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Responsible companies are sustaining resources—and a profit

Successful impact initiatives are proof that businesses don’t have to choose between doing well and doing good.

According to a global scientific consensus, the single largest threat to the health of the planet in the decades to come is climate change. With diminishing resources and a growing population that’s expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, how can we possibly generate food, clothing, housing, energy, and transportation to meet our needs?

Part of the answer to that question lies in creating a circular economy, which gradually decouples economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and eliminates waste. To get where we need to go, it’s imperative that corporations reduce their carbon footprints.

“There’s a role for policy,” says Dr. Kevin Dooley, a professor in supply chain management at Arizona State University and chief scientist at the Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a global nonprofit organization leading the transformation of the consumer goods industry to deliver more sustainable consumer products. “But I don’t think that policy is going to be created at scale and speed to drive more sustainable consumer products. Not at the speed and scale that we need.”

One company meeting the challenge of creating a circular economy is HP, which used 21 metric tons of recycled plastic in its printers, supplies, and personal computers in 2018 and has reached zero deforestation with its branded paper. Next on the list? Sustainable packaging.

“Part of our approach to packaging is transitioning from materials like single-use plastics to more sustainable materials like molded pulp,” says Ellen Jackowski, global head of sustainability strategy and innovation at HP. “It’s important that, as we transition from plastic packaging to other materials, we’re doing it in a way that focuses on regeneration to support a circular economy and our planet for future generations,” she adds.

To achieve zero deforestation and responsibly source paper-based packaging, HP collaborates with experts like World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council, and with suppliers like International Paper, as part of HP’s Sustainable Forests Cooperative.

“Our partnership with HP is an example of what we want to see replicated more by companies, which is building on responsible sourcing by taking additional action to help protect, restore, and better manage forests around the globe,” says Linda Walker, senior director of forests at World Wildlife Fund.

And as it turns out, sustaining resources is not at odds with sustaining a profit. Sustainable impact programs drove more than $900 million dollars of new revenue for HP in 2018, a 35% year-over-year increase. To fulfill its vision to create technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere, HP is committed to delivering on its sustainable impact goals.

 “Climate action is a business imperative,” says Christoph Schell, HP’s chief commercial officer. “At HP, we believe we have a responsibility to take immediate action to address today’s global challenges. For example, innovation like the world’s first PC made with ocean-bound plastics, the first sustainable home printing system, plus 3-D printing and digital manufacturing to accelerate a more sustainable industrial revolution. It’s not only the right thing to do, our customers prefer it and it’s good for business.” ­