Welcome to the TSSS Series on Canadian Women in CSR. Learn about their journeys, discover what inspires them and explore how they’re making a difference through their careers in sustainability. Please follow the link to read about other exceptional Canadian Women in CSR.
TSSS: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.
Frances Edmonds: HP Canada’s Director of Environmental Programs: I manage our environmental partnerships and programs in Canada, provide expertise to our customers & partners and drive business value from our extensive Living Progress (CSR) programs. Globally I help design and drive our environmental employee engagement programs. I have been with HP for 15 years starting with managing HP Canada’s extended producer responsibility programs & then helping to establish & operate provincial industry wide programs nationwide.
TSSS: How has the sustainability program evolved at your company?
FE: From the beginning 75 years ago, our founders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, emphasized CSR stating that the real reason HP existed was to make a difference. Inspired by that ethos HP’s CSR programs were very decentralized. More recently we have been consolidating from “1000 points of light” to key strategic initiatives. In 2013 this resulted in us measuring our full carbon footprint – a truly gargantuan task which identified that 60% of our global impact is from our customers using our products. This reinforced the importance of helping our customers reduce impact through our design-for-the-environment program and a well-educated sales team who understand the issues and can assist customers in reducing that impact. Additionally, it validated our long time leadership in transparency and our focus on reducing the impact of our supply chain which we found to be responsible for 36% of our carbon footprint.
TSSS: Tell us about someone (mentor, sponsor, friend, hero) who affected your sustainability journey and how.
FE: HP is full of sustainability “leaders” in all walks of the business and around the world. I find that the many interactions I have with them inspires me daily. I’m also very lucky to have a fabulous manager (Lloyd Bryant) who “gets” what I do and actually encourages me to do more. Seeing the intersection of doing-more-with-less as a key business enabler is not intuitive! Lloyd has enabled me to try new ways of driving home the sustainability message and to become a leader in the industry. His business acumen and leadership in this space inspires me to strive for the best and biggest impact possible. (I also have him to thank for getting me to jump into a frigid LakeOntario in -11°C weather to raise funds for WWF’s arctic conservation work!)
TSSS: What is the best advice you have ever received?
TSSS: Can you share a recent accomplishment that you’re especially proud of?
FE: My work with WWF is especially fulfilling: Our joint program, Living Planet @ Work – championed by HP, not only exemplifies a new way to approach problems: bringing the best of the for profit & not for profit world together- but also is about unleashing the human potential in over 700 companies. It’s truly inspiring to see how much the champions who sign up can accomplish, with this program supporting them all the way.
TSSS: If you had the power to make one major change at your company or in your industry, what would it be?
FE: One of the conundrums of the high tech industry is the rapid rate of innovation and the strong consumer drive for new & “cool” products; this leads to a focus on “new factor” rather than the longevity or impact of products and companies. (At one point HP even offered a product with a guaranteed 5 year support cycle but found there was not a customer demand.) I would change the way our customers buy products and services by having them consider and ask questions about how long products/services will last and the product’s/company’s environmental impact, including supply chain transparency and end of life solutions.
TSSS: Describe your perfect day.
FE: My perfect day begins with some physical activity – a bike ride to work (or a swim in winter) followed by:
- Collaboration projects within & outside of HP
- Some public speaking – I love to educate & inspire
- Watching our resident hawk from our beautiful office where we have worked hard to gain a certificate in ecological landscaping: I like thinking from his perspective on biodiversity and ecological management here on our site and around the world
- Driving our very healthy volunteer programs – last year in Canada alone our employees gave over 65,000 hours, estimated to be over $4.5 million in contributed value back to Canada
- Scheming on how I can get every HP employee – all 300,000 plus of them – to use their 4 hours of paid volunteer time on an environmental project
To read about other exceptional Canadian Women in CSR, please follow this link.