HP discloses progress toward global sustainability goals

Technology giant continues to make strides in closed-loop product design, replacement of hazardous materials and supply chain accountability
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

To me one of the most interesting dynamic case studies in corporate sustainability is Wal-Mart, because of the sheer influence that it wields across an enormous supply chain. It has the power to influence behavior up and down that chain. Giant technology company Hewlett-Packard is an equally compelling example of a company that is minding not only its own environmental impact, but those of its manufacturing and supply chain partners.

There's a ton of relevant information to be found in the company's just published 2009 Global Citizenship Report, which outlines more than 200 global goals that are ongoing within HP's operations.

You've heard some of the numbers, because I have reported them along the way. HP reached its carbon reduction goals one year early -- cutting it by 25 percent compared with 2005 levels -- and now it is looking for more cuts. The company has pledged to reduce the energy consumption of its products by up to 40 percent, and it has pledged to eliminate mercury from 100 percent of its notebooks by the end of 2010. One technology tool that HP is using to find replacement materials is Green Screen, which is an open source tool that was developed by Clean Production Action. HP, apparently, is one of the flagship corporate users of this product.

Engelina Jaspers, vice president of environmental sustainability for HP, says the company has product stewards in every group of the company who spearhead its design for the environment program. One example of progress is the fact that HP has tripled the amount of recycled materials used in its inkjet printers, as just one example, according to Jaspers.

You can get a snapshot on the environment creds of various HP products in this section of the report.

Another thing you will find in HP's report is a complete list of its more than 700 production suppliers, as well as some of the audit information that the company has picked up over the past year. HP was the first tech company to disclose its supply chain partners back in 2007; this is the third year it has published the list.

During the year, it conducted 104 supplier site audits. The company reports that the average number of major nonconformances per facility decreased 40 percent from the first to the most recent audit. This slide show illustrates the sorts of things that auditors look for in site visits.

Updated on April 12 to correct information about auditor noncomformance.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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