Making the commitment to 100% renewables in March 2016 gave employees in the new entity a sense of purpose
In November 2015, the venerable Hewlett-Packard Corporation, formed by David Packard and Bill Hewlett in a Palo Alto, California garage in 1939, split into two new companies: Hewlett Packard Enterprises and HP Inc.
The latter company, which is focused on the printing and personal computing market, has 50,000 employees and a $55bn market capitalisation. Nate Hurst, chief sustainability and social impact Officer at HP Inc, says making the 100% renewables goal in March 2016 was a good way for the new entity to put a sustainability stake in the ground.
While there’s no specific deadline for reaching 100%, the interim goal is 40% renewable usage by 2020. Membership in the RE100 organisation proved invaluable in the goal-setting process. “It was great to work with likeminded companies and share learnings from our peers in order to set the right targets to improve our operations,” Hurst says. “Collaboration with industry leaders helps build a collective strong voice that’s needed to drive a low-carbon economy.”
But one of the most unexpected and salutary benefits of making the pledge, Hurst says, was the reaction internally. Energy efficiency took on renewed importance, and employees responded with enthusiasm and suggestions.
“The commitment to the goal by top leadership became like a kind of North Star,” he says. “It has definitely changed the conversations between operations and facilities managers, and we also noticed right away how many employees were excited about seeing this goal.”
Hurst says this was important for morale, and also for cohesion and a feeling of pride in the new company. “I think there was some general uncertainty and this goal set a tone, saying we absolutely think pursuing 100% renewables is essential – internally, to our customers, and for the company that HP wants to be and is reinventing itself to be.”
Hurst says the 100% renewables goal also feeds into employees’ belief in HP’s commitment to a circular economy. He says the renewables goal bridged what might be considered facilities and operations ideas – efficiency, energy use, recycling – to internal design and innovation aims around reuse and products-as-services. “The momentum we got allows us all – existing HP engineers and new talent – to see our business as a connected ecosystem.”
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