HP announced this month the introduction of its Sustainable Bond Framework, which will be used to issue bonds to assist the business in financing initiatives that would help the company move toward a more sustainable future.
Unfortunately, transitioning to a more sustainable model is not inexpensive, and although the advantages to the environment are significant, financing the conversion is a difficult challenge to overcome.
HP, on the other hand, has shown for years that it is a pioneer in sustainability and that it is ready to use creative ways to accomplish its objectives. Considering that it accounts for half of HP’s recent $2 billion total debt issuance, this bond issue is not a little undertaking.
This week, let’s discuss the transition to a more sustainable future. The ZBook Firefly notebook computer, which purports to be the world’s lightest workstation to date, will serve as our last example of one of the most interesting items that HP has lately announced: the ZBook Firefly.
The Importance of Long-Term Sustainability
As a result of disturbing global occurrences such as climate change, ocean-borne plastics, contamination of our water and air, and out-of-control landfills, we are being overrun by long-term industrial behavior issues. These problems are on top of the fact that recycling programs have grown unprofitable and that there is an over-reliance on fossil fuels.
More than just official pledges will be required to address these issues. In order to achieve this, industries must alter their practices. Unfortunately, certain sectors, such as the livestock and petrochemical industries, are at very high risk as a result of their long-standing resistance to change, which has resulted in replacement technology now entering the market.
Artificial beef, electric cars, and, most recently, artificial milk, are examples of replacement technology in use today. (This final one is particularly interesting since it was created using artificial intelligence, and the Jeff Bezos-backed product is almost indistinguishable from normal milk.)
Replacement actions such as these demonstrate that if a particular sector is unable to solve its sustainability problems, the market will shift to new technology. HP does not want to be in that situation and has taken the initiative to position itself as the sustainability leader in its industry — personal computers and printers. Surprisingly, they are also at the top of the security rankings.
Sustainability Doesn’t Come at a Low Price
The aim is to develop goods that are completely recyclable, do not harm the environment while being manufactured, and consume part of the trash that now exists in our seas and landfills.
Unfortunately, altering a whole supply chain, manufacturing process, and development process, in order to achieve these objectives, is a time-consuming and expensive undertaking. The majority of businesses seem to be attempting to do this with their current research and development expenditures. Progress has been largely disappointing, especially considering how much we wanted a number of these issues resolved by now.
However, an inordinate amount of our operating income is needed. You’ll either have to increase prices, which is difficult in a competitive industry; reduce earnings, which will anger investors and likely result in a change in executive leadership to someone who is less concerned with sustainability; or hope to get away with faking it. Unfortunately, several well-known merchants have chosen to go with the final choice as well.
What Attracts Investors to Bonds
Debt funding this endeavor and targeting investors who not only want a return on their investment but also want to feel like they are making the world a better place to live becomes an attractive option, especially with interest rates at record lows.
As a result, the usage of bonds became a feasible option for a business like HP, which aspires to be the global leader in sustainability, to implement its strategy.
The Importance of a Bond Framework
However, in order to ensure that the funds collected would be allocated as promised to HP’s sustainability initiatives, the company has devised an innovative structure that includes members of HP’s sustainability, treasury, and finance teams as well as representatives from other organizations.
To ensure that no one is abusing the system, all efforts must be individually authorized by the Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer to ensure that no one is abusing the system
Finally, beginning in 2022, HP promises to publish an annual sustainability report that will include information on the projects that have been funded, the number of bond sales that have been completed, the expected impact of these efforts (where feasible), and a running balance of funds that have not yet been allocated — which may encourage third-parties to pitch sustainable processes or alternatives to HP in order to receive funding.
Goals for Long-Term Sustainability
According to HP, this effort is in line with and will help the company achieve its stated sustainability goals, which include net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 2040, achieving carbon neutrality and zero waste in HP operations by 2025, reaching 75 percent circularity (full recycling) of products by 2030, and preventing deforestation caused by non-HP products by 2040, among other things (HP currently pulls from sustainable resources for its offerings).
All of these objectives are lofty, and some of them, such as the circularity and carbon-neutrality objectives, would need significant and costly adjustments inside the organization.
Final Thoughts: The Importance of Participating in a Race
If you wish to effect change, you must first alter yourself and then persuade others to follow your example. Competitive pressure can do this, and by declaring that they aim to lead in sustainability (along with diversity and security), HP is essentially throwing down the gauntlet to make these important objectives a competition. We, humans, are competitive by nature, so if we can get businesses to compete on the issue of making the world a better place to live, we will be far more likely to achieve this important objective as a collective.
It would be great if these initiatives were given more importance by default, but we are, as a race, obsessed with our current position. As a result, although a significant number of individuals devote their lives to making the world a better place, they were not a powerful enough force to avoid the major environmental issues we now confront.
By making this a race, regardless of whether or not HP wins, other companies will be motivated to participate and evaluate their own efforts against HP’s. Due to the fact that these initiatives are presently market leaders, this is a tide that, if successful, should ultimately lift all boats at the same time. The effect on our environment should be much greater than anything that HP can do on its own if anything.
Bonds are being used to bridge the financing shortfall, which is fiscally innovative — but holding a contest to do so is social engineering. In terms of preserving the world, however, it is possible that the only way to generate enough momentum for the sustainability movement is to save energy. Now we need a few businesses to step forward and throw down the gauntlet.
The HP ZBook Firefly 14 G8 Mobile Workstation is a laptop with a 14-inch display.
While the employees at HP are notable for their diversity and commitment to sustainability, they also perform an outstanding job with regard to product design. I now use their Elite Folio laptop as my primary computer, and I’m captivated by their Dragonfly top-of-the-line consumer and executive offering. I’m also surrounded by HP printers, which have never failed to wow me in the past.
One of their most intriguing new items is the ZBook Firefly mobile workstation, which is available now. Over the course of my career, I’ve covered workstations, and HP has often surprised me with innovations such as casings created by automotive design firms for improved cooling and an aggressive workstation laptop effort.
The most recent device that grabbed my attention was this ZBook Firefly workstation, which is priced very similarly to the fully equipped Dragonfly laptop but focuses on professional performance in a 3 lb. class, all-day power offering rather than the Firefly’s amazing feature list.
If you’re an animator, architect, or engineer, this is unquestionably the lightest certified workstation you’ll find anywhere (to be viable, workstations need to be certified by the software vendors supported by the product).
Performance-wise, it significantly outperformed its high-end Dragonfly Max at the same price, even when compared to benchmarks derived from consumer efforts such as PCMark, 3DMark, and Geekbench, among others.
I was given one with a DreamColor display, which was created in collaboration with DreamWorks for animation and offers a degree of color fidelity that may be unparalleled in the category, which I tested.
However, given my inability to draw, I’d swap that display for their 1,000 nits Sure View display, which is outdoor viewable (it’s summer, and I want to work outdoors), and which has the greatest security feature I’ve tried so far if I had the choice.
I’m not in the target market for this laptop, so I gravitated toward the Elite Folio instead. However, if I were, the HP ZBook Firefly would be the product I’d pick — and I’ve chosen to make it the product of the week instead of the Elite Folio.