In this show, Michelle Price, Hewlett-Packard’s Manager of Worldwide Environmental Strategic Marketing, Imaging and Printing Group, discusses the company’s longstanding green practices and how it is staying on the cutting edge of the green technology movement.
Price says HP has focused on the environment and sustainability for more than 50 years. H-P was one of the first technology companies to instill a recycling program way back in 1987, and today has recycling capabilities in more than 50 countries around the world.
Price, who is currently writing a book called “The 42 Rules of Green Marketing,” points out the environmental standard program the company implemented in 1991 to help advance energy-efficient technologies at the company.
“We know consumers want to hear our environmentally responsible stories,” Price says. “Consumers want to make the right choice, but you have to make it simple for them. [H-P tries] to make it really easy for customers to go green. Price and quality and performance are the number one purchase drivers [for consumers]. Environment is still behind those, but it is a tie-breaker.”
John Shegerian: This episode of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by Closed Loop Partners. Closed Loop Partners is a leading circular economy investor in the United States with an extensive network of fortune 500 corporate investors, family offices, institutional investors, industry experts, and Impact Partners. Closed Loop’s platform spans the arc of capital from venture capital to private equity, bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy. To find Closed Loop Partners, please go to www.closedlooppartners.com.
John: Hi, this is John Shegerian. I never could have imagined when we started the Green Is Good Radio Show back in 2006 that I would grow into a big podcast called “The Green Is Good Podcast.” And now, we’ve evolved that podcast to the Impact Podcast which is more inclusive and more diverse than ever before. But we did look back recently at some of our timeless Green Is Good interviews and decided to share some of them with you now. So, enjoy one of our great Green Is Good episodes from our archives. And next week, I’ll be back with a fresh and new episode of the Impact Podcast. Thanks again for listening. I’m grateful to all of you. This is John Shegerian.
Voiceover: Welcome to Green Is Good. Raising awareness of each individual’s impact on the environment and helping to create a more beautiful and sustainable world. Now, here’s John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International, and Mike Brady.
John: Welcome to Green Is Good, and Mike it’s so great to be here in the studio with you today.
Mike Brady: Well, good to be with you too, John, and how have you been this past week?
John: I’ve been great. I was on the road a little bit and I was in Korea, actually London, and New York. And I know you love planes.
Mike: I love airplanes.
John: So, I want to talk a little bit about what’s going on in the world with regards to what we just saw with regards to this volcanic ash and the airplanes in the– my gosh! This is unprecedented.
Mike: Yeah, the Icelandic volcano is talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago. And this story was really first starting to break. We don’t think about how the tiny micro-fine particles get blown into the air or ingested into jet engines. That’s why so many planes were having to divert to Ireland for a while. But then, because we have a sealed system in our atmosphere, eventually, all that volcanic debris is going to find its way to every corner of the universe almost and we’ll be breathing those particulates.
John: That’s what they were saying. I don’t know that much about planes but I was seeing one set of an airline has said that they’ve been flying through it and without problem, but now they’re actually saying NATO Jets went through it a couple of weeks back, and there was damage to their engines from the fine particulate. So you’ve been speaking–
Mike: Exactly! Causing some major maintenance headaches and it’s very expensive for those turbine blades. They ingest that and it can really just– it’s just amazing!
John: I tell you what when we taught, you know, this show is so relevant, Mike, in terms of the issues of sustainability that we talked about, you know, people, planet, and profits, and just that issue itself. The ash comes up from Mother Earth, an act of God and an act of nature, and now, the ramifications with regards to business in terms of all of our lives and in terms of the prophet that surrounds business and the planet, it’s fascinating. It hits all of the issues that we talk about every week on this show.
Mike: Yeah, you disrupt travel, you can disrupt business which disrupts commerce, people’s livelihoods, and it’s a trickle-down theory. It really is.
John: Yeah, and you know, the more I travel, Mike, and I’m very lucky to travel on behalf of our company to go meet different thought leaders or business folks on these situations and partnerships. The world is getting so green, and really the world is flatter and flatter. Everyone is concerned about how to not only talk a good green talk but walk a great green walk. I actually went and met in London our friend- who was our guest before, Chris Ingham Brooke. And what a fantastic young man who’s just doing brilliant things with his website, Environmental Graphiti.
Mike: You know, what? I’ve been on Chris’s website, John, several times since, and it really is just so much fun! You just open up a whole new vista on so many different things, so many different topics in you, right? You find out the connectedness, the connectivity of everything on our planet.
John: And then the people in New York who are getting New York greener and greener all the time, and that’s what we had meetings with over there and then. Back over to Seoul to meet with our partners at LS, Nico, and other potential partners who want to green their companies and green the planet more. Compared to when you and I were much younger, the world is truly Friedman’s, right? The world is so flat. When we take time to think about it, we really have more in common than we have different from each other.
Mike: Well, you’re so right about that. And what do we got planned for the show today?
John: Well, we have 2 great segments today. In the first half of the show, we have Derrick Mains on to talk about his new venture, GreenNurture. And in the second half, we have one of the greatest brands in the world, The legacy brand, Hewlett-Packard. So I think if our guests want to come on back, they’re going to hear a double whammy of great shows on Green Is Good.
Voiceover: If a little green is good, more is even better! Now, back to Green Is Good with John Shegerian and Mike Brady.
John: Welcome back to Green Is Good. And today, we’re so honored to have Derrick Mains who’s the founder and the visionary, and the thought leader who created GreenNurture.
Welcome, Derrick. Thank you for joining us today on Green Is Good!
Derrick Mains: Well, thanks, John. I’m glad to be here.
John: Well, you know, Derrick, instead of reading your amazing biography, I want you to share with our listeners to start with your history in the Green Revolution. This is not new to you. You’ve already been heavily involved and creating all sorts of differences in making the world a better place prior to GreenNurture. Share with our listeners a little bit how you even got to this point before you had this epiphany to start GreenNurture.
Derrick: Sure. So, I’ve been involved in sustainability from a corporate level for I guess about 6 years or so. A lot of times working with large organizations- Fortune 10, Fortune 1,000 organizations on sustainability initiatives. A lot of that focused around extended producer responsibility of who’s responsible for something after it gets sold, and then in addition to that, recycling initiative, so what happens to a product after I sell it, and what’s my responsibility in making sure that that product been recycled? Way back in the day, when I went to school, I actually went to ministry school. I was studying to go into that field and that’s where I really got interested in sustainability. It really sparked me that I thought, wow! We have a responsibility to protect this planet, and it really came from that where I started to get excited about sustainability and was just fortunate that about 6 years back was able to work in that field and it’s been great ever since. And I’ve met a lot of great people and have been very fortunate to make a big impact and be able to help people become more sustainable, help brands become more sustainable, and help them to become more aware that their products exist for after, on the balance sheet, you know? They continue to exist in perpetuity and they need to be handled and taken care of appropriately.
John: So, when exactly did you have the epiphany for GreenNurture, and for our listeners out there, GreenNurture.com, which is a great and wonderful website. When did you have this epiphany? And how long for entrepreneurs out there who listened, and how long did it take for you to put it all together and get it actually launched?
Derrick: So we formed the company in January 2009 and that was right after I sort of came up with this idea. The idea simply came from understanding that companies were really good at external communication around sustainability. And for my experience, it did a very poor job of engaging the people that collected paychecks to actually participate in that effort. And so it’s taken a long time! We’re talking now, we’re into 14, 15 months of development. And of course, when you first start out, you think, “oh, I can push this thing out into the market in sixty days!”
And you learn very quickly that technology, although it moves at the speed of light, it actually takes some time to get yourself up to that speed…
John: Sure. Sure.
Derrick: …to get things moving. So, you know, we did a lot with development, the product has developed over time. We’ve been very fortunate to have some really smart folks that we got involved with that said, “Hey, look! We think there’s an opportunity here and we think we can develop this out, and instead of it just being one thing, let’s try to create sort of a TurnKey application that helps companies deploy sustainability initiatives and helps them do it in less than thirty minutes!
John: So, explain. Who is your typical client? Who do you want to get onto GreenNurture.com? Just so our listeners understand from A to Z. We want to understand what is GreenNurture.com, and who was it built for?
Derrick: Okay, so let me tell you “who first.”
Derrick: I think it’s any company that has a staff of ten or more people. And we have been talking with companies that have twenty people and we’ve been talking with companies that have a hundred thousand employees. It’s really anybody that falls in that genre. We are a very TurnKey application. So, in about 20 minutes, you can deploy a sustainability initiative to the people inside your company that really harness their collective intelligence and gives them a voice, and empowers them to find ways that the company can become more “Green” and save money! Because Green usually goes hand-in-hand with that. If we become more efficient, we’re becoming more “Green” but we also are saving resources. So, the application really helps become that sort of think tank that captures the collective intelligence of the employees through a social media platform and then rewards them because rewards are important. You and I, John, we’re sort of tree huggers. So we’ll do it because it’s green. But the average Joe out there is actually going to say, “Hey, what’s in this deal for me?”
John: Before we get to the incentive parts which is wonderful, so you’re saying, in short, GreenNurture.com and the social application that it has can a company and take them from talking a good talk into walking a good walk and make their DNA much more green than it historically had been?
Derrick: It’s about culture with us. We look at it from a cultural perspective. Shifting our culture, and I can convince somebody to go turn the light off. But if I can change the culture inside the company so that when anybody leaves a room, they turn the light off, that’s a whole lot better than one single action. It’s about engaging the people inside that company to shift the culture into a culture that’s one of sustainability and just conscious consumption. I think we have a lot of people sleepwalking, you know? There was recently a Gallup study that says, seventy-one percent of the workforce is in some form of sleep while they’re at work. They’re on autopilot and waking them up and saying, “Hey, look, you can participate. You can be a part. You can have a voice. You can get a reward and you can make an impact on the environment. Collectively is very, very important.
John: Okay, so now break it down because you’re a great public speaker, and I know you’re on the road a lot speaking and giving and sharing your views on this. So, tell our listeners and share with Mike and me why it’s so important to engage 2 things, both the company and the employees and what’s in it for the company when you’re selling the company, and what’s in it for the employees when you’re selling the employees on joining into your GreenNurture.com platform?
Derrick: First of all, what’s in it for the company, well, I think there’s a couple of different things. Number one- cost savings, number two- brand recognition as a greener and more desirable brand. People are looking for that in the companies that they frequent anymore. I think increased productivity and profitability are very, very important. Gallup Human Sigma study, which is a book that was written a couple of years ago says that companies that have engaged employees to grow earnings per share two and a half times faster than their competitors. So getting people engaged, getting them in a process is very important for that company. Having people there that are actually thinking about ways to move the company forward is really important. So to the company’s– from the employee’s perspective, the benefits can be multiple. Certainly, they can get a reward. They also feel like they’re empowered, which is important. We probably all worked in jobs at some point in our life where we knew we were just a cog in the machine. We had no voice, we had no ability to share our ideas. So just giving people that ability to share their ideas, makes them feel wanted, increases their retention rates, and also, helps them feel like that there’s a culture and a community inside their company. So people get excited about that. When you give people, when you empower them, what tends to happen is they tend to become more engaged and that interaction goes beyond just sustainability. It goes to my interaction with customers. We’ve probably all been on the phone with a customer service person who’s having a bad day. It’s apparent very quickly–
Derrick: …if they’re not engaged in their work. So really, creating that culture inside that company, I think just benefits everybody. It makes the company more profitable which gives more job satisfaction and more job security to employees, and it helps a company really become more competitive in today’s market where people are looking for this kind of thing.
John: On the company side, we got cost brand recognition, productivity, and profitability, all great things. All that Mike and I talked about on the show with our guests with regards to the sustainability movement, hit all the 3 basic modes which are people, planet, and profit. So now, on the employee side, you have empowerment and engagement. Talk a little bit about the incentives because all the employees saying, “what’s in it for me?” So, when you’re talking about incentives where else does your social platform on GreenNurture.com allow the employees to get rewarded?
Derrick: Reward is really important. You can’t expect everybody to do it just because it’s green. I always talk about I’m a tree hugger, but my brother on the other hand, well, not so much. We’ve got to put the carrot on the end of the stick and coax him in the right direction. What we did is we created a partnership with a company called Recyclebank. Some of your listeners are likely familiar with Recyclebank. But for those of them that aren’t, Recyclebank has a technology that takes your blue bin at home and replaces it with one that has a radiofrequency identification chip. So it has a little microchip in there, that every week when the garbage truck comes past, it picks up your recycling, weighs it, and instantly deposits points for you that are then available for you to redeem it, thousands of retailers nationwide. We piggyback on that system and use the exact same currency so that people at work can earn these points for the actions that they do. They put in their idea, they vote on someone else’s idea, they comment on something, they participate, and they receive points that they then can take out and redeem- these thousands of retailers for products they buy every day. Not everybody shops at Whole Foods and buys coffee or whatever it is. But, you know, some people are going on stake. So we’ve got to give them the incentive that fits their personality and where they are.
John: That’s brilliant! By the way, a second, Derrick, but do they need to then have that tag put on their garbage can if they’re part of GreenNurture and part of this recycling program that you’ve created or can they avail themselves of the points without even the tag?
Derrick: They can avail themselves of the points just by using GreenNurture.com.
Derrick: So if it comes to their community, all the better! They can get points in a couple of different ways. But let’s say, in Phoenix right now, it’s doing a rollout of Recyclebank.
But not everybody has it. So we have companies that are starting to use it that are in sensing their employees knowing that somewhere down the line when that comes into their employees’ neighborhood, we’re going to be even doubly excited to participate because now it’s not just what I do at work. Now, it’s what I do at home as well.
John: Wow. Mike and I are smiling here because we had the great CEO of Recyclebank on our show already, and he was just wonderful and inspirational to us. We love Recyclebank. We’re so happy that you’ve made a partnership with them.
So, you reward them with these points and they can actually have something tangible. So, basically, you’re incentivizing them for behavioral change?
John: And you’re finding that to be a successful mode?
Derrick: I mean, you know, Pavlov proved it with his dog, right? If you give the right treat for a long enough amount of time, eventually, you’ll modify the behavior, and that you’ll get what you want, that sort of controlled response. And we’re excited about that because it’s sort of a way of thinking about sustainability that goes– a lot of people put things on the roof- solar panels or water cisterns. This is about getting inside people’s heads and helping people become more sustainable. And that doesn’t just translate to sustainability at work. It translates into every aspect of their life. They are not just “Green” at work. They do the right things beyond that because that’s that learned behavior. They’ve learned, okay, this is good. I get rewarded for it. So they translate that into other parts of their life.
John: So, the recycle points really bleed over into their home life which then, of course, influences, inspires their children to start thinking greener. And Green becomes just part of the DNA of the family and of the company.
John: So why don’t you tell us a little bit about– Mike and I’ve read a lot about what you’re doing, Derrick. And talk about your recent demo. What did that mean? And how did your presentation go there and what’s happened since?
Derrick: Sure. So demo, for anybody who doesn’t know, it’s a pretty elite technology conference that hand-selects about fifty companies a year that they bring in and they allow them to launch live to the sort of media as well as investors and the technology community, particularly in California, although it’s a global event. And we got hand-selected this year’s first green technology company ever to be awarded the opportunity to go and present the demo. It was a great experience. You get 6 minutes on stage in front of all the cameras and the people in the room as well as hundreds of thousands of people watching globally. And you’ve got these 6 minutes to show off your presentation and tell the world about what you’re doing. And it was a great, great experience. We got just incredible responses from mostly, large companies- large technology companies that have thousands or tens of thousands of employees that really recognize what we did and said, “Look, every day they’re out looking for needles in haystacks.” They’ve got a hundred thousand employees and we’re always looking for the next most innovative idea. They have no tools or mechanisms to capture those things. When they saw what we did, they said, “oh, this is a way for us to find those ideas that we know are just walking around out there, but nobody has the ability to share them.” So, we’ve seen great traction in that. We’ve seen users coming into the system. We’ve seen municipalities really getting interested in saying, “Hey, is this a way that we could save taxpayer dollars?”
John: This might be a silly question, Derrick. But, you know, this sounds so unique and Mike and I have so many fascinating guests on our show. We’ve never heard of anything like this. Do you have any competition? What does that horizon look like?
Derrick: There is no competition right now. And we have, of course, some patent protection, to make sure that we can keep those guys at bay as long as possible. But, you know, we feel like it’s a completely new market segment and we call it micro sustainability. Macro issues are things that are handled by governments and large corporations. Micro issues are the things that you and I can do each day. So, we feel like we’re the first one. We haven’t identified any competitors whatsoever on the landscape, but certainly, with the amount of attention that we’re getting from media as well as investors, we know that it won’t be very long.
John: Well, we want to go back to that. But Mike and I want to understand something. There are listeners out there who owned companies, who are involved, or employees that companies to understand how they can avail themselves of your great services in your great site, GreenNurture.com. So, Mike and I, let’s just pretend for a second. We own a chain of fifty car dealerships called “Mike and John’s Car Dealerships” and we come on your site. How do you engage us and how do we get involved?
Derrick: Right there on the site, you can actually read all about what we do, you certainly can pick up the phone and talk to us at any time. We’re glad to explain what we do, but we also have a very TurnKey system. So anybody can go to the site and get a free 30-day trial just by clicking on the, you know, I want to try it out button and they can go right into the system, right there. Upload their employee database directly into the system, set a date that they want to start the application to work, and bam! It’s sort of the Ronco set it and forget it by mentality. We certainly don’t want them to forget it. We want them to go in and reap the benefits of it, but they can deploy it very, very quickly and get the employees engaged in sharing ideas in literally less than thirty minutes.
Mike: You know, I’m on the side right now, Derrick. And I love the logo which John has seen before it. It’s a thumbprint that looks like a tree and it’s green. So, I mean that just speaks volumes. It’s a great visual representation of what your vision for the company is. As in saying drilling down through the site and just going through there are some great articles that talk about sustainability, the GreenNurture’s platform, and how individual employees can get their companies involved. I’m thinking of this, it’s like a 21st-century suggestion box. Do you know what I mean?
Derrick: We call it a virtual suggestion box on steroids.
Mike: It is that and so much more because obviously, what’s in it for the company is saving money and becoming more profitable. That’s one thing that can help as you mentioned and addressed earlier in the show. For some job security, for the people that are working there in a time of excessive reductions in force, everybody’s worried about their job. Well, I mean, if the company is making more money than ever, chances are pretty good. If you had something to do with that, by making a simple suggestion and save the company money, you will be rewarded, not only with some job security, but you can get the recycle points from GreenNurture as well as maybe whatever that company offers you as an incentive for a great suggestion.
Derrick: Absolutely. Listen, there are stories abounding right now in the employee engagement field of companies that have started to ask their employees for suggestions and have found multi-million dollar savings from a 19-year-old kid pushing a broom or found that the Uber influencer, there’s a book out called the Rudolph factor that talks about finding these sort of individuals inside your company that actually are Uber influencers. And there have been stories of public companies that have found that some 19-year-old cashier is the voice of the company. These are the people that have the right personality in the right sort of know-how to communicate with people. And being able to identify those people, as not only good for business, it actually is great for management. You can look and say, “Hey, this is an up-and-comer, somebody who’s influential in our company that actually has a voice, and look how well they communicate through the platform and look how people engage with them.” You can find those individuals and promote them through the platform.
John: That’s so brilliant, Derrick. Now, Mike and I always talk about how the world truly is flat compared to when we were youngsters growing up, and I just got back from one of these international trips and how everyone is really going green and wants to do more green things. Are you finding– because it’s a website, obviously, and you can reach everyone in the world. Are you finding interest outside of the United States in your wonderful product?
Derrick: We sure are! And you know, from a business perspective right now, we need to focus on execution here stateside, but we’ve already heard from a number of organizations both in Europe as well as in Asia where regulation is becoming more and more prevalent. Cap-and-trade is still in the talks here and in those countries, it’s being demanded. Regulators are saying you either do it or you go out of business. And they recognize that capturing the power of what we call Human Sigma, capturing those kinds of ideas, and engaging the cogs inside the organization, the people to actually help the company become more sustainable are critical. I tell a story. A lot of people talk about Leed certification and I say if we build a Leed-certified building in Fargo, North Dakota, and it’s the most energy-efficient building in the world, and it’s 2:00 in the morning and the guys in the dock want to have a smoke. And it’s 20 below zero out. Instead of going outside, they open up the dock doors. It really doesn’t matter how great my building is…
Derrick: I got huge gaping holes. You’ve got to get the people to interact. You’ve got to make them a part of the process. It cannot just be the technology of “oh solar panels will fix everything.” Solar panels are great, but if people aren’t properly engaging with those things, it’s all really irrelevant.
John: Well, that’s important. So, let’s go back to that critical point you just made about get the people to interact. We’re down to the last couple minutes of the show, unfortunately, but let’s talk about, you know, the iPad just came out and it’s massively successful, Derrick. What’s in the future for GreenNurture.com in terms of new platforms and mobile apps?
Derrick: So, listen, I’ve got my iPad laying here in front of me. So I’ve got my iPhone and my iPad laying here because we are working on some of those things. One of the things immediately that we saw when we came out into the market, companies contacting us and saying, “not all my employees have web access every day. I have truck drivers. They’re in their trucks. I have janitors who are working out on the floor.” We are developing right now. We’ve got some mobile apps in the works that will allow anybody with a cellphone to interact with our system. And we’re still trying to figure out, is that by a picture message? Is that via text message? Is that through a mobile site? But we’re doing that on the phone side, as well as on the iPad side. We’re looking at some things, and one of the things we do with our system is we have an assessment tool and a walkthrough tool that companies can use to find sort of low-hanging fruit. So how about we make an iPad app for that so that people can easily sort of walk out onto their manufacturing floor or walk around their facility and find these little individual things that can save them money. So that’s the next generation of our application, and something that you’ll be seeing this summer is really at a focus on mobile. Because people aren’t always– we’ve got to go to where the people are all the time, and everybody’s got their phone all the time, pretty much.
John: You’re right, Derrick. We’re down to the last minute. You were Green before it was cool to be green.
Derrick: Just being Kermit for a while there, I think.
John: Yeah, exactly. But you’re also a great entrepreneur. So, in the last minute, give a couple of one or two pearls of wisdom to our next generation that listens to our show and downloaded from Apple iTunes, or listening to it, on our Clear Channel network. Well, give a couple of your pearls to the entrepreneurs out there and inspire them.
Derrick: Yeah, so I would say the 2 things that I’ve learned over time and over multiple businesses. Number one, you got to be resilient with your vision. You’ve got to be able to see the horizon and you’ve got to just keep working towards it, no matter what the sidebar conversations are, you’ve got to know what the right thing is to do and how to move the company in that direction.
Derrick: The second part of that is you’ve got to have advisors, and I probably– to a flaw, have given up more percentages of companies that I’ve been involved to, to smart, smart, smart people- the smartest people I can find. I want them in my boat. And I’m willing to give them a piece of my company for a piece of their time, and that is extremely valuable. Too many entrepreneurs are too focused on “I have to have 100% back with that.” I would much rather have a few percent of a billion-dollar company than 100 percent of absolutely nothing. Find the smart people, engage them, get them involved in your business.
John: Well, Derrick, you know, we’re going to have you back in the future to tell about how wonderful and how large GreenNurture.com has grown. For all our listeners out there, go to GreenNurture.com. Show your boss, and use it, and get involved with the companies that you’re involved with. Derrick Mains is the CEO and Founder of GreenNurture.com. We’re honored to have you on Green Is Good and you are living proof that Green Is Good.
Voiceover: If a little green is good, more is even better!
Now, back to Green Is Good with John Shegerian and Mike Brady.
John: Welcome back to Green Is Good. Mike, wasn’t Derrick inspirational?
Mike: Well, you know, I’m just looking at that GreenNurture.com website and thanking anybody that’s listening to the show over the weekend. Probably, one of the first things you’re going to do if they’re smart when they get to work on Monday is check out the site. Probably, check the site out on your home PC if you’ve got one, but Monday, just look it over and have some ideas and maybe talk it over to the boss or you might even surprise somebody and surprise yourself. This could be one of the best career moves you’ve ever made.
John: Yeah, Mike is right. I mean, this is the type of website that you should email up in your company. Email to your business partner, email to your boss, your superior, or to the CEO, or if your company has a chief sustainability officer already, email to that person because this, we can all do a better job at making our company’s greener. This is your opportunity. So, Mike, I agree with you.
Mike: This is an opportunity for you to become a real rock star at your job.
John: And this goes to the second half of our show. HP Hewlett-Packard, one of the greatest brands on this planet, was born in California and born in the USA, a great success story. They have been one of the great green companies. Walking the green walk, talking the green talk way before it was ever cool to be green. So this is part of why Derrick’s website is so important because other companies are realizing you just can’t talk about it. You can’t fake it anymore. You got to actually live it. You got to breathe this. It got to be part of your DNA and culturally, it’s great for your company and your employees, and basically, it will create as we learn from some of our past, great guest, Ray Anderson, and others. It creates a culture of profit and productivity which then sets you way far apart from your competition.
Mike: And John, you’re so right because if you do it at work, that becomes a habit which you tend to take home with you and it really is true. Once you start forming more positive habits like that, they have a way of spreading virally throughout your whole thought process. And if you’re not if you’re going to use a recycle bin for example at work, at the end of the day, you come home and “oh wait, I was going to put this in the recycle.” “We don’t have a recycle bin, honey.” We need to start doing that. It really does permeate everything you think and do.
John: That’s right. Mike. And that’s the great part. You know, once it becomes your DNA at work, culturally, it will become your DNA at home and inspirationally, you’ll get to inspire your kids in the next generation, and literally, it becomes easy and part of their regular lives which is where we need to go here in our great country. So, I think the second half of the show is going to be amazing because we have a woman and a guest named Michelle Price, who’s not only one of the leaders in sustainability issues at Hewlett-Packard, but she, herself, is living it. And she even is going to talk about not only what she’s doing at Hewlett-Packard. But we’re going to do a little teaser today. She has a book coming out called 42 Rules of Green Marketing and we’re going to even tease that. She doesn’t even know that. But that book’s coming out and we’re going to tease that and then we’ll have her back on later this year to talk about what about that green book. So, I think everyone’s got to come on back in here. Michelle Price at Green Is Good.
Voiceover: If a little green is good, more is even better! Now, back to Green Is Good with John Shegerian and Mike Brady.
John: Welcome back to Green Is Good. And we’re so honored today to have Michelle Price on. Michelle is the manager and of the worldwide environmental strategic, marketing, imaging, and printing group at the great Hewlett-Packard company. Welcome, Michelle!
Michelle Price: Thank you so much for having me.
John: Well, you know, Mike we had a little chance to chat with Michelle before we came on air, and we were blown away. She not only holds that huge title at Hewlett-Packard which we know has a lot of gravitas and a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility, but she’s also a wife, mother, and currently, an author writing a book called The 42 Rules of Green Marketing which she’s promised already to come back on the show later this year, and talk about that great book that she’s writing.
Michelle: Yes, thank you. Looking forward to it.
John: Michelle, thanks again. You represent truly a great American brand that’s done so much to expand our influence around the world and our brand awareness, and we’re so thankful for the time that you have today. But Hewlett-Packard is one of those great companies. In the first half of our show, we were talking about a new online company that’s helping companies get green. But way before the green revolution ever took hold here in the United States, Hewlett-Packard was true– not only talking a great green talk but walking a great green walk. Share a little bit about what’s been going on at Hewlett-Packard and what you do there.
Michelle: Sure! So, from an informant HP perspective, HP’s been focusing on environmental sustainability and responsibility for more than fifty years. It dates back to really the founders of the company and the type of people that Bill And Dave were. But also, in 1957, they actually made a commitment, an external commitment where they established a global corporate citizenship objective focused on the environment. This was something that was really important to Bill and Dave and continues through the DNA of the company today. A couple of interesting dates for you, it was in 1987 that Hewlett-Packard was one of the first companies in the IT industry to establish a recycling program. And it was in 1991 that we formalized our design for environment program where we have product stores on every design team across the company. And that’s something that I’m really proud of. Because every product that is designed by Hewlett-Packard has been thoroughly vetted by these environmental professional stewards. And you know, the focus has been around reducing the environmental impact of not just Hewlett-Packard but we do ourselves, and we call that our house. But what we’re doing for our customers in their house and delivering products that help them reduce their energy, save money, and all kinds of great ways to help customers reduce their environmental impact. And it’s been a focus of the company for a really long time.
John: So, wait a second, Michelle. Way before it was ever cool or mandated to recycle here in the United States, Hewlett-Packard in 87 started recycling?
Michelle: Absolutely. And today, we have recycling capabilities in more than fifty countries around the world. We take our own IT equipment back as well as our competitors’ IT equipment. And we recycle our own original HP print cartridges as well.
John: Wow, wow, wow! And then on the design side, which so many companies now are playing catch-up with their electronics, you said in 1991, HP started developing and designing their products to be more sustainably created and built so they could be recycled easier and have a less impact on the environment?
Michelle: Absolutely. And actually, interestingly enough last week, we just introduced a new laserjet product. It’s called the HP LaserJet Pro P1102. And that product actually has a great claim. It’s actually the world’s most energy-efficient laser printer on the planet.
John: Wow, that’s amazing! You know, Michelle, we talked about people, the planet, and profits here. And we wanted to go back to you as a person. How did you get into this position at HP? You’ve been there now, approximately, twelve years. How did you evolve into this position to grow up a tree hugger? Were you inspired in college or did this evolve just naturally in HP? How did this happen?
Michelle: I did not grow up a tree hugger but I love trees! I’m probably pretty close to a tree hugger now. And for me, personally, I actually have been in this role for about three years. And it started with me being on the environmental or sorry– the strategic marketing team, and there was an opportunity, and I jumped on it where I was able to represent marketing in defining the environmental leadership strategy for the imaging and printing group. And so, what’s interesting is, as I’ve talked about, we have a history and legacy of environmental and social responsibility, but we’ve been very quiet about it. And so, I actually had an opportunity to step in and figure out and frame-up, how is it that HP should be going out? What is our marketing strategy in our go-to-market plans? And how do we take this amazing story and history and legacy and products and pull it together in such a way so that it resonates with customers and they really begin to understand our brand? And what HP is delivering and how we’re delivering real products, tangible products to help that customer in reducing their environmental impact as well as saving money?
John: So, this was three years ago you’re saying?
Michelle: Yes, and still, I’ve been in this role for about three years. Now, me personally, and I mentioned that I wasn’t a tree– I didn’t grow up a tree hugger. A new convert, if you will.
John: That’s okay!
Michelle: I heard an interesting statistic a number of years ago that said, the number one driver of a person going green is having a child, and that’s true for me. That’s absolutely true for me. And I’ve recycled for years. But after having a child, I began to realize that the choices I make not only affect me, but they affect my child and my children’s children. And so, as a consumer, really make a lot more conscious decisions. I buy organic every single time that I’m able. If there’s an organic choice, I will choose that organic product or that organic food. When I’m purchasing products, I really consider what I’m buying and how it impacts my family as well as the environment. I want to buy from companies that I feel good about buying- some of these are good environmental and socially responsible companies that are considering my health and the environment. And that’s why I’m proud to work for a company like HP. Because I know that HP is an amazing social and environmental responsible company and has proven that through our history as I said.
John: We’re going to go back and talk about HP’s Green DNA in a little while, but I want to go back to this legacy issue that you well point out about the domino effect of the decisions you make. So let’s go. You said you had a son five years ago and that helped inspire you to make more green decisions. What inspired you to write the book?
Michelle: What inspired me to write the book? It’s interesting. When I first started in my environmental marketing role and, really, I think more, and got me farther along my path of my environmental journey. But from a marketing perspective, I was looking for the secret sauce. So the secret sauce of trying to figure out, “How do I market Green? What does it mean? How do we talk to customers? And how does HP position our story?” Well, what I came to realize is that there’s not a secret sauce. It’s just marketing. And in fact, one of the rules in the book is titled, “Green Marketing is still Marketing.” And, you know, I went down this interesting journey and I began thinking, I want to document this, everything that I’ve learned. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from a lot of industry experts. I’ve read lots of their blogs. I’ve met them in person. And I just really wanted to share with others that are beginning their journey or are already along their journey, some of the learnings and insights that I’ve learned from other people.
John: So, you’re the person responsible for taking HP’s offline, amazing Green DNA, and bringing it into the Facebook, Twitter world, that now existent?
Michelle: I do, I’m out there on Twitter and, you know, I can’t take credit for all of the great words. But, yes, I mean, ultimately, my role is to define the environmental marketing strategy for the imaging and printing group. And we have lots of great people that are in the social media world who are out there on Facebook and Twittering on the environment.
John: Let’s talk about then the green big part of it. Let’s talk about the Green DNA and HP’s corporate culture. Explain about what goes on both on-campus and off-campus that shows the great knowledge– that HP talks a great green talk but walks are great green walk. Explain that culture in that DNA.
Michelle: Well from an internal perspective, HP does a really good job of educating employees on different environmental topics. And so, I’m based in Vancouver, Washington for example. And during Earth week, we had a series of events happening where there were some sessions on Greening your work area as well as Recycling. And then they also had a local vendor fair where local companies come in and show off their green products and ideas. And then we also had an HP biker commuter contest as well as rally and then even bike, tune-ups. And, you know, it’s interesting. HP, really, does engage with the employees from an environmental perspective. Another example is they have environmental series where you can actually sign up to take a class. And a few years ago, I took a class- Healthy Baby, Healthy Planet, and each of the different topics is focused on the environment. And then also, HP has HP Eco Solutions advocates. These are people that are interested in learning more about our environmental legacy who want to just understand more about what HP is doing, also, a great training ground for training employees, who may not be in an environmental role, but are interested in learning more about the environmental topic and potentially representing externally HP at events or being able to talk with customers.
John: So it must be easier to be green in such a green and wonderful city like Vancouver.
Michelle: It is a great city to be green and I’m actually in Vancouver, Washington which is right across the bridge from Portland, Oregon. It really is being in the Pacific Northwest. They make it easy here to be green.
John: So, how does HP share best green practices among all the campuses of HP’s around the world? How does that interchanging of ideas and inspiration work?
Michelle: Well, we have in Vancouver and each of our sites. We have an employee network and in those employee networks, there is a person who represents the Vancouver employee network, for example, with all of the other sites. And then also, on our internal website, you can go out and find out any information about any of the other campuses. So Boise, Idaho, for example, or Palo Alto, California, or will begin Germany. So there’s lots of sharing where you have representatives from each of those sites that share best practices across the group.
John: How about with your consumers? How do you work back and forth the information of their desire for more environmentally responsible products? And also, as you well put, what didn’t exist three years ago or so, when you started this and your messaging of how environmentally responsible HP really isn’t has been, how does that interchange of ideas work? And how do you get that feedback from the consumers at large and then share back with them what you’re really doing?
Michelle: We know that consumers want to hear about our environmental social responsible story. It gets a bit overwhelming when you start talking to consumers because there’s so many different companies out there, kind of shouting green messages and it’s easy to not really understand what are the right ones and what are ones that may be a little misleading.
John: Great point.
Michelle: And you know, what we know is that consumers want to make the right choice, they want to do the right thing. But you also have to make it really simple for these customers. If you make it really hard or complicated, we’re all human, you know, creatures of habit. We’re going to be less up to do something that’s difficult and complex. We already have way too many competing priorities. And so, we try to make it really easy for customers to go green. One of the ways that we helped customers understand the environmental attributes of a particular product is through the HP Eco Highlights label. It’s a label that we introduced about two years ago. It appears on web pages, it appears on the packaging, it appears product-specific and it tells you the environmental attributes of that specific product that you’re purchasing.
John: Wow. So on any HP product now, they can see this Ecolabel?
Michelle: It’s not on every product. You actually have to qualify for it and we have it on consumer products, SMB products, and Enterprise Products across the company in our server business, our services business, a PC business, as well as our printing business. It’s a label that the products actually have to qualify to achieve…
John: Got it.
Michelle: …to receive that label and then that product team can actually promote it.
John: Michelle, how do you keep your ear to the ground? What are the consumers asking for in terms of environmental responsibility? Now, what is the feedback you’re getting as to what their wants and needs are? Or what they think is the most important thing to them?
Michelle: I have to go back to easy. They want it to be easy. And, you know what, we hear a lot is that consumers want to make the right choice. But all things considered equal? The environment is going to be the tiebreaker. So, price and quality, and performance are the number one purchase drivers. The environment is behind those. It’s still important, but again, it has to be a tiebreaker.
Mike: Well, you know, it’s amazing, Michelle, because when you were talking about just rolling out recently, the pro P1102, I looked at that and you talk about making it easy for the consumer. That is simply a USB cable that gets plugged in from your notebook, your netbook, or your desktop. No installation CD is required and the consumer can start printing in as little as two minutes. And now, I’m looking at your Eco highlight site. Talking about the HP Deskjet 2660, less waste per– it’s created from 50% recycled plastic.
Mike: Even the packaging, John. You’re going to love this. A hundred percent recyclable and the HP60 cartridge bodies contain at least 50% of recycled plastic. Michelle, John, that is really walking the walk.
Michelle: We really have an amazing recycling plastic program happening. So as you mentioned, the printer is made from 50% recycled plastic. We’ve introduced a number of printers that have recycled plastics in them. And then that cartridge that you talked about the HP60 cartridge, that’s actually made from a closed-loop recycling process. And what we do is we take original HP supplies that are empty, return them to HP through the HP Planet partners program. We take that cartridge and we recycle it. and we actually shred it, and then we separate the pieces and parts, and then we take the plastic, and we add recycled water bottles. We mold that into new original HP supplies. HP has shipped over 555 million inkjet cartridges made from that closed-loop recycling process.
John: Wow, that is amazing. So, HP is leading the way with regard to reuse and recycling.
Michelle: Absolutely. I’m really proud of that closed-loop recycling process because that’s something that when you’re talking about using recycled plastics, for example, if you can’t just take recycled plastics and say I’m going to make a printer out of this. Actually, those printers have to pass fire, health, and safety standards as well as the high-quality standards that customers expect of HP. And that was something that the engineering team worked on. It was over 5 years. I mean, it took a lot of engineering R&D and same with our inkjet cartridges. You’re talking about pretty small cartridges that really have to perform to the quality and standards of HP, and to be able to take plastic– and a lot of times what happens with plastic when you recycle it, you actually downcycle it. So you take it from something and then you actually take it down. What we were able to do is take a product and make the same product. And that’s why you can call it a closed-loop.
John: That’s fascinating, Michelle. Because Mike and I have had a call on the show as we have other leading brands and they talk about the infinite recycling ability of aluminum and other metals. But you’re so right. Plastic is much more difficult to work with so that really must have taken huge commitment and huge research and development to make that work.
Michelle: It did. It was really smart people. We’re talking Ph.D., environmental scientists, chemists, some of our brightest minds at HP to work on that process to make it come to fruition.
John: Hey, you know, Michelle, we have about 4 minutes left and we want to ask you for a crystal ball on HP. Obviously, you share with us already the amazing facts that since 57, 87, and 91, you’ve been leading the way and have been really the leading brand when it comes to design and recycling. And now that we know the big television companies are coming out with 3D televisions and Apple’s coming out with iPad, and now they’re coming out within the next generation in the months to come. Give our listeners a little crystal ball. And what’s in store for HP in terms of futuristic products and the sustainability movement?
Michelle: You definitely continue to see HP focusing on developing products and bringing products to market. So, the example earlier was the Deskjet, the 2600. And that product focused on the recycled content of the printer, the cartridge, the packaging, and there were a lot of aspects of that printer, and you can continue to expect to see from HP that’s the same type of focus where we look at our products and say, “How can we take more energy out of them? How can we make them more sustainable?” A couple of examples are, that we have a goal to reduce the energy efficiency of the printing– actually, of all HP products by 40% compared to a 2005 baseline.
Michelle: And that’s by 2011. And then we also announced a goal around having by the end of 2011 using over a hundred million pounds of recycled plastic. And so, what you’re seeing is a real commitment to continue to raise the bar upon ourselves, and to continue to challenge our product development teams in a very positive way to continue raising that bar. We also have announced some goals around our paper. So we have a paper policy and it refers to the papers that we buy to print collateral for trade shows, as an example, the papers that we use internally and as well as the papers that we sell to our customers. We have a goal to, also, as part of that, have 40% of our paper FSC-certified.
John: Wow. And now we have two minutes left, how about a pearl of wisdom or two for our listeners out there? Our young listeners who want to become the next Michelle Price? What is the pathway to become you in a small company or a large company? Because there’s a lot of people out there that want to reinvent themselves and become part of the Green Revolution, become part of the solution, instead of being on the outside of this great opportunity.
Michelle: I think that you can impact what your company is doing no matter where you are in the organization and no matter who you are. I mean, I think you find an area of passion and you just grab onto it, and if you’re at it, whether it’s a large or small company just figuring out what is it that you can bring to the table? So, for example, if your company is not doing anything to reduce your own environmental impact, think of ways that you actually can help the company reduce impact. Maybe you go out and build the business case for your company to begin recycling aluminum cans! Maybe, it’s as simple as saying that we want to be able to reduce our environmental impact by utilizing our lighting more efficiently and putting in sensors in our conference rooms. Go out and work with the right people. Do some little easy business case studies to prove how you can reduce your environmental impact. I mean, I don’t know that you have to have– you just figure out what your passion is and your area of expertise, and then overlay the green ones on top of that and figure out what it is that you can do to help your company. And again, I don’t think it matters where you are within the organization.
John: That’s great, great news. And we asked you earlier, we want you to come back at another date, and talk some more on these issues and all your great green marketing ideas. We want our listeners out there. Like Michelle said, “It’s a tie-breaker. So, on cost and quality, look at HP and all the great things they’re doing with regards to environmental responsibility and sustainability.” And we just want to thank you again Michelle for coming on. We know you’re so busy. You were tremendously informational today. You were also wonderfully inspirational. And you, Michelle Price, are living proof that Green Is Good.
Voiceover: This program will be available for download in a couple of days from our station’s website. Keyword- “podcast.” Thanks for listening and join us again next week at the same time for another edition of Green Is Good.
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