HP Responds to Greenpeace's Rooftop Graffiti Stunt


Images via Greenpeace

Yesterday Greenpeace clambered atop HP global headquarter's roof and scrawled out "Hazardout Products" in giant letters in order to bring attention to their concern that HP is backtracking on its promise to eliminate toxic materials from its computer products. The company issued a response to the action. Click through to see what HP has to say about it's tagged façade. Greenpeace says:

HP continues to put hazardous products on the market despite promises made years ago to phase out these toxic compounds. Apple has led the sector in phasing out of these toxic chemicals. HP should be following Apple’s lead, instead of breaking its commitment and delaying action.

Earlier this year, HP postponed its 2007 commitment to phase out of dangerous substances such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics from its computing products. Its delay shifts compliance up to two years from 2009 to 2011.

Apple’s new computer lines, virtually free of PVC and completely BFR free demonstrate the technical feasibility and supply chain readiness of producing alternatives to these hazardous substances. ... Greenpeace will not stand idly by while companies that commit to environmentally responsible action backtrack on commitments.


HP released this statement in response:

"For decades HP has been a leader in environmental responsibility and has adopted practices in product development, operations and supply chain that are transparent and help to reduce its environmental impact. HP has a comprehensive approach to environmental sustainability, with three main components: minimising our impact; helping our customers to improve their environmental performance; and driving towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

"This commitment includes reducing the use of BFR/PVC in our products until these materials are eliminated entirely. HP has introduced several new computing products this year that use less BFR/PVC than previous generations. This September, HP will release a BFR/PVC-free notebook. By fall 2010 all new commercial PC products released will be BFR/PVC-free. By the end of 2011, all new PC products released will be free of BFR/PVCs.

"The unconstructive antics at HP's headquarters today did nothing to advance the goals that all who care about the environment share. HP will continue its efforts to develop new products and programmes around the globe that help the company, its business partners and customers conserve energy, reduce materials use and reduce waste through responsible reuse and recycling. HP supports industry efforts to eliminate BFR and PVC because of potential e-waste issues. HP is a worldwide leader in e-waste recycling. HP has recycled 1 billion pounds of electronic products from 1987 to 2007 and has committed to recycling another billion pounds between 2008 and 2011."

HP has some big hiccups in its greener side (it's history on packaging alone is to be of note), and postponing a phase out of toxic materials in computers is certainly no way to win over the hearts of eco-minded consumers. If they want to minimize their impact, as they state, then keeping up with the Joneses (i.e. Apple) in getting rid of toxic materials in their gear sooner rather than later is a key way of doing that. It's great news that they plan on releasing at least one product as soon as this year that eliminates the toxins, though there is little excuse right now to postpone the phase out of toxins within others.

All electronics companies need to step up to the plate to make their products toxin free, energy efficient, and cradle-to-cradle in design in order to actually minimize the impact of consumer electronics as much as possible. We are still waiting - and clearly some less patiently than others, pushing the electronics industry to shake a leg already.

We're striving for a world that is green, not just greener. There is increasingly less wiggle room for stretching out the road to being sustainable. While Greenpeace's action itself is debatable, it certainly got people talking, which ultimately was the point of the whole escapade. And now, eyes are on HP to live up to this somewhat lengthened goal, as well as other eco-goals.

Follow Jaymi on Twitter: @JaymiHeimbuch
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Tags: Computing | Corporate Responsibility | Environmental Footprint | Greenpeace

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