Empowering Innovators for Maximum Climate Impact

By Ellen Jackowski | Chief Impact Officer and Head of Sustainable Impact at HP

Northampton, MA –News Direct– HP Inc.

Each year, we dedicate the month of April to catalyzing action and ideas as part of Earth Month. The need for action has never been greater. We are running out of time to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid irreversible damage to ecosystems and vulnerable populations. In order to overcome the pressing and complex problems we face, we need solutions as diverse and complex as the problems they address. A new generation of innovators is mobilizing to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges, and they’re on a mission to beat the clock.

At HP, we believe that a thoughtful idea has the power to change the world. Today’s changemakers are more motivated than ever to turn their creativity and intelligence into meaningful action. They already have the passion and commitment to adapt and evolve their ideas. By investing in innovators focused on driving climate action through grants, mentorship and technology, we can ensure they also have the platform they need to scale those ideas to an even greater impact.

Advancing the circular economy through plastic innovation

Plastic film accounts for less than a fifth of all plastic produced, but accounts for 46% of ocean plastic. The volume of plastic entering the ocean each year is expected to triple by 2040, causing further damage to ecosystems already damaged by the effects of climate change. The TOM FORD Plastics Innovation Prize, supported by Lonely Whale, is a unique global competition focused on creating scalable, biodegradable alternatives to thin-film plastics.

Entries were submitted by 64 teams from 26 countries, and the eight finalists were chosen as the best, most viable and scalable ideas to compete for the top prize. Finalists will compete for collective funding of $1.2 million and receive three years of additional support.

Their work is groundbreaking and urgently needed to solve one of the most persistent problems we face in the world today. HP is part of the Early Adopter Coalition and joins a cohort of leading brands that have agreed to test finalist materials within our supply chain in an effort to eliminate thin-film plastic for good. The winners of the competition will be announced in early 2023.

girls save the world

I shared last month how women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change. We know that investing in a girl’s education increases her country’s resilience to climate disasters, delivering measurable benefit to both individuals and society. That’s why HP and MIT Solve launched the “Girls Save the World” award for the Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge.

The award is open to solutions addressing sustainability challenges that are led by girls aged 13-18. Ten finalists will attend Girls Save the World Camp next month, where they will be mentored by sustainability experts from HP and other partners as they compete for the grand prize of $10,000.

Girls Save the World builds on our previous collaborations with MIT Solve, empowering women and traditionally marginalized populations through Solver Challenges, including anti-racism technology and digital inclusion in 2021. Applications for the 2022 Black and Brown Innovators Challenge in the United States for innovators under 24 just closed at the end of March. Winners of last year’s challenges will share their progress at Solve at MIT 2022, May 5-7. Everyone is invited to join the event via the livestream.

Equipping Changemakers at Scale

BeChangeMaker is a three-month online training program that inspires action on global issues through social entrepreneurship and skills building. Supported by WorldSkills and the HP Foundation, BeChangeMaker provides participants with access to high-quality educational content through the HP Foundation’s skills-building program, HP LIFE, as well as the tools and technology needed to support their business, as well as as dedicated coaching, mentoring and support, including a global network of supporters and potential investors.

Since its inception in 2017, more than 1,200 teams from 80 countries have applied. Last year’s winner, VaxiGlobal of Zimbabwe, is developing a digital immunization certification system that can counter fraud and use biometrics to verify information where smart phones are not widely available. The 2020 winner, EZDiabetes, includes contributors from India, the United States and France. Their solution is a one-stop management platform that will help people with diabetes live healthier lives with the support of their communities. Changemakers like VaxiGlobal and EZDiabetes’ ingenuity, combined with strategic support, can have far-reaching impacts on global challenges.

Applications for the 2022 cohort are open until June 3 and all young social entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply.

Building a sustainable impact team of 55,000 people

We also activate changemakers within HP. I’ve written before about how every HP employee is encouraged to set a sustainable impact goal as part of their annual goal-setting process. The theme of this year’s employee engagement campaign for Earth Day is “Every Job is a Climate Job”. We spotlight 25 employees from all levels of the organization who have demonstrated that climate change solutions really can be part of any function. One example is an HP intern who developed a tool to ensure all corporate business events are carbon neutral and zero waste by 2025. She has since joined HP as an employee.

Changemakers, like Madeline Song, help inspire and motivate our team of 55,000 sustainable impact people to carry out our mission to become the most sustainable and fairest technology company in the world.

Create nature-based solutions

If you want further proof of the determination and ingenuity of young changemakers, I encourage you to watch the new short film, GENERATION IMPACT: THE SCIENTIST. It’s the latest in Garage by HP’s Generation Impact series, which follows Gen Z inventors who use technology to make the world a better place.

Emily Tianshi is a young scientist who applies the principles of biomimicry to design. At just thirteen, she embarked on a research project out of her garage to figure out how Torrey pines are able to store moisture so effectively, even in extreme drought. Inspired by her findings, she then created a device — using a $20 microscope, Legos and various household items — that harvests moisture directly from the air. Now a freshman in college, Emily is working to patent her device. She is also the founder of Clearwater Innovation, an environmental advocacy program that encourages student innovation to solve environmental problems.

A reason for hope in the crisis

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it clear that we don’t have time to wait for action on climate change and other pressing global issues. Today’s innovators have taken a leadership position in the fight for a more resilient and equitable world. As business leaders, we have the opportunity to help them grow by sharing access to global resources and networks and providing mentorship because they also mentor us.

These changemakers are invested in creating a better future for their generation and everything beyond. When they have access to the infrastructure to scale their solutions, a powerful idea now has a huge impact.

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