Hear from three managing directors about the sustainable business practices moving their regions closer to HP’s goals on climate action, human rights, and digital equity.
By Sunshine Flint — January 11, 2022
After a year of unprecedented ecological disasters and a pandemic in Europe, the The EU officially adopted the legal framework to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. We invited three HP managing directors in the region to a roundtable focused on the company’s sustainability goals for 2030. Bernhard Fauser (Central Europe), Helena Herrero (Southern Europe), and Dave Prezzano (Northwest Europe) reflect on what’s been achieved the challenges that lie ahead on the company’s sustainability fronts: climate action, human rights, and digital equity.
What or who has influenced you in your pursuit of sustainability?
Helena Herrero Our planet is sending warnings that either we change the way we consume and act or there’s no turning back. We are seeing more severe and frequent heat waves, droughts and wildfires, as well as floods and storms. Everyone — citizens, businesses, and governments — must change their consumption, production, and distribution patterns. Either we all commit, or we can’t save the planet.
Bernard Fauser: I am impressed by the European Union’s ambitious target to Carbon gas emissions can be reduced by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.. My two teenage children often hold me accountable for personal sustainability decisions.
Dave Prezzano: My family and I are very active in outdoor pursuits, and we see how important it is to preserve natural landscapes against the effects of climate change. We all need biodiversity protection and to understand that reversing the effects of climate change will require collective efforts.
Do you have a personal connection to HP’s Sustainable Impact goals?
BF: With an upsurge of extreme weather, HP’s climate action goals resonate with me. Parts of Germany recently saw one month’s rain in just three days, and as a skier, seeing the glacial retreat in the Alps makes climate change all too real. We can all do more to advance our carbon neutrality progress — making the right real estate, car fleet, or product decisions — while making meaningful investments in our communities and building a deep bench of diverse leaders.
DP: I see myself as the Chief Sustainability Officer of my home. I’m ambitious in limiting my own carbon footprint, and I’m proud to work for a company that has set comprehensive climate action goals. I’m also motivated to encourage more young women to study STEM (my daughter is a chemical engineering student at university), and I believe we need to see greater tangible change in industries to attract and retain young talent and provide them with equal opportunities and equal pay. Locally, we’ve partnered with the Tech Talent Charter to drive equality in the UK tech sector, but we’ve got more work to do.
HH: For me, bridging the digital divide and addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential. I am committed to equality in the company as well as promoting science, innovation, technology among girls. I am also a trustee on the board. Spain, Junior Achievement, which provides skills for the future to young people.
Europe experienced record floods, wildfires and extreme weather in 2021. What programs are you implementing and how do you approach climate change in your region?
BF: Turbulent weather in Europe is an alarm bell that we can’t ignore. Businesses need assistance, but it is only a short-term solution. Long-term change takes into account the needs of investors, customers, and the climate. We developed a pilot program to renew ink cartridges in Thurnau, Germany. We go beyond recycling by giving ink cartridges a second chance. It’s another step toward reducing our manufacturing footprint, and can potentially be exported globally.
DP: HP Netherlands started a pilot program for electric vehicles in October 2020. This pilot was extended to Belgium in the early 2021. The majority of the team chooses EVs because they can help reduce our environmental footprint. Other initiatives in Northwest Europe include customer Green Boxes that contain seeds, stickers, information about our carbon-neutral Managed Print Services, and information on our managed printing services. MPS, with its Sustainable Incidence Reporting and Analytics [SIRA]Customers can be more sustainable with this tool. We organized virtual events in the United Kingdom and Ireland where employees volunteered to clean up litter in their communities. This simple act connected us all and made us feel more engaged.
Global HP efforts are focused on tree planting and reforestation. What is HP doing in your area on this front?
HH: Spain is in the top five countries for forest coverage in Europe and is deeply at risk. We’re working to prevent fires and deforestation, and raise awareness with the public, our partners, and other stakeholders. We have joined Asociación Áreas Verdes’s “Recover Your Forest” program, which aligns closely with the HP Forest Positive initiative. By reforesting an area in Castilla y León with 2,000 native trees, we’re making a small step toward an important goal.
“Turbulent weather in Europe is an alarm bell that we can’t ignore. For businesses, assistance is a short-term response, but long-term change recognizes the requirements of customers, investors, and the climate.”
— Bernhard Fauser, general manager & managing director, HP Inc.
DP: Tree planting is a simple, effective way of reducing carbon emissions and restoring natural ecosystems. Only 13% of the tree cover in the United Kingdom is availableThe average European average of 37% is the lowest in Europe at 37%. We have supported our global Forest Positive commitments by organizing tree planting events locally in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Over the past few years, we have planted 27,100 trees. Through the Arbor Day Foundation and Trees of the Land we are continuing our momentum are set to plant more trees this winter.
BF: In Germany, we planted a “partner forest” with the Plant-My-Tree organization and learned that planting mixed species, not monocultures, reduces disease and pests. We’re also rolling out a carbon- neutral managed print services (MPS) program.
What are the most challenging areas in your quest for sustainability?
BF: Looking at digital equity, we still see a pronounced divide in Europe. ITU, for example. [International Telecommunication Union]Data shows that 36% of the population of Central and Eastern Europe is still not connected with 4GComparable to 19% in Western Europe, it is only 3%. We are investing in digital education through skills and training. HP Foundation’s HP LIFE program, and we’ve enrolled over 66,000 students in Romania, with partnerships starting in Hungary, Bulgaria, and beyond.
HH: To help solve the digital divide, we recognized the need to give educators and students different tools. Through the open-access, free online platform, teachers in Spain have been able develop their teaching skills. HP Online Teaching Assistant, which reached more than 132,000 teachers in its 200-days first year. On gender diversity, there’s still work to be done, but we’ve made progress in Southern Europe: HP Iberia’s Management Committee is 46% female.
DP: Customers and companies must bear the cost of going green, but I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. We also need to examine our value chain for opportunities to reduce carbon emissions — sustainable by design, R&D, and end-of-life product strategy.
HP’s sustainability report puts a strong emphasis on stakeholder engagement. Why is HP Amplify Impact important to HP’s sustainability goals?
DP: When engaging with partners, we found that sustainable solutions were often a key part of their strategy, as their customers demand them. Over 80% of our UK and Ireland partners have signed a pledge with HP that taps into HP’s knowledge, training, and resources to assess and improve their sustainability performance while optimizing sustainability driven sales. This allows us to identify common priorities and work together through the HP Amplify Impact program and educate them on the sustainability areas they consider the most pressing. Around 90% of the Danish and Swedish partners had signed the pledge as of last summer.
HH: Customers are increasingly demanding that suppliers commit to a low-carbon economy with actions to tackle global warming and the environment. For HP and our channel partners, it’s essential we connect with this new consumer profile. Along with pioneering initiatives, transparency with national and international organizations is critical for progress.
BF: The response to HP Amplify Impact in Central Europe has been really positive. On the program’s Catalyst track for those with sustainability plans already in place, close to 100 partners in Germany have pledged to improve sustainability performance. We’re now rolling it out in the rest of Central Europe.