With so many science and engineering professionals emerging from India, it’s easy to forget that much of the country is trying to bring quality education to millions of students in rural areas.
When U.S. consumers drop off their old electronics at local e-waste centers for recycling, most assume their aging gadgets will be safely dismantled and have their components either scrapped or re-used. But that’s not always the case, according to Basel Action Network (BAN), an environmental nonprofit.
Electronics recycling often involves a complex, multi-step supply chain. Many of the downstream operations are in the developing world, where waste is exported for treatment. Once it arrives for processing, oversight is often minimal.
According to BAN, this can lead to unsafe labor and environmental conditions having a devastating impact on the countries receiving electronics recyclables. The ostensibly well-intended act of recycling has the potential to harm workers, their communities and the environment. BAN suggests that greater transparency in electronics recycling supply chains is one way companies could help.
HP has long been committed to responsible processing of used electronics. Now HP is deepening that commitment by disclosing the names and locations of its recycling vendors.
By bringing transparency to its electronics recycling supply chain, HP seeks to inspire other tech companies, retailers, and distributors to follow suit as well as to acknowledge the work of recycling partners to meet HP’s high expectations. This transparency also helps HP’s customers feel confident their end-of-life equipment is adequately treated to ensure data and privacy protection.
“HP is disclosing its recycling partners to raise the bar for transparency in our industry and to highlight the high standards we set for those vendors,” said Annukka Dickens, HP Director of Human Rights and Supply Chain Responsibility. “We challenge other companies in and outside of the high tech industry to follow our lead and disclose recycler vendor standards and performance, as well as the list of recycling vendors they employ globally.”
Ties back to the circular economy
A key part of HP’s circular economy strategy is responsible recycling of used electronics, which encompasses industry-leading recycling and reuse standards, a robust recycler audit program, and close engagement with recycling partners.
HP is reducing resource consumption by reinventing product design to extend the life of our products, shifting to service models, and transforming how whole industries design, make, and distribute products through disruptive technologies, such as 3D printing.
The end-of-life electronics challenge
HP knows from experience that recycling responsibly is no small effort. The company is one of high tech’s most active recyclers, having recaptured and recycled more than 3.3 billion pounds of computer and printing hardware and 682 million ink and toner cartridges since 1987.
Through its HP Planet Partners program, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, HP offers takeback and recycling programs to keep used electronics and printing supplies out of landfills in more than 70 countries and territories. It also collaborates with governments and industry stakeholders to promote innovative solutions for managing electronics equipment at the end of its life cycle.
As part of the company’s stringent recycling vendor management process, HP requires every specialist vendor to execute environmentally-responsible processing techniques, comply with relevant government regulations, and achieve additional commitments like ethical labor practices and conformance to the Basel Convention, which limits shipment of non-functional electronics between countries.
In addition, vendors must attain third-party certification (such as e-Stewards, R2, or WEEELABEX), where applicable, and must also submit to regular audits.
Collaboration to ensure performance
In 2015, HP conducted audits at 58 facilities in 20 countries, including audits to follow-up on previous findings and confirm ongoing commitment to responsible practices and improved performance.
In extreme cases, vendors are not allowed to continue recycling on HP’s behalf if they do not work to address nonconformance identified during audits.
“People should know how and where their equipment is recycled. We encourage customers to ask questions about what really happens to the equipment they return,” Dickens said.
The complete list of partners, representing more than 95 percent of the used electrical and electronic equipment processed through the HP Planet Partners Program, can be viewed here.
HP’s vendor standards for hardware reuse and hardware recycling can be found here. For questions about HP’s list of recycling vendors, please contact HP at email@example.com.
With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set to change hands and the future of the U.S. role in the historic Paris climate agreement unknown, it is more important than ever for the private sector to show its commitment to addressing climate change.
In recognition of this reality, HP today announced it will redouble its efforts to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global operations and strengthen relationships with key organizations that urge businesses to improve environmental performance.
With a new commitment, HP set a target to reduce the GHG emissions from its global operations by 25 percent by 2025, compared to 2015 levels. HP also renewed its partnership with World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Savers Program, a global program to engage business and industry on climate and energy.
The new target is a significant milestone for HP as it accelerates its efforts to reduce the company’s total carbon footprint in accordance with what the world’s climate scientists indicate is required to help keep global warming below 2⁰ Celsius—the threshold agreed internationally for avoiding some of the worst impacts from climate change.
“Business is the force that can demonstrate leadership on climate change,” said Matt Banks, climate and business manager, World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “HP has been progressive in reducing emissions through improving operational efficiency, and is uniquely positioned to raise its voice in important climate policy discussions.”
Since the WWF’s Climate Savers initiative began in 1999, the partners—which include 30 top companies from diverse sectors—have together reduced GHG emissions by over 100 million tons, the same as taking more than 20 million cars off the road.
In 2016, HP Inc.’s first reporting year, the company’s global operations are estimated to account for less than 5 percent of HP’s total carbon footprint, including all the company’s owned and leased facilities, as well as the automobile and aviation fleet within its operational control. HP has set a three-phase approach to reduce its climate impacts across its operations. The first phase is optimizing energy efficiency in its operations and buildings. The other two phases focus on shifting toward less GHG-intensive energy sources, including increased use of on-site renewable power, and through acquired or generated off-site renewable power to offset brown power emissions.
Lowering GHG emissions isn’t only good for the Earth, according to WWF’s Banks, it’s also beneficial for business.
That’s based on a 2013 study by WWF, which proposes the “3% Solution,” a framework that says the corporate sector must reduce GHG emissions by 3 percent per year to be on track to stay below the 2°C warming threshold. The study shows that the framework can drive $190 billion in net savings in the year 2020 alone for the corporate sector in the U.S.
“Setting science-based targets and working with key partners, like WWF, helps us innovate strategies and solutions to realize new opportunities and address business risks,” said Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer at HP. “By continuously pushing ourselves to reduce our total carbon footprint, we’re ensuring our business is resilient and ready to serve our customers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders as we pave the way toward a low-carbon circular economy future.”
No matter a person’s age, gender, location or income level, education is the key to something better.
For HP, an investment in education and the learning process goes beyond devices and features in cutting edge products. It’s the tools used in learning institutions around the world and the efforts to educate under-served regions that go to the heart of making the world a better place.
The first is an expansion of learning centers in the Middle East that are intended to help refugees and families that are displaced within their own borders. The second is a new tool that analyzes regional data to determine how investments in education will translate into economic growth for a particular region.
“HP believes that a high-quality education is a modern education, which is why we are putting cutting-edge technology in the hands of teachers and students in every corner of the planet,” said Gus Schmedlen, VP of Worldwide Education at HP. “Our announcements this week are part of a larger, ongoing campaign to bring learning into the Digital Age, no matter where students are and irrespective of their circumstances.”
New Learning Studios
Last year, during President Barack Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, HP said it would work with Digital Promise Global, the Global Business Coalition for Education, Microsoft and Intel to give refugee students access to modern technology as well as the opportunity to learn essential business and IT skills. HP has already deployed 60 similar Learning Studios in 15 countries.
But during this week’s BETT Show in London, the company announced plans to open three HP Learning Studios in Jordan and three more in Lebanon, specifically to help refugees acquire more knowledge and skills.
Each will come fully equipped with a suite of technology, including: Sprout Pro, an all-in-one, touch-driven 3D computing, scanning and project platform; ProBook x360 Education Edition convertible computers powered by Windows 10; and a Dremel 3D printer.
The core curriculum at each of these facilities will be built around HP LIFE e-Learning courses, which include 25 online modules on essential business and IT skills in seven languages.
Tools for driving investment in education
HP is also extending its commitment to education with the HP Education Data Command Center, a new software tool that can crunch massive amounts of socioeconomic data and apply predictive analysis algorithms to determine how education spending can have a direct impact on a nation’s GDP, or gross domestic product.
It applies a scientific forecast so that the tool can offer region-specific analysis of data from a variety of sources, such as the World Bank and United Nations. It takes into consideration a wide range of variables about students, such as their age, gender, location, income level and family status, so that the results are more refined.
The data is critical to the understanding of educational investment.
Recognizing that, HP will also release this week its Global Learning Economic and Social Index 2016 report, with support from Microsoft and Intel. The extensive study ranks every UN member state against various learning, economic and social criteria.
BETT continues through January 28 in London.
For the past three years, the foundation has been working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), USAID, the Italian Development Cooperation and other partners on a job-creation project, called “Mashrou3i,” (which in Arabic means, "my project") that fosters a spirit of entrepreneurialism and offers tools that can support fledgling business owners.
Today, the program launched into its second phase, a five-year mission to create some 6,000 jobs and reach more than 25,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in Tunisia.
“Every job created out of this initiative makes a positive impact on the individual’s life and helps support the local community,” said Markus Schwertel, Lead Government Relations Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at HP. “It truly empowers people to be successful.”
In addition to mentoring and technical skills training, participants also have access to HP LIFE, a free, online program of the HP Foundation, which features 27 interactive modules covering business and IT skills training in seven languages, including Arabic and French. It has been used by more than 640,000 people in over 200 countries and territories.
During the first phase of the project, about 1,250 jobs and 160 startup companies were created. In addition, more than 12,000 Tunisians took online courses through HP LIFE and nearly 1,400 aspiring entrepreneurs – more than half of whom were women – were coached to help develop, improve or finalize business plans.
The new influx of support, which includes a contribution of nearly $1 million cash and in-kind technology from HP and the HP Foundation, will help to expand reach, add staff and grow the project geographically into farther-flung governorates in Tunisia. It will also support the ongoing development of HP LIFE, where aspiring entrepreneurs can learn—for free—everything from nuts-and-bolts online classes in finance and sales forecasting to social media marketing and presentation skills.
“The Mashrou3i project is a scalable social innovation model with proven results,” said Jihed Jahdour, Managing Director, Tunisia, at HP. “There is an urgent need for innovative solutions that provide access to quality education and enable economic opportunity for everyone everywhere, wherever they are in the world. The second phase of the project signals the continuation of our successful partnership to foster employment opportunities for young men and women in Tunisia.”
HP, as a brand with a deep history in the “ed tech” sector is uniquely positioned to deploy its HP LIFE programming and technology into a region where there’s nearly immediate results.
“This has big implications for the future of learning all over the world, as technology continues to disrupt the existing models of education in the so called developed world as well,” HP’s Schwertel said.
“Instead of discussing how many and what kind of devices are needed in the classrooms, the question is, ‘What are the learning outcomes we want to achieve?” he said. “Engaging learning content for personalized learning like HP LIFE, coupled with technology, enables emerging market countries to leapfrog and to get access to top content of the same quality as anywhere else in the world.”
Every so often, a new product comes along and offers a new experience, something that goes beyond our imaginations. For HP, that was Sprout, a device that’s part PC, part scanner and part projector, built around the idea that the physical and digital worlds can be blended to open the door to new possibilities.
Admittedly, the concept of merging the two worlds – a process we refer to as Immersive Computing – can be tough for users to comprehend, forcing them to think about real-life applications where the experience could have an impact. Even the inventors themselves don’t always know what to make of their creations. They often imagine one purpose, then quickly discover the market envisions something else. So, they listen, adapt and sometimes reinvent the recently invented.
“The first product always has to be somewhat of an experiment,” said Brad Short, HP technologist and inventor of the original Sprout by HP. “We do as much as we can in user testing before releasing a product. But until it goes out in the wild and you get user data and real-life feedback, you don't know exactly where it's going or what features will be picked-up and what will resonate with customers."
This week, ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, HP unveiled a refreshed Sprout - called Sprout Pro by HP G2 – just two years after it was introduced as a consumer blended reality device and one year after its launch as a commercial unit. The new model sports a more attractive industrial design and a host of enticing features.
But more importantly, it comes with an intensified focus on commercial applications – primarily based on the real-life feedback that gave the inventors some insight about the product’s sweet spot.
What Short and HP heard was that, while consumers were interested in the idea of blending and manipulating 2D and 3D content with Sprout, educators and businesses saw a much bigger upside for the product.
Teachers told us they wanted to use Sprout’s overhead cameras, scanners and projectors to present a blend of physical and digital content to students while enabling more cross-school collaboration. Retailers were interested in embedding Sprout in self-service kiosks that could be used to personalize customer experiences. And manufacturers imagined using Sprout to manage operations and maintain quality control on factory floors.
The feedback helped us to understand the commercial possibilities for Sprout, inspiring us to go back to the drawing board to tackle Sprout’s reinvention. Education, in particular, has huge potential, Short said.
“It introduces students to the notion of 3D, he said. “To be able to scan something quickly and generate custom 3D content that they can manipulate is so immersive and instantaneous that it allows the learning process to be more immediate, to understand why that would be of value. Whole curriculums are now being created around that.”
Sprout Pro G2 is a full redesign of Sprout, intended to appeal to schools and businesses. It’s now sleeker and smaller to fit on most desktops. Resolution on its two monitors – a standard upright and a horizontal Touch Mat – has been aligned with both at near-1080p specs. And the old passive stylus has been replaced with an Active Pen, allowing pressure sensitive digital inking for annotation and design. HP also added several software improvements, including tighter Windows 10 integration and Workspace tools for capturing 2D and 3D content and sharing it with third-party apps.
Short said much of the work on Sprout Pro G2 happened on the back end – with technical tweaks to make operating systems and applications work better together to improve user experience. In the end, all the improvements are about removing obstacles and enabling schools and businesses to work with digital and physical content as part of their core activities.
And of course, as they do that, HP will watch, learn and take guidance from these innovators.
“The first generation of Sprout served the purpose of painting a picture or vision of what this step function in computing might look like where you are blending physical and digital content,” said Short. “With Sprout by HP G2, we’re taking that vision to the next level as part of a re-invention journey that is never-ending.”