The Green Enterprise: HP
April 15, 2009, 4:05pm PDT | Length: 00:10:39
Hewlett-Packard plans to cut its global energy use 20 percent by 2010. Correspondent Sumi Das looks at "green" strategies the company is implementing to accomplish its goal, such as designing new energy-efficient datacenters and helping make cities more eco-friendly through IT. She also talks to Bonnie Nixon, HP's director of sustainability, about the company's recycling efforts and its plan to eliminate unsafe materials inside its PCs.
Sumi Dos: Hello, I'm Sumi Dos for ZDnet. Since HP was founded in 1939 by Stanford classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, innovation has been at the core of the company's DNA. Now executives and engineers are following in the footsteps of their former leaders by developing green technologies to help push the tech industry forward. Today we're going to see what they're doing to be more sustainable. It's all next on the green enterprise.
Music Sumi Dos: From green PCs to energy efficient data centers, HP is working on strategies to make its products more sustainable throughout their life cycle. Today executives will show us some of the technologies they're developing for customers, and projects they're creating internally. And finally, we'll talk to Bonnie Nixon, director of sustainability. She'll tell us about the company's recycling plans and what they're doing to eliminate unsafe materials inside their PCs. First, it's a trip to the company's data center research facility, where they're working on ways to make the data center more energy efficient.
Music Sumi Dos: Data centers are known as energy wasters. By some estimates, consuming up to 2% of the world's power. So it's essential to create green alternatives inside the data center. Brian Brette works on data center strategy for the company. He says with the advent of multicore CPUs and dense blades in a rank, data centers consume much more electricity and generate more heat, so they're hotter than ever. The common fix is to try to use air conditioning to cool them down. But this is energy inefficient. But Brette believes HP might have an answer. Brian Brette: Our approach is to really work with customers to figure out how to do portfolio management best, how to use as few applications and as few consumers as you need to, to get the job done. So the single best thing you can do to reduce energy is to not turn the computer on in the first place. The second thing you can do is to turn it off when you're not using it, and really what we do in virtualization and management really help you understand when you can turn computers on and off to save energy. Sumi Dos: HP is also working on green innovations inside their labs. One idea is making entire cities more sustainable using IT. Tundracon Pattelle Assumed spelling is one of the deep thinkers of HP. Pattelle is developing strategies where IT will have a net positive impact on the environment. He calls it the IT ecosystem.
Music Sumi Dos: So give us an example of how sustainable services can help people around the world. Tundracon Pattelle: Next week I'm off to India. I can go to Indian Railways web site and get reservations for travel in India on Indian Railways. Why shouldn't the 700 million in India have access. Today they would take a rickshaw and go to the train station. They can ill afford to do that. If we can get them IT service at the right price point we would bring them on board. Imagine the impact we would have on the environment with such a service. Sumi Dos: A lot of people would assume, though, if you put IT services in the hands of 700 million people, the populace of India, that energy consumption is going to sky rocket. But you're saying that's not the case. Tundracon Pattelle: My concession is Web 2.0 is not about watching movies on -- Bollywood movies on hand held, the populus I am talking about want to meet their fundamental needs. They just want an extension of what they already have on their cell phone, as an example. Sumi Dos: You have the sketch that you've actually created that illustrates what you're talking about. Can you explain it to us? Tundracon Pattelle: So in the sketch I talk about what I call supply and demand side management. We have a pool of available energy. My contention is we should preserve this available energy for future generations to enjoy, so they can have the same qualities of life. Indeed, that is the definition of sustainability. And our vision is that if we use the IT ecosystem to get people off the physical bus, onto the IT ecosystem through sustainable services we'll have an impact. And if we use the IT ecosystem then we can provision the resources in a city such that we use just what we want, no more, no less. Sumi Dos: HP is one of the leaders in printer technology, and a lot of people use their cartridges. But what is the company doing to cut down on waste.
Music Sumi Dos: Michelle, HP is really known for its printer technologies. And some people might be curious, you know, what happens to all of those printer cartridges after they're used up. This sort of explains what happens, right?
Michelle: Yes, it does. These are original MD HP ink jet print cartridge, and we take the print cartridges and we shred them. And then from there we actually take them through further processing from a recycling perspective, and we add water bottles for strength. And then we turn that into a material that looks something like this. And then we take that material and we actually mold them into new ink jet print cartridges. And this is what you actually call true closed loop recycling. Sumi Dos: It comes full circle?
Michelle: Absolutely. Sumi Dos: Are all of the print cartridges that are bought by customers that are on the store shelves today, are those all made out of recycled old cartridges?
Michelle: Not yet. We actually -- last year in 2008 announced that we have shipped over 250 million cartridges with recycled plastics in them, made from our closed loop recycling process. But not all of our print cartridges contain recycled content.
Music Sumi Dos: Well HP is helping its customers become more sustainable, the company is also working toward a greener future internally. One idea is a project called Live Green.
Music Sumi Dos: Where did the idea for Live Green come from?
Interviewee: The idea actually came from HP employees. They've been doing things to reduce the carbon footprint for years, so we just decided to create an umbrella program to reach out to more employees. Sumi Dos: So tell us what it's all about. I mean, if I go to the Live Green internet site, what do I see, what do I experience.
Interviewee: Several things. First of all, you can take a pledge. So you come on line and you pledge to reduce the amount of energy that you're using at home and at the office. There's also a series of tips that are sent out to employees on a weekly basis. Sumi Dos: How easy is this to use, what does it involve?
Interviewee: Most of it is online, so they just go onto the HP intranet and they can find the tips there, all of the information is there, including a carbon calculator where they can actually go to the Energy Star web site and identify how to reduce their own carbon footprint.
Music Sumi Dos: One of the most important initiatives at HP is their efforts in recycling. We sat down with Bonnie Nixon, the company's director of sustainability to get her take on recycling efforts at HP, and what they're doing to reduce toxic chemicals inside their products.
Music Sumi Dos: Can you tell us about HP's recycling program. There are so many products, and toxic waste is obviously a big concern. What is HP doing to curb it? Bonnie Nixon: First and foremost, HP is designing products so that they're easy to recycle, easy to dissemble, easy to reuse. Today we have recycled more than a billion pounds, and in the twenty years that we've had our recycling facilities in place. And we've got a goal in only the three years, from 2007 to 2010, to recycle another billion pounds. Sumi Dos: Do HP PCs contain PVC insulation, and BFRs, and if so, how are you changing that manufacturing process. Bonnie Nixon: So HP has a design for environment program, where we're constantly looking to phase out materials of concern. And manual of our products are anywhere from 75 to 100 % recyclable. And we have recycling facilities around the world that take those products, grind them up, reuse them. Sumi Dos: There was a report recently on 60 Minutes on E waste. In this story we saw a recycler that was shipping CRTs illegally to Asia. Yet the people who were bringing products, electronics, to this recycler, obviously thought that they were doing the right thing. What assurances can you make people who are using your recycling facilities, that these things are being disposed of properly or recycled properly. Bonnie Nixon: What's important is that consumers and certainly our business customers recognize that HP is completely committed to responsible recycling. So just by going on Hp.com/recycle you can find out how to get the products back to us, you know, find easy places to drop off the products, find easy shipping solutions to get it back to us. And we'll make sure that it's handled responsibly. CRTs are one of the -- the materials of concern, and there are very specific locations. In fact, one of them is in Singapore, outside of Singapore, and Malaysia, where they actually get reused into glass, again. And so making sure that it gets to the right facilities there, as well as ones that are in the Americas is important. Sumi Dos: Bonnie, thank you very much. Bonnie Nixon: Thanks so much, Sumi, it's been a pleasure talking to you.
Music Sumi Dos: As you've just seen, HP is researching and deploying green technologies within their company and for their customers. Stay tuned. In the weeks ahead we'll show you what other companies are doing to green their enterprise.
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