Last week Frances Edmonds, the Head of Sustainability at HP Canada joined Sustainable Waterloo Region and its members for a conversation over breakfast at the Delta Hotel in Waterloo ON.

The primary focus of her discussion was the need to move away from a linear economy – one in which we as consumers ‘take, make, and dispose’ of products – and more towards a circular economy, where the materials used to create products can be recaptured after the products are dismantled. One important link in this process is to review the way procurement is handled, and invest in using it as a tool to improve environmental sustainability.

Frances was able to show the event attendees that developing a circular economy in a business is not difficult, and was equipped with multiple examples of HP’s accomplishments in being more sustainable.

HP analyzed where their business produces the most GHGs, and found that the highest greenhouse gas footprint is created at the consumer level through product usage. One way that HP is trying to combat this is through HP Instant Ink, a subscription program where you pay for printing based on the pages printed. HP ships the ink cartridges to you when your printer signals it is low on ink. Additional perks include recycling envelopes for the cartridges, allowing for a less waste as a consumer, and more sustainable means of providing printing services as a company. You can read more about it here.

The second highest greenhouse gas footprint is created during the supply chain sourcing. One way they have reduced this is by closing the loop on plastic sourcing for the ink cartridges – the cartridges are recycled to create new ones with additional plastic coming from water bottles as well, tackling two sources of waste at once.

Frances also highlighted innovation as a key component in becoming sustainable; with technologies such as 3D printing, there are a multitude of sustainable options that become available. Printing small repair parts on demand has become an option, rather than storing and shipping them across the globe. This can reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and eliminate waste.

Companies such as HP are not only setting an example to their consumers and competitors, but are providing proof that innovative ideas hold value that can create impact beyond the business. The implementation of a circular economy encourages more reuse and recycling, and is a means to create a global impact on the economy and the environment.

To learn more about Frances’ presentation, click here.

To read more about HP’s sustainability purchasing guide, click here.