COP28: HP Plans to Achieve Net-Zero Emissions by 2040

Narayanan Venkataraman (KV), the Head of Omni Channel for Middle East, Saudi Arabia, and Africa at HP, says the company also plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its value chain by 50% by 2030

Please tell us about your efforts that ensure a sustainable and equitable digital future. What is your commitment to combat climate change?
At HP, we aim to become the most sustainable and just Technology Company by 2030. Our strategy around sustainability revolves around combating climate change, protecting human rights and accelerating digital equity, which is one of the top priorities for us.

HP is taking urgent and decisive action to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the entire value chain, give back more to forests than we take, and innovate products and services for a more circular economy. This starts with the industry’s most sustainable portfolio of products and solutions, with every new PC and printer launched last year containing recycled materials. According to our latest Sustainable Impact report, HP has reduced our absolute carbon footprint by 18% since 2019; reduced single-use plastic packaging by 55% compared to 2018; and counteracted deforestation for 32% of all paper used in HP products and services towards a goal of 100%.

Eventually, HP would like to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our HP value chain by 50% by 2030; achieve net-zero emissions by 2040; achieve 75% circularity for our products and packaging by 2030; and achieve zero waste in our Print operations by 2025. We are proud to offer sustainable solutions and technologies that help reduce consumption and conserve resources, with benefits for teams and the planet.

Education is one of HP’s prime areas of focus, and we want to accelerate digital equity. Our aim is to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030 and enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025 – one that we have already achieved ahead of reaching 103.9 million in 2022. To achieve the set goals, HP has initiated a series of impactful programs to address various educational and skill development needs, especially in the Middle East. These include collaborations with partners like Cambridge for an EdTech fellowship in the Gulf region and HP IDEA, which focuses on digital pedagogy for Arabic-speaking educators.

Notably, the HP Gaming Garage, through our partnership with edX, the leading global online learning platform, offers free online Professional Certificate programs in Esports Management, Game Design, and Programming, preparing learners for careers in gaming, media, and ICT sectors in the Arabic language. HP also offers free business skills training through HP LIFE, featuring over 30 self-paced courses. Additionally, the HP Futures initiative, developed with the Global Learning Council, engages education leaders to explore technology-driven solutions for bridging the digital divide in education.

What are the challenges in combatting global environmental issues?
Addressing global environmental issues presents a whole set of challenges. Firstly, limited access to funding, technology, and expertise is a significant obstacle. Developing nations may struggle to obtain the necessary resources to effectively tackle environmental problems. Secondly, environmental challenges often extend beyond national boundaries, which means, it is important for nations to collaborate closely with one another.

However, disparities in economic development and political priorities may affect cohesive global initiatives. Next, the rapid expansion of the global population, coupled with increased urbanization, contributes to heightened resource consumption, habitat loss, and environmental degradation – which can all present additional challenges in our fight against global environmental issues. Not only that, insufficient public awareness and engagement on environmental issues can impede support for policies and initiatives related to combatting environmental issues. Fostering public understanding and participation is critical for sustainable solutions.

Indeed, combatting these environmental issues requires a multifaceted and collaborative approach. The collective resolve to bridge gaps, both political and technological, will play a pivotal role in steering humanity towards a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence with our planet.

What sort of trends do you foresee in the areas of sustainability and technology?
In 2024 and beyond, in the area of sustainability, HP foresees that there will be an increase in circular economy initiatives – more and more companies will explore and invest in circular economy models. This involves designing products with a focus on reuse, recycling, and reducing environmental impact throughout the entire product lifecycle. At HP, we are already ahead of this journey as we constantly innovate how our products and solutions are made, delivered and used, specifically by advancing circularity across our portfolio – and we will continue to enhance our dedication in the upcoming year.

Additionally, it will be unsurprising to see increased emphasis on e-waste reduction. With the quick turnover of electronic devices, there will be a focus on minimizing e-waste. HP will continue to remain focused on expanding our efforts to minimize e-waste by promoting recycling programs, refurbishing initiatives, and responsible disposal practices. We have the HP Renew EMEA program, which offers an extensive portfolio of refurbished HP computing products.

These products offer the same reliability and performance as new HP products and have undergone a thorough HP refurbishment and testing process to restore their functional quality. Next, we foresee that there will be more renewable energy adoption. There has been a growing trend in the technology sector to transition to renewable energy sources for power operations.

Companies will continue to invest in and commit to using renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint. We are proud to say that at HP, 55% of our global electric consumption will come from renewable sources in 2022. We have also reduced our carbon footprint by 18% since 2019, and we aim for this figure to keep growing.

In the area of technology, HP foresees that AI will change the role that personal computers play in our daily lives. We have rapidly entered a moment when technology is moving at the speed of imagination and creativity has no constraints. HP devices and services will be at the centre of this AI revolution. At HP, we see the biggest opportunity in personal systems, and we believe there will be new product categories created and new digital services. AI will also improve internal productivity.

HP is highly enthusiastic about the field of generative AI, which will enable personalized experiences for our customers and reduce the latency because it will be at the edge, protect the data better, improve the security and eventually reduce the cost. Thus, we believe that one’s personal computer will become a personal companion that will assist, analyze, and anticipate the needs of customers.

How are you aligning your sustainability initiatives in line with the themes of COP28?
COP28 this year incorporates four cross-cutting themes – Technology and Innovation, Inclusion, Frontline Communities and Finance. Out of these themes, Technology & Innovation and Inclusion are those that HP’s sustainability initiatives must speak to. First and foremost, it is worth noting that our sustainability efforts go beyond combating climate change. At HP, we want to protect human rights and accelerate digital equity. We do this through empowering lifelong learning around the world through strategic partnerships, technology and solutions, and targeted programs.

We support curriculum and technology solutions for women and girls and other traditionally marginalized groups. In June this year, we partnered with the Expo School Program to launch the Changemakers Challenge, an initiative aimed at empowering girls in science. We invited students between 8 and 15 years of age to find solutions to real-world problems such as global warming, climate change, waste management and environmental sustainability. The four winners, selected from a pool of over 100 submissions, will receive mentorship sessions with our management team at HP.

In fact, the four winners will be presenting their ideas at COP28. Not only does this partnership emphasize the role of technology and innovation in addressing environmental challenges, but it also promotes gender inclusivity in STEM fields, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive representation in environmental solutions.

HP is also providing free business skills training for students, entrepreneurs and lifelong learners through HP LIFE, featuring over 30 self-paced courses. This signifies the integration of innovative digital tools and technology in education, particularly in the development of practical skills for entrepreneurship. Providing this training to students, entrepreneurs and lifelong learners also contributes to inclusive economic empowerment, fostering skills development for a diverse range of individuals.

We also have the HP Gaming Garage initiative. Through our partnership with edX, the leading global online learning platform, HP Gaming Garage offers free online Professional Certificate programs in Esports Management, Game Design, and Programming, to bring useful skills to learners globally and prepare learners for careers in gaming, media, and ICT sectors. HP covers the full cost of enrollment in the certificate track for all learners.

This offering of ours not only represents an innovative approach to skill development in cutting-edge sectors but also demonstrates our commitment to making high-quality education accessible to a broad audience, contributing to inclusivity in the gaming, media and ICT sectors.

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