Trust and responsibility in a digital age

JUNE 24, 2019 • BLOG POST • JOHN SCHULTZ, CHIEF LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • HPE strives not only to identify the impacts to the environment and human rights caused by disruptive innovations like IoT or AI, but actively works to mitigate them
  • Conducting business ethically is a core value that anchors everything we do at HPE
  • Advancing new privacy enhancements for data processing is crucial to putting technology to work for the public good
  • HPE leads the industry with policies and programs that protect the human rights of workers in our supply chain, and we factor these increasingly stringent social and environmental standards into our purchasing decisions

 

How HPE is working to advance environmental sustainability and human rights

We live in an exciting time.

Technological innovations have the potential to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. But no advancement comes without unintended risks and adverse impacts. That is why even as people become increasingly dependent on technology in their daily lives, they are simultaneously growing more and more distrustful of that technology and those who provide it.

As a leader in the tech sector, Hewlett Packard Enterprise strives not only to identify the impacts to the environment and human rights caused by disruptive innovations like the internet of things (IoT) or artificial intelligence (AI), but actively works to mitigate them. We must prove that we are responsible corporate citizens by endeavoring to create sustainable and equitable outcomes for the world.

To do that, a company must be committed to strong ethics and governance in how it operates. Each year HPE reports on our policies, positions, and performance against environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in our Living Progress Report – released this week. We are increasingly finding that our commitment to these issues is a key differentiator for our customers that helps us win business. Customers want to work with an organization that not only offers innovative products and services, but one that does so in the right way.

Starting with high ethical standards

In 2018, HPE was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute – one of only four technology companies to be included in the list. Ethisphere considered criteria in five categories in their ratings: ethics and compliance programs, organizational culture, corporate citizenship and responsibility, governance, and leadership and reputation.

Conducting business ethically is a core value that anchors everything we do at HPE. We maintain the trust of our employees, customers, and business partners by operating responsibly and setting world-class standards throughout our supply chain to protect our planet and human rights.

Protecting privacy and security rights

As technology becomes more complex, so do the threats against it. In 2017, the cost of cybercrime climbed 23% compared to 2016, averaging $11.7 million per organization. One estimate suggests that cybercrime will cost the world economy $6 trillion annually by 2021.

Our customers expect our products and services to be secure, protect their privacy, and facilitate their operations in a data-rich environment. Business is experiencing an explosion of data and, with it, increased needs for collection, sharing, and use of sensitive personal and business information. Because of this, HPE has integrated strong security measures and privacy controls into everything we do:

  • HPE is a strong proponent of security by design. Our devices and systems address security up front during product/system design rather than as an afterthought, minimizing vulnerabilities and leading to greater protection for personal and sensitive data. And HPE is the only company to develop our servers following the high standards of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-53 controls.

  • We work with our customers to future-proof their businesses: Through HPE Pointnext, we advise customers on privacy programs, providing risk assessment, systems design, and technology-implementation services.

  • In 2018, we endorsed the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, an international declaration between NGOs, companies, and governments to develop common principles for cybersecurity.

 

Advancing new privacy enhancements for data processing is crucial to putting technology to work for the public good. For example, health care providers need a huge database to determine which treatments are most effective- a life-saving application of technology, but one that is only feasible if the data behind it is secure and privacy is protected.

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Watch the highlights from this year’s report

Advocating for human rights

Of course, technological disruption also has negative impacts on humans that must be addressed to ensure equity in the outcomes that new technology brings. One major economic concern, particularly for those in lower-skilled jobs and the socioeconomically disadvantaged, is the displacement of workers due to automation.

As we incorporate disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and the internet of things into our products and operations, we must keep in mind the impact and potential for harm these changes could have on workers and the communities in which they live.

However, technology can also be part of the solution here: building the workforce of the future and closing the digital divide for the half of the world’s population that is still not online. At HPE we’re leveraging our unique strengths to drive positive change–from using AI to set girls on the path to STEM careers, to creating digital literacy classrooms reaching 50,000 students across India.

Tackling Modern Slavery

Today, 20-40 million workers are trapped in forms of modern slavery - a huge concern for any organization with a large global supply chain. HPE leads the industry with policies and programs that protect the human rights of workers in our supply chain, and we factor these increasingly stringent social and environmental standards into our purchasing decisions. In 2018, we were ranked among the top 3 ICT companies for efforts to address forced labor by KnowTheChain corporate benchmark.

Here, too, we are putting our technology to work for the greater good. We’re identifying opportunities to utilize tools like AI and machine learning to better identify and address modern slavery among complex supply chains. Already, we have partnered with companies to use the latest technologies to identify trafficking victims.

Applying our strengths to solve societal challenges

Together with our customers and partners, we are making progress towards solving some of the world’s most complex societal challenges – accelerating research that could put an end to genetic diseases; extending banking services to bring the financially excluded into the modern economy; or creating citizen-centric cities that connect essential services to the billions of people living in urban areas. And there is business benefit in solving these challenges: an estimated $12 trillion market opportunity for private companies in pursuit of addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Innovation is our first priority at HPE, but innovation for innovation’s sake isn’t the goal. We must do so with our values and the public good in mind, leveraging technology to advance the way people live and work in an equitable, sustainable way. Strong corporate governance, along with ongoing cooperation among governments, technology developers, investors and civil society is essential to realizing this vision.

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