Boldly dedicated to upholding human rights

DECEMBER 9, 2022 • BLOG POST • JOHN SCHULTZ, EVP & CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, LEGAL & ADMINISTRATIVE AFFAIRS

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • HPE was recently ranked first out of all Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies assessed by the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, and in the top five of all companies assessed
  • We have recently implemented three new supply chain goals to help us uphold human rights and to help encourage safe and fair practices

HPE has a culture of respecting human rights and continues to work on improving processes and creating programs to uphold human rights throughout all of our business practices

At Hewlett Packard Enterprise, respect for human life is built into our culture. From the way we source our products to the trainings we require, protecting the rights and dignity of those around us is part of our DNA.

As a result of these efforts, HPE was recently ranked first out of all Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies assessed by the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, and in the top five of all companies assessed. While we are proud of these achievements, this only motivates us to set our bar even higher in 2023 and continue to improve on our efforts.

Building our culture of respect for human rights

The tone is set from the top. Our leaders model respect for human life and make sure it is part of the conversation in everything from sourcing materials to the end use of our products to how we treat our own team members. To help make expectations clear throughout our value chain, including our supply chain, end use of products, labor etc., we expanded our training and awareness earlier this year to include human rights training within our mandatory Standards of Business Conduct training for all new and returning team members. We developed and tailored trainings for various groups across our business including executives, sales staff in high-risk countries, and sourcing teams to ensure it was relevant and so that each team member understands their role in respecting human rights. We also rolled out training for all employees on our AI Ethical Principles, which has helped build awareness of our AI ethical framework and engagement with colleagues.

Beyond our own walls

But one company alone can only do so much, which is why industry collaboration and cooperation is essential in this space. After all, we often source from the same suppliers. We often rely on the same sales partners. We have similar needs for minerals of concern.

To help foster this collaboration, HPE recently brought together peer companies, and commissioned independent human rights experts, BSR to research practices in the tech sales value chain, and publish our collective findings. You can read about this work in BSR’s blog and a best practices brief on human rights due diligence in the tech sales channel.

Moving the needle on human rights is also an exercise in continuous improvement. Our Global HR Policy is grounded in the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) and we have long stated our commitment to respecting individuals most vulnerable to harm. However, we wanted to build upon that by further explaining how we intentionally and thoughtfully consider the heightened risk to these individuals, engage with stakeholders around what we can do, and articulate our improvement plans. We did this by publishing our Commitment to Respect the Rights of Marginalized Groups, which covers our approach regarding migrant workers, children and youth, dispatch workers, women, racial and ethnic minorities, and human rights defenders. This was an opportunity to expand our work and consider additional vulnerable groups.

Increased accountability and transparency

We share a responsibility with our partners and suppliers to protect workers, communities, and the environment in our value chain. We take this responsibility seriously and have several programs in place to help accomplish this, such as our Supply Chain Responsibility (SCR) program, Responsible Sourcing of Minerals program, our AI Ethics/Responsible Product Development work, and the Responsible Use program, where we review sales opportunities to reduce the risk of misuse of our technology. Through these programs and practices, we assess and mitigate risks, monitor and improve performance, and work collaboratively to share knowledge on key issues and promote best practices.

In an effort to keep improving, we have recently implemented three new supply chain goals to help us uphold human rights and to help encourage safe and fair practices:

1.      Worker training -  100% of major HPE suppliers train their workers on human rights. Worker voice and agency is critical to a healthy and productive work environment. Everyone in our supply chain should know their rights and get the support they need to feel confident and comfortable in the workplace.

2.      Worker voice - 100% of HPE supplier sites have effective grievance processes. Workers should be able to raise concerns comfortably and confidently through accessible and effective channels without fear of intimidation. Workers should have the opportunity to influence workplace improvements.

3.      No fees -  100% of HPE suppliers committed to the employer pays principle. We believe that no worker should ever have to pay for their job. Our suppliers are committed to the employer pays principle.

In order to keep growing and improving on our efforts, we worked with independent human rights experts at Article One in 2022 to conduct our latest, regular enterprise and value chain-wide human rights impact assessment. We updated our salient human rights risks (since our 2019 assessment) which are: responsible product development; responsible use; modern slavery & decent work; diversity, equity & inclusion; clean, healthy, & sustainable environment; and responsible sourcing of minerals. With this information, we identified gaps and opportunities, and are now planning our roadmap of improvements. HPE is also committed to responding to human rights-related queries. Just as new risks for human rights violations come up, so must we continue looking for ways to improve our processes to reduce those risks.

Respecting the life of every single person, especially those involved in – or impacted by - our business processes, is of utmost importance to us. We believe in being a force for good and are grateful for reminders like Human Rights Day which helps generate conversation and action around this important topic and encourages us to keep improving our processes. 

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