Empowering a Cultural Shift to Accelerate a More Sustainable and Just Future

Empowering a Cultural Shift to Accelerate a More Sustainable and Just Future

by Ellen Jackowski Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer at HP

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Whether transforming a governmental response to #climatechange or driving a business response, empowering a cultural shift that enables individuals to have agency in the success of the strategy is key. This is a lesson @HP embraces. https://bit.ly/36j4tGZ @HPSustainable
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 10:45am

CAMPAIGN: HP, Inc. | Community

CONTENT: Blog

As renowned author and management consultant Peter Drucker is often credited with saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” The collective beliefs, actions and support within a shared culture determine whether a strategy succeeds or fails. Whether transforming a governmental response to climate change or driving a business response, empowering a cultural shift that enables individuals to have agency in the success of the strategy is key.

This is a lesson HP embraces and we are driving action.

Unleashing a 55K sustainable impact team

For the past two years, under the leadership of our CEO Enrique Lores, sustainable impact targets, including diversity, equity, and inclusion, have been part of the annual performance evaluation for our executive leadership team. Performance against these sustainable impact targets and other business objectives is tied to their total compensation.  

Now, for the first time, every HP employee is encouraged to set a sustainable impact goal as part of their FY21 goal setting process. This move emboldens every one of our employees worldwide to have a personal stake in the success of our sustainable impact strategy regardless of their role or title. Essentially, we’re empowering a 55,000-person sustainable impact team within our company.  

For employees, having agency to set their own sustainable impact goal gives them the ability to control what may otherwise feel beyond their control. The human, economic, and environmental impacts of climate change and systemic social inequalities can seem too massive and overwhelming to even know where to start. Individual actions can feel insignificant compared to the magnitude of the challenges. For employees working in roles not traditionally associated with sustainability, understanding how and where to contribute can be elusive. By giving employees the training and support to connect individual sustainable impact goals with their everyday job responsibilities, we’re creating a focused, connected network of impact that’s aligned with our corporate vision and strategy. Employees have greater control, meaning and purpose in their work, while helping accelerate our efforts to creating positive, lasting change at scale.

The goals can be as individual and unique as the employee. For example, making a commitment to champion equality in their team by organizing perspective-sharing events, or by actively engaging in the HP Racial Equality and Social Justice Task Force. Or joining a mentoring community, like BeChangeMaker, to help social entrepreneurs drive positive impact in communities around the world. Others could commit to expanding our closed loop recycling process, enabling more end-of-service takeback options, or empowering our customers’ transition to a circular, low-carbon economy. These are just a few ideas, but when we multiply that kind of individual action by hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of employees, you can quickly see the magnitude of the impact we can create.   

Turning personal interests into intentional action

For HP, empowering sustainable impact employee goal setting is a natural—albeit accelerated—progression. Sustainability and social innovation have always been core to HP’s culture. Our founders, Bill Hewlett and David Packard, were each recognized individually for their social and environmental passion and leadership, and collectively for embedding responsibility into the HP Way and rooting global citizenship in our corporate values in 1957.

The culture upon which HP was founded flourished over the decades with employees at every level stepping up to advance social and environmental responsibility. As early as 1966, for example, HP employee Walt Moy initiated a recycling program in Palo Alto for HP punched cards, one of the primary means of mass storage in the computer industry in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1975, an HP team designed and installed a solar heating system at our Sunnyvale, Calif., site—securing HP’s early adoption of renewable electricity alternatives. And more than two decades ago, over 100 HP employees united around a common cause and created the HP Sustainability Network.

Every HP sustainable impact innovation, from our closed loop recycling program, to our industry-leading ocean-bound plastics supply chain, to our service-based HP Instant Ink program, to our COVID-response digital divide initiative, HP Refresh, is the result of passionate, committed employees applying their imagination, skills, and expertise to their job to make a positive impact in the world.

Empowering this type of ingenuity for every employee in every job function—from finance and sales to logistics, engineering, and every area in between—will enable us to drive sustainable impact at accelerated speed and scale, opening new doors to transformative innovation, while bringing greater purpose and meaning to the work each of us does every day,

Accelerating a global bias toward action

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how intertwined and interdependent we are as a global society. Climate change and a pandemic know no borders, economic classes, or races. Yet the impacts of these global challenges are not proportionally felt. Low income, marginalized, and minority communities are more severely impacted with higher infection and mortality rates, accelerated food and housing insecurity, growing job losses and higher risk employment, and a widening digital divide. Collective global action is vital not just for recovery but in order for the whole of society to progress.  

This week The Davos Agenda at the World Economic Forum is mobilizing global leaders to shape the principles, policies, and partnerships that will create a more inclusive, cohesive, and sustainable future starting right now. To that end, HP is a founding member of WEF’s Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative, a coalition committed to improving racial and ethnic justice in the workplace. The initiative aims to operationalize and coordinate commitments to eradicate racism in the workplace and set new global standards for racial equity in business. It also provides a platform for businesses to collectively advocate for inclusive policy change.

Also at WEF, HP joined 61 global business leaders in committing to adopt and implement the International Business Council’s Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics. These metrics offer a set of universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity, and principles of governance that are considered most critical for business, society, and the planet. Standardizing metrics helps enable stakeholders to better evaluate and hold businesses accountable for ESG disclosure and performance.   

As this new decade unfolds, all of us—as individuals and business leaders—need to meet this consequential moment with urgency and action. Wherever we live we share the same world. There is no kicking this problem down the road for future generations to fix. We are the ones tasked with igniting a cultural shift that not only averts the worst impacts of climate change, but creates a regenerative, inclusive, and equitable future for all. We are empowered to change the course of history. We know the actions we must take to solve this crisis. What commitment will you make to create sustainable impact?