Responding department: Ethics & Compliance
Stock exchange symbol: (HPQ:US)
Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?
Yes. Stand-Alone. Global Human Rights Policy [link]
Other related policies include:
- Contingent Worker Code of Conduct
- HP Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Policy
- HP Global Citizenship Policy
- HP Harassment-free Work Environment Policy
- HP Nondiscrimination Policy
- HP Open Door Policy
- HP Standards of Business Conduct
- HP Supplier Code of Conduct (Electronic Industry Code of Conduct)
- HP Supply Chain Social and Environmental Responsibility Policy
- Partner Code of Conduct
How are human rights governed in your company?
HP has Board and executive-level committees that are responsible for monitoring any human rights or ethical concerns that might arise from HP’s activities. The Nominating, Governance and Social Responsibility Committee (the “NGSR Committee”) is responsible for overseeing, making recommendations, and reporting to the full Board with respect to HP’s policies regarding corporate social responsibility and global corporate citizenship, including human rights, as described under “Corporate Governance—Board Structure and Committee Composition—Nominating, Governance and Social Responsibility Committee.”
How are human rights managed within your company?
HP’s expectations for respecting human rights are included in our Standards of Business Conduct, our Global Human Rights Policy and several specific policies and codes of conduct which guide our business practice. HP’s Ethics and Compliance Office, within the Office of the General Counsel, oversees implementation of our Standards of Business Conduct as well our global human rights policy and designs processes to prevent, mitigate, and remediate related management, labor relations, employee health and safety, and global trade. We conducted our first human rights risk assessment in 2013 tailored to our business. The assessment identified potential risk areas related to activities across HP’s value chain—covering our own operations, as well as our suppliers, partners, contractors, and the sale and use of our products. We assessed risks for their likelihood and severity, and the leverage that HP can apply to address the issue. The most frequent risk we identified was protecting the legitimate right to privacy of our customers, partners, and employees. Advancements in technology and business models are outpacing governments’ ability to agree on how to regulate the growing data industry. Companies cannot therefore rely simply on compliance and must exercise ethics and social responsibility to protect data and the individuals who entrust them with their information. HP is recognized as an industry leader for its comprehensive privacy program. The second-most revelent risk area our assessment uncovered was labor practices associated with IT supply chains. Issues such as factory employee health and safety and excessive working hours are persistent challenges in IT supply chains, which HP is aggressively targeting in our Supply Chain Responsibility program. During 2013, we added a human rights module to HP’s Standards of Business Conduct annual refresher training. Taken by 99.7% of active employees, the training is designed to raise awareness of potential issues that employees may encounter.
What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?
When considering our business decisions we seek and strive to consider the perspectives of shareholders, customers, and other stakeholder. For that reason, and consistent with our policy, we review our business decisions when questioned by stakeholders and investigate any allegations that our decisions are inconsistent with our commitment to human rights. Our commitment to respect human rights also extends to the communities where we operate. From local community and employee-engagement programs to large-scale social investment programs, we focus the collective power of our people, portfolio, and partnerships for greatest impact. Our most important feedback mechanism for our employees is the annual, confidential Voice of the Workforce (VoW) survey, available online in 28 languages. Our grievance mechanism is available to employees, partners, suppliers, customers and the public making it easy to ask questions or report a concern.
Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?
The company selected the following from a check list:
- Health (including environmental health, workplace health & safety)
- Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
- Forced labour and human trafficking (including in supply chains)
- Sexual harassment
- Freedom of association and trade union rights
- Freedom of expression and/or right to privacy / digital rights
- Racial and ethnic minorities
- Children (including child labour)
- Migrant workers
Actions on forced labour and human trafficking
In November 2014, HP took a major step forward in expanding its leading supply chain program on preventing exploitative labor practices and forced labor. HP was the first company in the IT industry to require direct employment of foreign migrant workers in its supply chain. The additional standard combines this direct employment requirement with rights relating to worker retention of passports and personal documentation and the elimination of worker-paid recruitment fees. The HP Foreign Migrant Worker Standard was developed in consultation with Verité, an international nonprofit that promotes safe, fair, and legal working conditions, and has specific expertise in combatting forced labor in supply chains.
How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?
HP reports publicly on its human rights commitments, progress, collaborations, allegations, grievance mechanism, and management in its annual Living Progress Report published in May. HP engages and trains its employees annually through the Standards of Business Conduct training program.
What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?
Grievance mechanisms are a basic part of businesses’ human rights programs and should serve individuals and communities who may be adversely impacted by a company’s activities. Grievance mechanisms serve two main purposes: identifying potential adverse human rights impacts, and addressing the grievance through investigation and remedy as appropriate.
Having an effective grievance mechanism in place is important to businesses as it enables them to identify and remedy problems early on, before they become compounded and potentially escalate. HP provides several means for employees, customers, and stakeholders to file a grievance. Our main reporting channels are:
• A toll-free number, available to people inside and outside the company, to report grievances anonymously
• By e-mail to our Ethics and Compliance Office through our Standard of Business Conduct mailbox
In addition to formal grievances, we track and investigate potential human rights allegations that are brought to our attention through other channels, such as stakeholder engagements and media relations. We track all reported grievances and allegations to closure regardless of the source. Formal grievances are reviewed by the Ethics and Compliance Office and the Audit Committee, at least quarterly. Insights gained from reported grievances and allegations are incorporated into improvement plans within the appropriate organization and functions, such as our Supply Chain Responsibility program and our Human Rights program. During 2013, HP received 22 human rights-related grievances and allegations including media investigations and customer concerns not raised as formal grievances. This number includes grievances brought to our attention related to our suppliers. All of these events have been investigated and responded to, and all but five have been closed.
Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?
HP shares our experiences and learns from those of companies and organizations inside and outside of our industry. Examples of collaboration within our industry and across others include:
- UN Global Compact
- Global Business Initiative for Human Rights (GBI)
- Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and the BSR Human Rights Work Group
- The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH)
- Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC)
- Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP)
- Social Accountability International (SAI)
- Public Private Alliance for Responsible Mineral Trade (PPA)
- Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI)
Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.
The following represents the most significant elements of our Human Rights program since June 2011: 1. Updated the HP Human Rights Policy and established a centralized program with dedicated resources. 2. Conducted our first human rights impact assessment in 2013 and identified privacy and our supply chain as the primary risk areas. 3. Expanded our awareness raising, capability building, standards, collaboration, and programs in supply chain responsibility and privacy as we grew our ability embed the UN Guiding Principles into our primary risk areas.
What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?
Relevant to our primary risk areas in supply chain responsibility and privacy, the key obstacle and challenge is to socialize and normalize HP approach across the industries that we touch in these areas. Collectively leveling the playing field of expectations and policy will drive broader adoption, awareness, capacity and performance. Our level of collaboration with industry organizations demonstrates our commitment to this kind of leadership.