Capability building

Remaining engaged with workers and suppliers and providing support is as important to our program as uncovering problems. We work with suppliers on programs that improve their ability to deliver substantial and lasting social and environmental responsibility (SER) performance improvements on a broad range of issues.

In conjunction with local and international NGOs, training groups, and other stakeholders, our work builds knowledge and strengthens processes, educating employees throughout supplier organizations and instilling behavioral changes through worker empowerment and management systems development.

Our central aim is to improve the lives of workers who are the focus of our capability building. We invest in worker skills development and empower workers to improve SER performance.

For a summary of past years capability building data, see Human progress, Data on page 56 of our HP 2014 Living Progress Report.

Demonstrating results

Since we started our capability-building programs in 2007, we have:

  • Carried out 32 programs in 14 countries on topics such as worker empowerment, anti-discrimination, energy efficiency, labor rights, women's health, and financial inclusion
  • Trained more than 530,000 workers and managers, the majority through direct engagement
  • Reached more than 525,000 workers with worker empowerment oriented programs
  • Reached over 180,000 students and graduates through our pre-departure training
  • Trained 422 sub-tier suppliers
  • Verified that suppliers engaging with HP in capability building perform better on audits than suppliers that do not

In addition, these programs have established supplier- and peer educator-run programs that have provided training to a much larger number of workers and sustained the programs long after initial trainings were completed.

To view the performance difference between suppliers that have participated in capability building compared to suppliers that have not, see the graphic “Impact of supplier engagement” in Audit results on page 36 of our HP 2014 Living Progress Report.

Introducing new suppliers

We introduce new suppliers to our supply chain responsibility program each year and hold supplier education forums to communicate our SER expectations.

Since 2010, we have educated more than 1,200 managers and supervisors in Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, reaching over 200 suppliers. In 2014, we held four supplier forums in Brazil, China (two), and Mexico, as well as a virtual forum for suppliers in Argentina and Colombia. In 2014, we also held our first supplier environmental summits. At the summits in Chongqing and Shenzhen, China, we reinforced our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals, provided trainings by experts, and facilitated best practice sharing between suppliers.

As our relationships with suppliers develop, we work to improve performance among sub-tier suppliers as well. When we identify opportunities address specific challenges, we use capability building to introduce good practices deeper in our supply chain. We have trained 422 sub-tier suppliers through programs conducted jointly with our first-tier suppliers. In 2014, we provided fire safety best practices training for 151 managers from 88 suppliers, including many several tiers deep in our supply chain which conduct operations that could present a hazard if not properly managed. Continuing our work to protect vulnerable foreign migrant workers, in 2014 we began training suppliers and labor agencies to raise awareness of issues related to human trafficking.

Our 2014 capability-building initiatives

Environmental programs

Supply Chain Environmental Summit and HP Energy Efficiency Program (EEP)

Audience/Reach: 189 managers from 95 facilities
Location: China, Malaysia, and Thailand
Year program began: 2010
Partner: WWF, WRI, and suppliers

We collaborate with several partners to promote energy efficiency. Since 2010, we’ve helped 213 supplier sites in China and Southeast Asia save 380 million kWh of electricity. We work with first-tier suppliers to get sub-tier supplier sites involved. In 2014 we further expanded our supplier Energy Efficiency Program (EEP) in China and Southeast Asia—collaborating with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the WWF China and World Resources Institute to promote energy efficiency programs and practices. Since initiating EEP, we have engaged 175 supplier sites in China, 26 in Malaysia, and 12 in Thailand. After completing EEP, we invite supplier sites to participate in broader environmental assessments using tools from the Global Social Compliance Programme (GCSP).

In 2014, we held two supplier environmental summits—the first of their kind for HP. These forums provided an opportunity for us to provide detail about our 2020 emissions intensity goal and associated supplier expectations, and enabled suppliers to share best practices in GHG emissions measurement and reduction. We asked participants to develop energy saving action plans targeting local efficiency improvements. We are monitoring these action plans and reporting on their progress as part of our efforts to help suppliers eliminate 2 million tonnes of CO2e in GHG emissions between 2010 and 2020.

Health and safety, and wellness

Health Enables Returns: HERproject

Audience/Reach: 9,174 workers
Location: China, Malaysia
Year program began: 2007

Female workers often arrive to supplier facilities with limited awareness of basic personal healthcare. We seek to bridge this gap through the BSR program Health Enables Returns (HERproject), which addresses women workers’ general and reproductive health needs and raises awareness of birth control and how to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. Since 2007, we have brought this program to suppliers in China, Malaysia, Mexico, and Thailand. In 2014, HP-sponsored programs reached five new suppliers in China and Malaysia. Since we began our involvement with HERproject, we have been able to reach more than 45,000 workers and 778 peer educators.

Financial literacy through HERfinance

Audience/Reach: 1,500 workers
Location: Brazil
Year program began: 2014
Partner: BSR

HERfinance, a BSR program, improves financial inclusion and literacy by connecting workers to financial services and using peer training modules to reach a larger, broader group of factory workers. As a long-time participant in HERproject, a women’s health education program, HP has embraced the opportunity to pilot HERfinance at a Flextronics factory in Brazil. The program launched in August 2014 with a financial needs assessment to measure the baseline financial knowledge of workers. The program, which will reach 1,500 women and men, is tailored to the specific financial inclusion needs of the Brazilian workforce and covers topics such as responsible consumption, reducing debt, and planning for unexpected expenses and retirement.

Supplier management systems

Anti-human Trafficking Training

Audience/Reach: 163 managers
Location: Malaysia
Year program began: 2011
Partners: Intel, Western Digital, and Seagate

Slavery and human trafficking can take many forms, including forced labor and child labor. Since HP began its Supply Chain Responsibility program in 2000, we’ve undertaken efforts to ensure and verify there is no bonded, child, forced, indentured, or involuntary prison labor in HP's supply chain. HP believes that workers at supplier facilities have the right to:

  • Freely choose employment;
  • Associate freely, join or be represented by worker councils, join labor unions on a voluntary basis, and bargain collectively as they choose (in accordance with local laws), and;
  • Work in a workplace free of harassment and unlawful discrimination.

HP worked with Intel, Seagate, and Western Digital on a series of Anti-Human Trafficking training programs in Johor, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang, Malaysia. These training sessions, involving suppliers and labor agencies, trained more than 163 managers from 46 first-tier suppliers and 117 second-tier suppliers. Participants learned how to build strong management systems and labor agencies were urged to undergo EICC audits. The training also encouraged participation of labor agents in the EICC VAP audit program.

Participatory Occupational Health and Safety Intervention and combustible dust prevention

Audience/Reach: 151 managers from 88 facilities
Location: China
Year program began: 2014
Partners: Hong Kong Workers’ Health Center (HKWHC)

We partnered with experts, including Dr. Kazutaka Kogi, President of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), and professional industrial hygienists from the Hong Kong Worker’s Health Centre, to train management from 16 suppliers on worker stress prevention, mental health awareness, combustible dust prevention, and Participatory Occupational Safety and Health Intervention (POSHI). Managers from 62 additional suppliers attended a webinar focused on preventing combustible dust explosions and fire safety, including suppliers working in metal fabrication several tiers deep in our supply chain.

POSHI is an on-site program that engages workers and management in the process of identifying and solving occupational health and safety (OHS) issues. The program seeks to address OHS risks by leveraging the direct insights workers have about issues at their workplace.

Occupational Health and Safety train the trainer pilot

Audience/Reach: 50 managers
Location: China
Year program began: 2014
Partner: Verité

The goal of this “train the trainer” pilot program, conducted in partnership with Verité, is to develop occupational health and safety (OHS) expertise at suppliers. Trainees undergo five days of instruction on occupational hygiene, OHS law, safety operations, protection of juvenile workers, occupational surveillance, personal protective equipment (PPE), first aid, emergency preparedness, and prevention of common safety issues. This is followed by on-line coursework before OHS certification supported by the Chinese Academy of Safety Science and Technology and the Training Center of State Administration of Work Safety.

The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) worker empowerment

Audience/Reach: 210 managers and 21,082 workers
Location: China
Year program began: 2011
Partner: IDH

Our membership in the Sustainable Trade Initiative (known as IDH) demonstrates our collaborative, cross-cutting approach to capability building. A partnership of multinational corporations, civil society organizations, and government agencies, IDH’s electronics program seeks to improve the rights and working conditions of 500,000 Chinese factory workers through better worker-management communication and workplace practices. It also promotes environmental measures at targeted facilities, including reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste, and water use. In 2013, we nominated ten of our China-based suppliers, representing over 21,000 workers and 210 managers, to join IDH and benefit from their support and expertise. The program takes two years to complete and none of suppliers involved in the program have gone through the entire cycle.

Social Accountability International’s (SAI) Brazil Worker Engagement Program

Audience/Reach: 30 managers and 2,970 workers
Location: Brazil
Year program began: 2013
Partner: Partner: SAI, the Rapid Results Institute, Labor Link, the Walt Disney Company, and suppliers

Risk of injury from physically demanding work was a leading cause of major nonconformances in our Latin America region in 2012. To build our suppliers’ ability to address this issue, in 2013 and 2014, we partnered with SAI, the Rapid Results Institute and Labor Link to conduct a 100-day improvement program at three major HP suppliers in Brazil. Through a founding grant from The Walt Disney Company, the Brazil Worker Engagement program – a Brazil-specific version of SAI’s Rapid Results program – helped improve factory conditions by increasing workers’ input on safety issues. This included opening up more channels of communications such as anonymous mobile surveys, establishing grievance mechanisms, and empowering newly formed ‘social performance’ teams. Social performance teams are made up of both workers and management and help drive further improvement projects.

One of our larger suppliers, Flextronics, saw dramatic results. Using worker surveys, the program team identified several areas for improvement and addressed them through a combination of quick fixes – such as adjusting workstations – and long term investments such as ergonomics training and the creation of a permanent ergonomics committee with worker representation. The program team reached their goal of reducing absenteeism due to injuries to 4.8% from more than 8% in 100 days, both protecting workers and lowering costs. We hope that this example of worker engagement and cross-stakeholder collaboration will improve safety and demonstrate that investing in social improvement creates positive business results. We aim to continue this program with suppliers in Brazil and examine opportunities in other countries and regions.

General worker empowerment including EICC awareness

EICC Workers’ Rights Training

Audience/Reach: 1,200 workers
Location: China
Year program began: 2008
Partners: Home for New Citizen

About 1,200 workers, from two suppliers in China, benefited from our workers’ rights training initiative in 2014. Delivered in partnership with Home for New Citizen, a China NGO, this program helps workers better understand their rights and how to raise grievances about their working environment. In addition, the program describes a hotline for workers to ask questions or present grievances. Since 2008, the training has directly reached over 27,000 workers.

HP's pre-departure/Employing interns training

Audience/Reach: 319 facility and school trainers, and over 46,400 graduates and student workers
Location: China
Year program began: 2011
Partners: Labor Education and Service Network (LESN)

Since January 2011, we and the Labor and Education Service Network (LESN) have partnered to train vocational schools and human resources departments at supplier sites on labor rights in preparation for incoming interns and recent graduates. After attending this event, we expect our trainees to then share this knowledge with their students and new workers. We have conducted this training throughout China, starting in Wuhan in central China and then expanding west to Chongqing, south to Guangdong, and east to Jiangsu. In 2014, the program reached trainers and over 46,400 graduates and student workers.

Hepatitis B antidiscrimination and prevention program

Audience/Reach: 16 medical staff and Environment, Health & Safety specialists, over 5,900 workers at four facilities
Location: China
Year program began: 2009
Partners: Inno Community Development Organisation

Discrimination against people with Hepatitis B (HBV) remains a significant issue in China. Since 2009, we have hosted training sessions on HBV antidiscrimination and prevention programs to help mitigate this issue in our supply chain. To raise awareness of HBV and eliminate discrimination against HBV-positive workers, we show suppliers how to teach workers about HBV and prevent it through “Health Corners” and internal training. We also inform suppliers that requiring HBV tests for employment is a violation of HP’s Supplier Code of Conduct. In 2014, we visited four supplier sites and provided more in-depth medical training. Since we began the program, we’ve reached more than 195,000 workers and managers.

Migrant worker parenting training

Audience/Reach: 600 migrant workers and 548 children of migrant workers
Location: China
Year program began: 2014
Partners: Inno Community Development Organisation

In response to the increasing number of migrant workers in China, we partnered with the Chinese NGO Inno to develop and pilot a training program on parenting at two supplier sites in Guangzhou, China. The program was designed for parents working far from home and focuses on improving work-life balance, dealing with family-related stress, and improving communication with children. The participants reported high overall satisfaction with the trainings and success using new communication techniques. We will work with the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) to expand the program to Chongqing in 2015.