New Leaf Paper to join the collaborative and accelerate efforts on forest restoration. The cross-industry collaboration will demonstrate scientific and viable approaches to keeping forests ecosystems healthy. 


Sustainability as a shared business imperative

HP’s commitment to sustainability isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also good for the company’s top line. Sustainable Impact programming helped drive more than $1.6 billion in new sales in  2019, a 69% year-over-year increase in value. The data reflects a significant change in the role of corporations in society, and shows how consumers are paying attention not just to what a company says, but what it does. 

“As business leaders, we must not only create value for our shareholders, but also create a brighter future for all,” Lores says.


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