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HP Slaps Own Back For Green Progress

But environmental groups claim the company could do better

HP has released a report listing its sustainability achievements in 2008 and claims it holds itself to higher green standards than other vendors – despite recent criticism from environmental groups.

Released this week, HP’s annual Global Citizenship Report, lists the company’s achievements in the areas of environmental sustainability, ethics, human rights other social issues.

Highlights for the last 12 months from HP’s perspective include claims that it was the first IT company to release greenhouse gas emissions associated with product manufacturing and the introduction of a printer made almost entirely from recycled plastic.

“HP’s commitment to global citizenship is based on the premise that keeping our business goals and values aligned drives innovation and growth,” said HP’s Global Citizenship vice president Gary Elliott. “Our leadership in areas such as supply chain transparency and environmental sustainability demonstrates our commitment to hold ourselves to higher standards of integrity, contribution and accountability.”

But despite the numerous environmental and ethical achievements listed in the report, HP has come in for recent criticism from environmental groups over its use of toxic materials in its products.

In a recent update to its Guide to Greener Electronics, Greenpeace said the world’s leading PC makers have failed to meet promises to ban use of vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by the end of this year.

In response, HP claimed to have eliminated BFRs from most of its products, but said that finding replacements for these compounds that meet performance and safety standards would take time. “Due to the lack of acceptable alternatives in necessary volumes, HP will not be able to deliver all new computing products launched in 2009 that are 100 percent BFR/PVC free,” the company said in statement.

Other environmental and sustainable achievements listed by HP in the report include winning an environmental design challenge from retail giant Walmart. HP managed to replace a PC’s conventional cardboard and plastic packaging with a reusable bag made from 100 percent recycled materials.

According to HP, the Walmart design reduced product packaging by 97 percent, conserved fuel and reduced CO2 emissions. “[The design] removed the equivalent of one out of every four trucks previously needed to deliver the notebooks to Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations around the country,” HP said.

HP was contacted to find out whether the Walmart design will be rolled out to other retailers and distributors but did not reply in time for this article.

According to HP, its Deskjet D2545 Printer, is the company’s first to be made almost entirely from recycled plastic. Around 83 percent of the printer’s total plastic weight is made from recycled plastics, and the device also uses HP 60 ink cartridges, which the PC maker says are molded from recycled plastic resins. “The printer is Energy Star qualified and features HP Smart Web Printing, which lets users easily combine portions of numerous web pages onto one page to save paper,” HP stated.