One of the most pressing concerns facing humanity today is our impact on the environment. A lot has been said about carbon emissions and climate change, but these are not the only concerns, and moving forward, the health of the planet relies on our ability to engage with people in a broad range of environmental concerns. Research out of America shows that people are more spurred to concern and action over environmental issues that are immediately visible and thus more emotionally affecting, like plastic waste corrupting ocean water and marine life. According to a report by UNESCO, if something isn’t done urgently to stem the tide, there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than fish. At this unsustainable rate, it has become incumbent on all responsible companies to look at what they can do to reduce waste, encourage recycling, and drive sustainability.
From the World Economic Forum’s declaration of a Great Reset, the call for businesses to follow through commitments on their environment, social and governance (EGS) goals is louder than ever. The pandemic has magnified the need for businesses to accelerate efforts to ensure that good business must also mean a better planet.
HP will stand for a new era of progress – where climate change is reversed, human rights are universally protected, and digital equity democratises opportunity for all.
- Climate Action: Drive toward a net zero carbon, fully regenerative economy while engineering the industry’s most sustainable portfolio of products and solutions.
- Human Rights: Create a powerful culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Advance human rights, social justice, and racial and gender equality across our ecosystem, raising the bar for all.
- Digital Equity: Lead in activating and innovating holistic solutions that break down the digital divide that prevents many from accessing the education, jobs, and healthcare needed to thrive. Drive digital inclusion to transform lives and communities.
One example of this philosophy in action is the HP Planet Partners program, which is committed to being a leading voice for driving change and best practice in this area.
HP Planet Partners program: We measure in millions and billions
HP Planet Partners program is a cornerstone initiative within HP’s sustainability strategy. The program is designed to facilitate better recycling and lifecycle management, from manufacturing through to end-of-life disposal. Not only is the program designed to prevent plastics, e-waste, and other recyclable materials from ending up in landfill, but the HP Planet Partners program also engages its channel and customer base in helping to boost sustainability across the entire chain. Planet Partners provides HP customers with drop-off, mail, or pickup recycling options for their used consumables. Importantly, the all-of-channel approach ensures that the customer doesn’t bear the burden of these recycling costs (assuming the material to be recycled reaches a minimum weight, and location depending), which has been critical to the program’s uptake and success.
With the success of the HP Planet Partners program, HP announced a massive expansion of the program in 2020 – including to many parts of Asia. Where Planet Partners was only available in select countries, now customers and channel partners in 68 countries can participate in Planet Partners with regards to supplies, making it a truly global initiative.
Beyond manufacturing, HP is actively leveraging the Planet Partners program to encourage “closed loop” processes across its channel and customer base, it is successfully encouraging change at all levels, and encouraging a deeper conversation around sustainability across the entire sales and strategy process.
With the Planet Partners program expanding to more countries around the world, HP is highlighting its ongoing commitment to drive more sustainability across the globe, in a way that also exemplifies good business practices for all involved.
The three pillars of print sustainability
HP views this Planet Partners program as being a critical component of building what HP calls “closed loop” sustainable systems around its products and consumables, whereby waste is kept within the chain between vendor and consumer, and then returned into it for reuse. Creating these closed-loop systems rely on aligning the entire supply chain in a broad sustainability vision, so HP works closely with its partners to create a three-pillar approach to print sustainability. These three pillars are:
- Forest Positive: As part of HP’s pledge for printing to be forest positive, it has brought on new partners into its HP Sustainable Forests Collaborative. The company recently launched HP+, to help bring forest positive printing to life. This pillar has been so successful that in 2020, HP achieved zero deforestation for 99 per cent of HP brand paper and paper-based product packaging.
- Carbon Neutral: HP committed to making its services business carbon neutral by 2025, and HP recently launched net zero printing services for its direct MPS customers.
- Circular economy: HP has incorporated recycled content into new products such as the HP Deskjet 2700/4100, as well as HP Original ink cartridges. HP Planet Partners program is a cornerstone of the circular economy. By encouraging the return of cartridges, HP and its partners can keep as much waste in a closed-loop system for maximum recycling as possible.
As mentioned, this approach requires a whole-of-channel approach in order to be successful. HP’s efforts to engage the channel involve the Amplify Impact program, as well as educating partners and customers, and furthermore building and participating in organisations with these three pillars at their core.
Collaborating with specialists to turn recycled plastics into a point of differentiation
In addition to driving change with partners, HP also aims to build new organisations that will target specific issues that face the industry. It is a member of NextWave Plastics, a consortium of multinational brands that aims to decrease ocean-bound plastic.
HP leverages the expertise derived from such associations to convert into innovation that benefits both it and its customers. For example, recycled plastics can be used to enhance product design while also boosting sustainability credentials. HP Elite Dragonfly – which features ocean-bound plastics in the speaker enclosure and display bezel – highlights that sustainability not only produces good outcomes for the environment, but it also directly results in innovation and industry-leading products. The customer benefits from one of the lightest devices in its category from HP to date, and meanwhile, in sourcing the material from Haiti, HP boosts the economy of a developing nation and helps it to deal with an environmental crisis.
As more work is done in finding new ways to use plastics, the innovative use of ocean-bound plastics in IT will continue to grow, giving consumers and enterprises access to technology that is truly sustainable.
Working with the channel on sustainability
In addition to leading the way internally and by supporting organisations like NextWave Plastics, HP’s sustainability efforts involve highlighting to its partners that sustainability is not just an EGS obligation – it’s also an opportunity.
Channel partners can – and should – be using sustainability as a broader engagement opportunity to reduce the footprint of their customers across the board, while also leveraging it into transformation or customer engagement exercises. This cuts to the core of the Amplify Impact program.
HP research shows that 87 per cent of customers consider sustainability important when purchasing a printer. As we’ve already seen, HP has delivered an additional $1 billion in sales as a direct consequence of the sustainable sourcing of its products. This is a business opportunity by virtue as businesses overlooking sustainability will increasingly find market wins more challenging.
The good news is that achieving better sustainability doesn’t need to be costly. Not only can companies improve their reputation by having robust EGS practices, but sustainability often comes hand-in-hand with innovation, efficiency, and new business opportunities.
At the same time, no single entity can address the global sustainability crisis alone. Sustainability needs to be incorporated throughout the supply chain, and this is why HP seeks to engage with the channel for Planet Partners. For another example, HP works with its managed services partners to roll out tools like Sustainable Impact Reporting and Analytics (SIRA), which assists the MSP’s customers with reporting, and subsequently using those analytics to drive ESG best practice.
HP’s engagement with the channel also extends beyond Planet Partners. For example, HP has invested heavily in ensuring that sustainability through HP products and solutions provides a sales and expertise differentiator to their partners.
One example of this is the Amplify Impact initiative – a program that is designed to give channel partners additional qualifications and capabilities to drive sustainability into their customers. “A number of studies, such as the Edelman Trust Barometer, prove that people want brands to drive change, by being a positive force in shaping our culture and by working to make the future better than the present,” David Tan, Head of Channels and Supplies at HP, said. “For customers, being able to demonstrate their ambitions and impact around SDGs is increasingly critical. Partners should educate how technology providers, partners and customers must work together to drive a more efficient, circular, and low-carbon economy.
“HP’s Amplify Impact program for partners puts data at the core of transforming business and by leveraging data for visibility across business operations for customers can serve to highlight business and sustainability opportunities for improvement and showcase results.”
Looking beyond Planet Partners: HP’s sustainability shepherding strategy
HP is also an enthusiastic supporter of social programs that are proven to have sustainable outcomes. For example, HP recently presented a video on how educating and empowering young women is considered the second most important consideration in addressing the fight against climate change.
Brought together, these programs all play a critical role in the holistic approach to sustainability that HP undertakes. HP understands that, ultimately, people are the solution, and the demand for sustainability is being driven by a groundswell of society. The goal for enterprises needs to be providing the foundations and structures that make it convenient, if not effortless, for every individual to participate in sustainability.
The social and governance opportunity with sustainability
It remains true that across the Asia Pacific region, there is clear recognition that countries are falling short of sustainable development goals, as highlighted by results from the 2021 edition of the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
To be clear; the focus on sustainability isn’t going away, and regulation and social pressure is going to mandate that companies adopt best practices in this area. There’s opportunity there for forward-thinking businesses to help lead the change. Additionally, the reputational boost of being seen as a sustainable supplier will almost certainly play a greater role in tenders to large enterprises and government in the future, as they grapple with their own escalating EGS requirements.
What has traditionally inhibited the sustainable use of plastic is the lack of commitment across the entire supply chain, with piecemeal and poorly-implemented programs resulting in a great deal of inconvenience for the user and, ultimately, low uptake of recycling. Across manufacturing, the channel, and the logistics of collecting the plastics back for recycling, sustainability only works when all parties are in alignment with it, and that is why HP is so committed to integrating its channel along with its sustainability strategy. By enabling the channel and ensuring that sustainability offers business as well as social benefits, HP can drive positive and proactive solutions to the growing environmental challenges worldwide.
For more information on HP’s Planet Partners program, and how partners can become involved to drive better sustainability within their customers, click here.