PALO ALTO, Calif. — Hewlett-Packard has unveiled a year-long training program aimed at providing the management staff of its suppliers in China with the knowledge to improve social and environmental responsibility practices in their factories.

The Focused Improvement Supplier Initiative (FISI) provides clear and measurable benefits for supplier factories, including increased productivity and quality and reduced worker turnover, injuries and illnesses.

Over the year, suppliers will work to minimize factory risks, share best practices, access social and environmental responsibility content experts in China, improve the skill sets of key factory managers, and demonstrate progress toward conformance to the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct. The code of conduct outlines standards to ensure that working conditions in the electronics industry supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible.

Business for Social Responsibility's China Training Institute and Foxconn will work with HP on the initiative.

According to an AMR Research report, HP has developed an edge in socially and environmentally responsible supply chain practices in the electronics industry. The company's effort is generating meaningful operating benefits today and looks likely to position HP for a unique competitive advantage in the future.

"HP operates one of the IT industry's largest supply chains, and we are eager to implement FISI to provide leading global suppliers with the training they need to make successful social and environmental responsibility improvements," said Bonnie Nixon-Gardiner, global program manager of supply chain social and environmental responsibility at HP.

All FISI participants are required to commit factory management staff, including human resources and environmental, health and safety managers, to attend monthly social and environmental responsibility training in the Shenzhen and Shanghai regions during the next year. FISI participants also are required to provide monthly reports on the progress of corrective actions, key factory metrics, trends and improvements, and to contribute case studies on corrective action efforts made at their facilities as a result of the training.

More information about HP's supply chain social and environmental responsibility programs is available in the 2006 HP Global Citizenship Report.