This week the World Wildlife Fund has named HP as its largest corporate partner. HP continues to lead its peers—particularly in printing—with sustainability and diversity. Given that printing is a consumption process, HP is challenging its peers to step up. This competitive sustainability effort is a competition we should all get behind.
Let’s talk about HP going greener and more diverse this week.
Sustainability As A Business Model
One of the common beliefs is that building a sustainable product makes it unprofitable. So companies create trash because they don’t have to pay for the disposal of that trash or its impact on the environment. However, customers and all of us pay that price. In short, the economic price of a disposable product is far higher than the actual monetary cost of that product, so many of us look to buy from companies that are putting sustainability as a priority.
If countries understood this, they would tax companies on the waste they produce and credit companies for eliminating waste in the environment. I expect that will eventually be the case now that micro-plastics are showing up in food and causing increasing health problems.
If this happens, and I think it is likely, HP is in a solid position to benefit. It is now aggressively assuring its paper supplies come from renewable sources while driving other paper suppliers to do the same. In particular, HP’s anti-deforestation effort stands alone and should continue to be a competitive advantage against other print solution vendors for the foreseeable future.
HP’s current effort, which took an $80M expansion this year, covers 1 million acres—or 5x the size of New York City.
Sustainable products that stand out are the HP Tango printer, HP Envy Inspire Printer, and Dragonfly notebook, containing a large percentage of recycled plastics.
Word Wildlife Fund
HP started working with the WWF back in September of 2019, and over the past two years, they have worked with 50 companies worldwide to mitigate or reverse deforestation in critical areas. This initiative is part of a broader effort and cross-industry collaboration demonstrating commercially viable approaches to preserving the world’s critical forests. Forests play a significant role in preventing rapid climate change, and keeping them healthy and viable is in all of our best interests.
Empowering girls to fight climate change
Another strong effort in conjunction with MIT Solve, Lonely Whale, Girl Risking, Female Quotient, and Conservation International focuses on getting girls 13 to 18 involved in fighting climate change. This effort involves a contest with a $50,000 prize and access to HP technology to implement a sustainability program designed by the winning contestant. Efforts like these help get kids interested in sustainability early so that when they become adults, they will want to continue these planet-protecting efforts.
Equitable Access To Capital For Diverse Suppliers
HP isn’t just driving interest in stopping climate change; it also creates more diversity in the technology segment. HP’s Racial Equity and Social Justice task force is dedicated to helping assure a more diverse and equitable future. This program is credited with having a positive economic impact of around $1 billion and is another critical part of HP’s goal to become the world’s most sustainable and just company.
Earlier this month, HP announced an early payment program in partnership with C2FO (one of the largest platforms for working capital) that will provide extensive access to funds for HP’s diverse suppliers, including women-owned, veteran-owned, small-disadvantaged-owned, minority-owned, and HUBZone businesses. This program provides accelerated payment of invoices to these small, diverse suppliers, which should free up resources for supplier business imperatives showcasing a definite financial advantage tied to diversity.
There is an old saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” HP intends to lead with sustainability, diversity, and social justice, standing in sharp contrast to other companies more focused on mining their customers for money than creating a better world (Apple?).
The world is in bad shape, and it is always great to see a significant brand step up and work to make a positive difference. Customers appear to be rewarding them, and efforts like this are critical to assuring the viability of our planet.