Hewlett-Packard has recently undertaken numerous green initiatives both internally and in their products, claiming “business success and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.” Over the years, HP has been evolving through three distinct phases of environmental sustainability–pollution control and prevention, product stewardship, and most recently, sustainability–which have led to its acknowledgment in the business world as a leading “green” company. During the 1980s, environmental concerns were primarily focused on pollution control and prevention, which consisted of building strategies that reduced emissions from existing manufacturing productions. HP made great strides in this area and improved its facilities to minimize toxic materials and emissions. In the 1990s, HP’s focus shifted to product stewardship, which is “a focus on earlier intervention to minimize environmental impacts associated with the full life cycle of a product.” The company created a Product Stewardship function to develop global processes for tracking and managing regulatory compliance issues, public policy shaping, product take-back programs, green packaging, and integrating “design for the environment” and life cycle analysis into product development processes. Today, sustainability is the hot topic, which concerns developing technologies that actually contribute a positive impact to environmental challenges (source 1: google scholar).

It seems that the environmental initiative has shifted from preventative to proactive, starting with minimizing pollutants and product stewardship that minimize their environmental impact, and shifting toward strategies to improve the environment. HP has recognized that “pollution prevention product stewardship have become baseline market expectations. To be an environmental leader in the 21st century, HP needs to integrate environmental sustainability into its fundamental business strategy.”

With an ultimate goal to become an industry leader, HP has drafted a new action plan and strategy for the company, creating a new mission and three strategic initiaties. The revised mission became “to invent and deliver environmentally sustainable solutions for the common good” and changed the name of the Product Stewardship program to “Environmental Strategies and Solutions” to reflect the wider and more proactive goals of the group. The strategic priorities include: end-of-life product solutions, energy efficiency, and de-materialization. The revised department gained the necessary momentum and excitement by holding an on-site workshop with over 70 group members to share the new strategy, get feedback, and begin developing strategies to implement these changes within the various business units. By incorporating the group members in the workshop, HP was able to generate the support needed to carry out the environmental changes across all levels of the company’s staff.


One response »

  1. It is surprising to me that HP had a sustainability plan so long ago. It is not very often that you see large companies taking such an initiative in prior to this most recent green movement. I’d be curious to see an updated version of this report for the last 11+ years to see how things have changed/improved.

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