William Shatner and Greenpeace leave HP a reminder

Feature story - 28 July, 2009
Sometimes companies need to be reminded of their environmental commitments--like HP's 2007 promise to stop putting toxic chemicals in their computer products. That's why our activists climbed to the top of HP's global headquarters in Palo Alto California today, and William Shatner (yes, Captain James T. Kirk) recorded a special voice message for all the staff in the building.

"Hazardous Products" message painted by Greenpeace activists onto the roof of Hewlett-Packard HQ building in Palo Alto, California.

We painted a huge message "Hazardous Products" onto the roof of the Hewlett-Packard building (the paint was toxic-free). Meanwhile a voice mail from actor William Shatner was delivered to all the phones in the building with an automated system (see below).

William Shatner's message to HP

HP was being called-out for backtracking on its commitments to phase out toxic chemicals from its products by the end of this year. It cost them a penalty point in our Guide to Greener Electronics last month, along with Dell and Lenovo. So to get them back onto the straight and narrow, we're delivering reminders to the company at their buildings, in the press and online.

Today's action follows similar demonstrations at HP offices in China and the Netherlands highlighting the continued presence of toxic chemicals in its products.

Shameful flip-flop

Earlier this year, HP postponed its 2007 commitment to phase out dangerous substances such as brominated flame retardants (BFR) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic from their computer products (excluding their server and printer lines) from 2009 to 2011.

It's shameful that HP is continuing to put hazardous products on the market, despite the promises it made. It should be following the lead of companies like Apple, which has led the sector in phasing out these toxic chemicals.

Others are getting off the toxic stuff

Apple's new computer lines, virtually free of PVC and completely BFR-free, demonstrate the technical feasibility and supply-chain readiness of producing alternatives to these hazardous substances. Dell, Lenovo and Acer have also stayed ahead of HP, putting models on the market that are free of, or at least significantly reduced in their use of, PVC and BFRs.

So it can be done, other companies are moving much faster that the world's number one seller of PCs. If HP wants to remain a market leader and not just another purveyor of harmful products, it needs to get back on track and eliminate BFRs and PVC from its products by the end of this year, as promised.

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If you have a twitter.com account, then click this link to spread the word and expose HP (they're using twitter too).

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