HP CEO: Help us save the world one tree at a time... by printing stuff (with our kit, of course)

Bossman helps the poor saps who can't see the wood for the trees

Canalys Channels Forum The reputation printing has built over the decades is all wrong. It is actually good for the natural world – just ask the boss of HP, the planet's largest maker of print products.

"Printing has a connotation of a technology that is not environmentally friendly, which is actually not the case and we are driving that message very strongly," said incoming HP Inc CEO Enrique Lores, who will still serve as the president of the printing division until 1 November.

Tens of millions of used cartridges are dumped in landfill sites every year, fossil fuels are burned to power the hardware and there are also the implications of paper production.

Actually, scrap that last one. Maybe. At least according to Lores, who was speaking at the annual Canalys Channels Forum in Barcelona, attended by El Reg.

"People have the concept that when customers use pages or paper to print, they are killing trees, they're using trees and they're really helping deforestation in the world. It is actually the opposite."

He said HP will monitor the types of paper used in its printers and when paper "has not come from forests that have been planted to become paper, we will actually be planting trees to compensate for that.

"We are going to make printing forest-positive, which we think is an important value to help and contribute to the impact that we can have in the world."

Canalys CEO Steve Brazier said he often told his own children to stop printing in the volumes they did. Lores advised: "You should tell them if they want more trees, they should print more."

An HP PR handler told us its initiative relates only to HP-branded paper, and that it reached the goal of "100 per cent zero deforestation" with its "HP-branded paper two years ahead of schedule", and is "on track to achieve zero deforestation of its paper-based packaging by 2020".

He added: "The deforestation commitment means that all HP-brand paper and paper-based product packaging will be derived from certified and recycled sources by 2020, with a preference for virgin fiber from certified sources of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit that promotes responsible management of the world's forests."

HP prices for its branded sheets seem to be roughly 25 per cent more than alternatives, so there is an associated cost.

Further, the company said it has a "vision" to sell "carbon-neutral" tech and claimed customers have reported a one-third decline in "carbon emissions, energy consumption, and cost per device with HP's Managed Print Services 3".

Specific HP products are also built using up to 30 per cent closed-loop recycled plastics, and the latest LaserJet A4 printer and EcoSmart black toner comes with "lower melt temperatures that result in lower energy consumption", the PR man added.

So HP is talking up its green credentials, and there is good business sense in doing so because questions about environmental policies frequently show up in tender documents, at least in the public sector. Also, consumers have become increasingly sensitive about their own carbon footprint.

Printing has historically been the company's profit engine, with HP ink once said to be seven times more pricey than a litre of Dom Pérignon.

HP has seen big competition from cloned or remanufactured cartridge makers and this year the company has been forced into a corner. As revealed by The Reg weeks ago, HP is overhauling its sales model: it will charge more upfront for hardware that allows people to use non-HP supplies, and will also sell boxes with lower prices for customers that buy their ink and toner exclusively from HP.

HP's incoming printer boss recently claimed that using those cloned or remanufactured supplies was bad for security and the environment, with 97 million cartridges finding their way into landfill each year.

So next time you print, take a moment to think: are you helping HP, the environment, both or neither? ®

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