HP reported its sustainability progress this week which continued to showcase a level of focus, effort and, most important, progress that arguably leads the industry. HP’s sustainability efforts echo all the way back to the foundation of the company and the founders’ belief that companies should work to make the world a better place. Of the technology vendors I cover, two stand out as pushing the boundaries of what can be done with a Corporate Social Responsibility program, and they are Cisco and HP. This week let’s focus on the three things that are unique to HP that back up my statement that HP is the leader in sustainability.
User PC configurability and sustainability app
The first unique effort is HP’s ability to create an app for large customers that helps users select their next PC. This app doesn’t merely highlight features and price but the impact a product has on the environment. Looking at three critical vectors that include the impact of manufacturing, transport and usage, the user can then weigh their needs for performance against any personal or corporate sustainability goal. While they may still choose performance or some other factor over sustainability, it is a choice they haven’t had before and for those, particularly millennials, that want that choice, this is a critical part of their PC selection process.
When any complex system, be it a printer or a PC, is in poor repair, has software problems or is otherwise annoying to users, it can have an adverse impact on performance, efficiency (as in energy use) and user satisfaction. This last can cause premature disposal of the device, contributing to environmental waste. HP is deploying Sustainability-as-a-Service so that companies that want to monitor the usage of PCs and keep them in service longer can do so. Initial benefits are cost savings in the 5 to 13% range, which is significant at scale, and a significant improvement in user satisfaction while just as significantly potentially reducing premature electronic waste by keeping these systems in service longer. The nature of this service also offsets HP’s need to churn products, keeping the company economically focused on doing the right thing when churn would otherwise create a countertrend that would be difficult to overcome with HP salespeople and partners.
HP Amplify Impact
One of HP’s most powerful and unique sustainability programs is called HP Amplify Impact. This initiative provides tools for partners that allow them to better participate in revenues tied to sustainability. HP has tied $3.5B of revenue to its sustainability efforts. Using the various tools HP provides, partners gain access to this extra revenue. While much of this program is self-tested, a process that often leads to cheating. Since employees talk, keeping cheating a secret is pretty much impossible, and the penalty would undoubtedly be getting blacklisted, not just by HP, but by all the OEMs because an untrustworthy partner is too expensive for any of the firms to retain. Around a third of HP’s partners have signed up to this program so far, exceeding expectations.
HP also provides Sweep to its partners at a huge discount. Sweep is a comprehensive third-party tool for measuring sustainability efforts. Were those partners to contract with Sweep directly, it would cost them $11K a year. By working through HP, that cost drops a whopping $9K to $2K, making it far more affordable.
Wrapping up: One more thing
HP can argue it’s the leader in the technology market for sustainability based on a variety of actions which include aggressively fighting deforestation and massively improving materials reuse in manufacturing. But the other place it leads is in collaborating with competitors on their recycling efforts believing, as I do, that sustainability is an effort that overrides the need to compete and is consistent with its founders, focusing on making the world a better place to live.
Overall, very impressively done!