Architecture & Design is proud to announce HP as the official sponsor of the ‘Achievement of Merit’ category at the 2017 Sustainability Awards.
In the lead-up to the awards, we spoke to Lynn Loh, HP’s sustainability manager for Asia-Pacific & Japan, about public initiatives, meeting robust targets, and the end game for sustainability.
In what ways does HP’s commitment to sustainability influence the types of products it releases to the market?
At HP, we’re reinventing for a better world. Sustainability guides every aspect of our business, [it] fuels our innovation and growth, and works to enable everyone, everywhere, to thrive. It is the right thing to do for our business, for society, and for the long-term future of our planet.
HP is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2016, HP made meaningful progress on 15 of the 17 SDGs, and set bold new targets in key areas where we can have the greatest impact. [This included] reducing the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of our product portfolio by 25 percent of 2010 levels by 2020 and helping our suppliers cut 2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions between 2010 and 2025, among other [initiatives].
HP has also reinforced our commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement as originally adopted by consensus in December 2015 (COP21). In the lead-up to COP21, we signed on to a number of public statements and initiatives [that support] strong climate action and outcomes, including the White House-led American Business Act on Climate Pledge, Business Backs Low-Carbon USA, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ Business Statement Applauding The Paris Climate Agreement, and We Mean Business.
When it comes to updating our product portfolio, HP is currently shifting from transactional product sales to service models. By doing this, we can deliver better value to our customers with less waste and cost. With innovations in industrial 3D printing and digital publishing, we’re constantly working to transform industries and accelerate a materials-efficient economy.
From a social perspective, HP believes that inclusive and quality education is essential for people to improve their lives and livelihoods. We help bring quality education and digital literacy to people [wherever] they are, including refugees and those living in underserved communities with no access to information technology.
More than 9.5 million people have benefited from our efforts to improve the quality of learning since the beginning of 2015, and we are committed to enabling better learning outcomes for millions more. In 2016, we set a new goal to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025.
Would you say that product recycling or supply chain modifications have the greatest amount of positive impact on sustainable development?
We were the first in the IT industry to publish a full carbon footprint and one of the first to disclose a complete water footprint. These cover our entire value chain – from extraction of raw materials to our operations, product transportation and customers’ use of our products and solutions worldwide.
Supply chain and customer use-phase emissions drive our carbon footprint. For products and solutions, we continue to pursue innovations that advance product energy efficiency and optimize paper use during printing. For supply chain carbon footprint, HP is dedicated to understanding and reducing supplier GHG emissions through stringent management and transparency requirements, goal setting, supplier collaboration, and incentives for ongoing performance improvement. HP was one of 29 companies globally out of the more than 3,300 assessed by [Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)] to make the inaugural supplier engagement leaderboard.
Because many parts of the world grapple with the availability and quality of water resources, HP is committed to calculating, disclosing, and reducing water use across our global value chain. Electricity consumption across the value chain was the most significant contributor, representing 67 percent of the total. [This is because] electricity generation is a major water user.
The close connection between GHG emissions from energy use and water consumption underscores the importance of our efforts to continually improve product energy efficiency. In 2016, HP was awarded an ENERGY STAR® Product Design Excellence Award for driving significant advancements in product efficiency.
The manufacturing of paper used by customers in our products accounted for 26 percent of HP’s water footprint in 2016. We encourage customers to use paper efficiently in a variety of ways, including using duplex printing or lower-impact paper, and recycling paper after use. In 2016 HP set a goal to achieve zero deforestation associated with HP brand paper and paper-based product packaging by 2020. We will achieve this goal by sourcing only certified and recycled fiber. During the year, HP was one of eight companies – and the only one in the information technology sector – named [on] CDP’s inaugural “Forest A List.”
As you mentioned before, HP is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 as compared to 2010. Are you on track to meet this figure? And how have you managed to stick to such a robust target?
As customer use of our products accounts for 53 percent of our carbon footprint, product design is the best way to improve our environmental performance and that of our customers. We work to improve the performance of each new generation of products while using less material and decreasing energy consumption. We are on track to achieving our emissions reduction target, having [already] achieved a 19 percent decrease in 2016.
This [decrease] can be attributed to an ongoing shift in our personal systems product mix to smaller, more energy-efficient devices, as well as commercial and industrial graphics printing solutions market penetration. These products have very low GHG emissions intensity per printed page.
HP is committed to driving the analog-to-digital revolution, transforming our customers’ supply chains and better matching supply with demand across the 2D printing and publishing industries, as well as other commercial and industrial sectors such as packaging and labeling.
In terms of sustainability, have you also re-engineered your printers and other electronics products to ensure your environmental targets are being met, and if so how?
Making products that improve people’s lives has been our driving purpose since HP began. Our Design for the Environment (DfE) program establishes the approach, tools, and processes that guide product design teams and environmental product stewards to drive ongoing improvement. These aspects include materials innovation, energy efficiency, durability and reparability, end-of-service options, and delivering service models that increase value and reduce environmental impacts.
In detail, we’re always focusing on using less material with more recycled and recyclable content, and reducing the energy required to manufacture HP products. We’re constantly trying to increase [the inherent qualities of] product durability, reparability and upgradability as well as through support and repair services. [We also aim to] provide adequate end-of-life options – whether that be reuse for new or nearly new returned hardware, responsible third-party recycling, or closed-loop recycling within new HP products. We also seek to develop and expand service-based business models to more customers with more products, and [to] customise those offerings to meet diverse customer needs.
What do you see as the future of sustainable design within your product segment?
By 2030, there will be three billion new technology users globally. Simultaneously, the world faces pressing challenges related to resource availability, climate change, and inequality. We believe that delivering the economic and social benefits of technology to billions more people must be done sustainably. This requires a profound shift from a traditional, linear production model of “take, make, dispose,” to a circular and low-carbon economy.
This model is regenerative by design, and continually recovers and reuses materials. It decouples business growth from a reliance on increasingly scarce raw materials, [which benefits] the environment while advancing business success. Innovative new business models such as product-as-a-service offerings increase the value derived from resources while strengthening customer engagement and relationships. The shift from analog to digital printing and additive manufacturing (3D printing) holds the promise to transform supply chains.
What kind of focus will sustainable design be for your business moving forward?
HP has a long history of driving more sustainable practices across our value chain and beyond. Leading our industry and customers toward a circular and low-carbon economy at scale is the next step in that journey. Our priorities are to decouple business growth from consumption, [to] disrupt industry business models, and [to] digitise supply chains and production. By following those three priorities, we can not only cut down on the amount of materials that are used by our customers and by us, but also lead the way in setting an industry standard for a more sustainable future.
For HP, what is the ‘end game’ when it comes to sustainability?
This is definitely a journey, and the success of our sustainability strategy relies on collaboration with and input from key stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, customers, peer companies, public policy makers, industry bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), sector experts, and others. Through regular, ongoing, close contact with our stakeholders, we are better able to anticipate emerging trends and challenges and [to find] innovate solutions.