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HP Goes Green - Big Time

By Mike Davis, senior analyst at Ovum

Yesterday the Imaging and Print Group (IPG) of printing to services company HP announced its environmental stewardship programme. In its announcement, the division positioned all of its key technologies as being able to contribute to a reduction in environmental damage, and reduce costs for business.

The company stated that its commitment to environmental responsibility dates back to its founders William Hewlett and David Packard in the 1930s and the first environment control coordinator was appointed in 1970.

Reflecting on customer opinion that they want to be green ‘but it needs to be easy’, HP's IPG division has set out an ambitious range of targets, both for itself and in offering new and revised products. To this end the company is pushing its 'digitally green' alternatives to existing products, focusing on energy and resource savings.

For example, its digital publishing tools, which enable books to be printed on demand, were compared with the 30% of traditional book stock that goes unsold and is either pulped or placed in landfill. IPG will also provide a 'carbon footprint' calculator for consumers and SMBs, showing potential savings in power consumption, carbon emissions, volumes of paper and, of course, a potential cash value.

HP is starting internally, looking not only for energy efficiencies but also setting a target of diverting 87% of its waste from landfill. Examples include its Halo telepresence studios, which, using broadcast quality equipment and environments, are intended to give a 'same room' experience for participants, wherever in the world they are. HP has committed to quadrupling its internal Halo studios by the end of 2009, with a target of saving 20,000 trips by employees and 39,000 tonnes of CO2 being produced - and, of course, financial savings.

When companies appear to be bending over backwards to demonstrate their corporate and social responsibility (CSR), making being 'green' a competitive differentiator is a big challenge, particularly for the company that introduced the laser printer and appeared to consign the vision of a 'paperless office' to the waste paper bin.

However, HP has been pushing the message longer than the rest of the large IT infrastructure vendors and believes there is not a contradiction between growth targets for printer sales and printing, and maintaining its 'eco-friendly' direction. The measure of success for the stewardship programme may therefore be the paradox of more printers sold, but less paper printed.” /PR

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