It’s a saying in business that “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It turns out this is a common misquotation, most often attributed to famed statistician and author W. Edwards Deming. But it still seems true, doesn’t it? We think it’s particularly true of a company’s environmental impact: you can’t effectively reduce your impact, unless you measure what it is. We’re glad to see Hewlett-Packard agrees.
For the past twelve years, Hewlett-Packard has published its annual “Global Citizenship Report.” This report details the company’s efforts with regard to ethical governance, responsible treatment of workers throughout its supply chain, and (of course) environmental sustainability.
This month, as part of its 2012 annual report, HP became the first company in its industry to publish its complete carbon footprint. This is a commendable development for a company in the tech sector, the rapid growth of which goes hand-in-hand with an increase in energy demand. Need proof? As of 2012, the data centers powering the Internet use more electricity than the auto industry.
Measuring the carbon footprint of a multinational corporation is a massive undertaking, but HP has proven that it can be done. Beyond providing information about HP, its real value is that it encourages other companies to measure and publish their footprint. In this way, other companies can take steps to reduce their footprint––and be held accountable by the public if they do not.
Now that HP can measure its carbon footprint, the company is already taking steps to manage it. This includes the development of their “Moonshot” servers, which were released in April 2013 with the promise of using “89 percent less energy [and] 80 percent less space… compared to traditional servers.” This is great news for those massive data centers in Iowa (which is, you guessed it, the birthplace of W. Edwards Deming… Coincidence?).
In addition to releasing its own carbon footprint, HP has developed a site that allows individuals and businesses to calculate the environmental costs of their printing and computer usage. We encourage you to check it out here. Please consider the environment before printing this blog!