Gary Tierney, HP UK&I Print Category Director
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, recently made waves with its announcement that it would put climate change and broader sustainability efforts at the center of its investment strategy. In his annual open letter to CEOs, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink stated, “climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” and that he believes BlackRock’s cross-industry investment of nearly $7 trillion on behalf of its clients would trigger “a fundamental reshaping of the global economy.”
This reshaping will occur “sooner than most anticipate,” writes Fink. He also predicts that investment dollars will soon flow away from fossil fuels and towards companies that are producing goods and services that help the world transition to a more efficient, circular and low-carbon economy.
Those who’ve been paying attention to the corporate sustainability movement understand decisions like these have been a long time coming. To others, it might be a stark wake-up call.
Environmental stewardship and sustainability have always been core to HP’s values – integral to what we are as a brand, how we differentiate ourselves in the market and how we show up in the world every day. As David Packard said more than six decades go, “The betterment of society is not a job to be left to a few, it’s a responsibility to be shared by all.” We firmly believe businesses of all shapes and sizes — including our own — must elevate their commitment to sustainable practices if they hope to thrive.
Recently we saw global business leaders meet at the World Economic Forum, where a discussion “stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world,” focused on the fact that sustainability has become business imperative for all companies. However, we also recognise that even when leadership is determined to make a difference, they do not always know where to begin. This is where channel partners can play an important role as trusted advisors – helping customers learn how to apply HP printing technologies to meet their own sustainability goals.
Environmental Stewardship Starts at Home
More than two-thirds of buyers consider sustainability as a factor when making a purchase, according to a CGS survey last year. Similarly, 70 percent of consumers link their purchases to their trust in corporations. That trust encompasses issues like supply chain management and environmental impact.
Companies might be missing an opportunity if their business strategies don’t align with the sustainable offerings consumers are seeking out. A company’s sustainability commitment and how they communicate should cut across every piece of physical and digital collateral a brand or partner produces – every brochure, sign, newsletter, blog, website and social media feed. At the same time, partners should associate with the good work being done through vendor recycling programmes, such as HP Planet Partners. At the end of the day, partners have every right to reap the benefits of partnering with recognised sustainability leaders.
We at HP take pride in partnering with organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Last year, through this partnership, HP committed to restore, protect and conserve 200,000 acres of threatened forest in Brazil and China — an area equal in size to New York City. The collaboration is designed to protect and restore more trees than those used for the paper that goes through HP’s printers each year. We are also are proud to be a founding advertising partner of Bloomberg Green, an influential news channel focused on climate action and the powerful role it plays in business. This outlet will certainly guide more informed sustainability decision making into the future.
A Bold Commitment to Carbon Neutrality
At HP, We are also making good on our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2025. Nearly half of our carbon footprint comes from the use of our products. That’s why we’re focusing on reducing our energy consumption and emissions with more energy efficient products, such as our HP PageWide business printers, which uses up to 84 percent less energy than laser printers.
HP made similar advancements towards our circular economy goal of using 30 percent recycled plastic content across our print product portfolio by 2025. We’ve incorporated recycled content in products like the Tango Terra, including HP original ink cartridges – of which 80 percent contain recycled content. HP also partnered with the nonprofit First Mile Coalition to make ink cartridges from upcycled plastic bottles collected in Haiti, preventing some 500 tons of plastic from 35 million bottles from entering the ocean. But reducing plastic waste is not only good for our oceans, it leads to business cost savings in energy consumption, reduces packaging waste and enables companies to tap into the value of materials that would have otherwise been sent to the landfill. Plus plastics reduction and climate action are a top priority for investors.
Creating a Forest-Positive Future
Trees are the world’s best carbon sequestering technology. We could remove 5 to 7 billion metric tons of CO2 annually by protecting, restoring and improving the management of forests. That’s like eliminating emissions from all the cars in the world today. We are at a critical moment in time for our planet. The decade that’s fast approaching is the most important in our lifetimes for addressing climate change. Forests are a critical part of that equation. Almost half of the world’s forests have been threatened with deforestation and forest degradation, representing more than 10 percent of global CO2 emissions.
Companies taking positive actions for forests — not only through responsible sourcing of forest products, but also by investing in on-the-ground actions to restore, protect and improve the management of forests — can help sustain those forests and provide an incentive for governments to also sustain their forests. Consumers can use their purchasing power to support companies demonstrating forest-protection leadership. One simple action is to look for the FSC® label on forest-related products. This means the forest from which the product came has been managed to the highest standards for protecting people and nature. HP Papers are 100 percent FSC® certified, and consumers and companies alike should ask for FSC®-certified fiber for their paper products.
As Fink’s letter points out, any business not acting on issues like climate change or embracing the circular economy could be left in the dust. Enterprise B2B customers will more than likely give their business to other companies that are actively committing to environmental sustainability. Why allow your customers to take those risks when $26 trillion in opportunities are out there for the taking?
For the good of our planet and good of your business, we challenge others in the printing industry and beyond to join us in building a more sustainable future.