HP was instrumental in organizing the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC), which summarizes the social and environmental standards for the IT supply chain. The EICC was first released in October 2004 with revisions in 2005. Companies that have adopted include: Celestica, Cisco, Dell, Flextronics, Foxconn, HP, IBM, Intel, Jabil, Lucent, Microsoft, Sanmina SCI, Seagate, Solectron, and Sony.
Beyond establishing a supply chain code of conduct for itself, HP also conducts audits of its suppliers to make sure they are adhering to standards set by the EICC. HP has conducted over 400 audits of its first-tier suppliers. In 2007, HP conducted 150 supplier audits. Of these, 92 were follow-ups to verify progress against open non-conformances found during an initial review.
"HP promotes sustainable improvement in our suppliers' factories," said Glazer. "We believe that focusing on management systems and analyzing the root causes of non-conformances increases the probability of lasting change. To achieve this, in addition to auditing our suppliers, we provide training and support to build their internal capabilities."
HP's SER program follows four phases that promote continual improvement in supplier companies. HP developed a network of local internal auditing teams backed by independent verification in the regions where they purchase. However, HP does not rely solely on supplier certification to external standards, because they have observed that standards can vary among certified companies and that suppliers without certification can have equally rigorous SER management systems.
"HP has made supply chain responsibility one of its three global citizenship priorities," explained Schilling at the ICCR. "Over the past few years we have seen the company put substantial resources into monitoring, training and capacity building to improve the social and environmental performance of its suppliers."
Schilling continued, "We appreciate HP's focus on the root causes of violations of its supplier code of conduct and systemic solutions rather than quick remediation plans that aren't sustainable. Clearly, some of the key challenges, such as excessive hours and lack of workers' right to organize and bargain collectively, have not been solved in many locations. But, the company is engaged with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to find ways to address systemic injustices."
HP also announced it is starting a HERproject program at a supplier's site in Cuidad Jaurez, Mexico, where a majority of the manufacturing activity for HP takes place. The HERproject (Health Enables Returns project) offers women's reproductive health services and education. Pegatron Technology and Foxconn, two suppliers for HP in Cuidad Jaurez, will partner with HERproject to help meet women's physical and mental health needs. HP is also planning to launch a HERproject site in China as well. HP is initiating the project through a partnership with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).
"Advancing women's health issues in the supply chain is another step that HP has taken to further SC SER within the technology industry," explained Glazer. "It is consistent with our core values to be a force for positive change in the communities where we work and live. Investing in SC SER and supplier diversity reflects our global citizenship principles and meets our stakeholder expectations."