Case Study: Clean Cooking Stoves
The case study highlights multiple issues that are addressed by clean cookstoves. These range from the health issues that millions of people are exposed to due to using outdated cooking methods to environmental issues associated with the outdated methods of cooking. According to the case study, clean cookstoves will address multiple environmental issues, including global warming, change of climate, and biodiversity degradation.
The outdated cooking process that clean cookstoves are intended to eliminate produces lots of soot and carbon dioxide. The soot produced comes only second to carbon dioxide in terms of contribution to global warming (Hoffman, 2018). The clean cookstoves substantially reduce the level of soot produced and as a result, have a reducing effect on global warming. Soot, composed of carbon particles emitted by chimneys and vehicles, remains poorly known despite a major impact on health and climate. For long, the scientific community had agreed on the low impact of soot on the atmosphere, noting that the pollutant is quickly inhibited by the oxidizing environment, thus limiting its impact (Nhamo, 2016). However, according to Bocken (2017), it has been recently proven that there is a significant reactivity of soot when exposed to light. This position is further reaffirmed by Ojo & Fapohunda (2018) who further reports that this reactivity leads to the production of ozone precursors (major pollutants of the air at low altitude) and above all, allows the displacement of these pollutants over long distances. Considering the millions of homes that rely on the ancient methods of cooking in the developing world, reducing soot can have an extremely positive effect on the climate.
Other than impacting on climate change, biodiversity is also a major issue addressed by the clean cookstoves. Wood and/or charcoal is widely used for cooking across the globe, more especially in the developing world. Wood is a more important source of energy than oil for most of humanity (Bocken, 2017). Increased use of fuel has a disastrous effect on the forests. Today, thanks to the extensive use of trees, the forest cover has substantially declined. It is expected that by reducing the over-reliance on wood as the primary source of fuel, tree cutting would reduce substantially, thus allowing the forest cover to improve (Hoffman, 2018). The reduction in tree cutting can further help in improving the preservation of water catchment areas that have been destroyed through extensive logging to meet human fuel needs.
The clean cookstove is an innovative idea that offers the potential for amateur entrepreneurs to join the fray. The case study tells a story of Suraj Wahab, who started a small business, Toyola Energy Inc. The businesses’ core activity is the production of clean cookstoves using locally sourced material, including scrap metal and fired clay linings. The business targeted over 30% of Ghanaian households that rely on charcoal (Hoffman, 2018). Promising twice the efficiency in burning charcoal as compared to traditional open fire used by these households, the business idea was able to attract sponsors and cut a niche for itself in the market. Sooner, the business was able to employ more than 150 people selling over 150,000 stoves. This reflect the great economic potential that clean cookstoves and related technology has to offer. The story is replicated in many corners of the globe. Other than creating business opportunities and employing people, the idea helps users to save in terms of energy expenditure. In essence, clean cookstoves, being an innovative idea, offers great potential for establishing new businesses. Further, because these stoves can be produced using locally available raw materials, and the knowledge can be easily transmitted, entry into this line of business is easy (Hoffman, 2018). By creating business and employment opportunities, the clean cookstoves offer an opportunity to save some families from poverty. Additionally, the savings generated from fuel costs can be directed to other uses, thereby reducing the impact of poverty on millions of families across the globe.
Part B: Hewlett Packard Sustainable Operation Initiatives
Hewlett Packard, like other corporations, has, in recent times, adopted sustainable operations in its business. According to the company, they have set their business in a manner that focuses on the development of a technology that serves humanity in all aspects rather than only generating profits. The measures that HP has taken towards the achievement of sustainability have been influenced by both external and internal factors. The sustainability initiatives have a global impact and have been largely facilitated by harnessing of technology for purposes of promoting sustainability.
External Forces or Influences
Hewlett Packard’s shift to management practices that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible has been largely inspired by multiple external forces. These include codes of conduct, repositories for procedural or cognitive governance, and market mechanisms, among others.
Industry Codes of conduct is one of the major external factors that have influenced management decision making at HP. Industry Codes are instruments created by federations, professional associations, or companies, for example, Electronic Industry Code created by Dell, IBM, and HP (Ness & Xing, 2015). These codes are specific to the industry and are intended to guide the conduct of companies in the industry in relation to issues of national. regional, or global importance. Other codes are developed by or with non-governmental organizations or unions; for instance, the European Union has driven decision making, especially concerning climate change initiatives at HP (Ness & Xing, 2015). Some codes are based on self-regulation, others on regulation by “societal institutions,” and a co-constructed mixed regulation.
Other than codes, there are the repositories for procedural or cognitive governance. In this respect, the two main modes of governance characterize the management tools qualified as reference systems. Procedural control for one-dimensional repositories is one-dimensional instruments targeting a single dimension of sustainable development or CSR. On the other hand, cognitive governance for multidimensional repositories is a multidimensional instrument that combines at least two dimensions of sustainability. One-dimensional standards are in most cases standards subject to certification, such as the social standard SA 8000, standard in ISO 9000 quality, and occupational health and safety standard OHS18001 (Jia, Gosling, & Witzel, 2017). These standards involve procedural control by independent auditors. This form of control guarantees neither a performance nor a result but rather ensures the respect of a path by the company. As an example, the specifications of OSH18001 regulatory compliance are enlightening. The company must identify situations of non-compliance with the regulations and then propose a compliance plan within a period qualified as “reasonable”. Unlike one-dimensional repositories, multidimensional repositories rarely offer the possibility of certification; they thus present a low level of constraint for the users. The work of developing the future ISO standard for sustainable development indicates that ISO 26000 will not lead to certification, at least initially. The preparatory documents put forward an objective of clarification of the notion of sustainable development, the principles that govern it, and the actions that it can cover.
Market mechanisms also influence sustainability decisions at HP. The markets for goods and services play a role in terms of governance, which is linked to certain tools of CSR and sustainable development. The market for goods and services in Business to Consumer allows the development of a societal label. The awarding of a label reflects on the brand. Labeled domains still constitute niche markets. However, they are being promoted with a bright future because of the growing popularity of Western consumers for fair trade. Besides, the market for goods and services between professionals (Business to Business) is increasingly regulated by the existence of codes of conduct and standards that concern the entire production chain (Bocken, 2017). These extend the control of the working conditions of the client company to second-tier suppliers. Additionally, speeches, acts of communication, and reflections fuel the very current issues of sustainable development and CSR in developed countries (Bocken, 2017). The ideological biases of non-governmental organizations, the productions of scientific research, the communication of consulting firms, and the declared commitment of the public authorities make sustainability a key issue for the company.
Internal Forces or Influences
A number of internal factors influence management actions at HP. These factors include profitability, internal policies, investor decisions, and internal culture, among others. Strategic decisions within the company play an important role in shaping its sustainability practices. Decision-making is critical when forming a strategy. In hierarchically organized enterprises, decisions are made by the managers, and the process is, therefore, top-down. However, the process can also go from bottom to top if it encourages employees to play an important role in shaping the strategy. HP has socially responsible investors (SRIs). Investors encourage the company to behave more responsibly. As part of its internal strategic approach, HP has committed to waste reduction, shrinking carbon footprint, commitment to reduce GHG in its supply chain by 10% before 25, help its suppliers to cut carbon dioxide emission, engage in recycling, attain free deforestation for HP products, and adopt over 60% renewable energy into its production (Gananian & Patterson, 2015). Although some of these measures are inspired by external factors, there are no legal commitments, and as such, it takes internal strategic decision-making willingness to implement the measures.
Other than internal decision making, cultural values, power, and politics constitute the internal dynamics of a company that helps in the formulation of strategies. The values of the company have stood out as an effective management tool that aims to make the company more competitive by creating a motivated workforce (Bocken, 2017). The company publishes yearly reports report in which it reaffirms its devotion to its actions in social and environmental responsibility, allowing any investor to incorporate extra-financial criteria into his or her choices (HP Inc., 2018). These companies routinely rely on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) benchmark. HP, unlike many corporations, actually respect the principle of “balance” of displaying both the favorable aspects of societal engagement and its shortcomings.
Global Impacts of Sustainable Development Initiatives
Sustainable development measures that various companies employ have an impact at the global level. One such measure that HP has applied is the adoption of renewable energy in production. HP is making efforts to reduce its reliance on non-renewable energy sources in production. Such energy sources, including fuel and coal, have serious negative repercussions on the environment and climate. To limit greenhouse gas emissions, HP has identified the necessity to be able to produce electricity from less polluting sources: carbon-free energies. Today most of the world’s electricity is produced from coal, which emits a lot of CO2 (Gananian & Patterson, 2015). However, there are several sources of energy that emit little CO2: wind energy, solar or hydro, or nuclear.
Experts agree that renewable energy will have a significant role in limiting global warming. By committing to adopt over 60% renewable energy in its operations by 2025, HP is contributing towards the move to reduce global warming (Gananian & Patterson, 2015). A majority of carbon dioxide emissions results from energy production, distribution, and use. De-carbonization of the energy sector is, therefore, one way through which carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced (Hewlett Packard, 2019). For organizations and nations to meet the internationally agreed GHG emissions, emphasis must be placed on renewable energy sources. Currently, it is estimated that renewable energy only accounts for 5% of total global energy production (Gananian & Patterson, 2015). It has already been established that renewable energy is effective in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and hence, increasing reliance on renewable energy by just 5% could have a significantly positive impact on the environment. The positive effect of adopting renewable energy was affirmed at the G20 last year, where it was reported that for the first time in 40 years, energy-related emissions had been stabilized.
Harnessing Technology for Sustainable Development
Technology is at the forefront of pursuing sustainable development. HP has invested in technology as a precursor for promotion of sustainable development concerning its products. In a bid to encourage recycling, HP uses the internet, website, and social media to facilitate the collection of aged PCs for purposes of recycling (Hewlett Packard, 2019). Additionally, it educates users on practices that they can adopt in using the machines to lower energy consumption and hence lower the resulting carbon footprint and GHG emissions. Through the internet, HP has been able to create awareness and as a result, promote sustainable practices within its supply chain. In terms of production, HP is investing in emerging technologies related to renewable energy as one of the forefront approaches to achieving sustainability (HP, 2018). The company acknowledges the important role of technology in promoting its initiatives to promote environmental sustainability. Technology has also enabled the company to limit the footprint resulting from the production of the components that it uses in production.
Hewlett Packard has taken the lead in adopting sustainability in its operations. From compliance to the industry code of conduct concerning sustainable practices, abiding by the stipulated codes, regulations, and standards to responding to market forces and trends relating to sustainable practices, HP has adopted a business model that reflects its commitment to achieving sustainability. The practices it has adopted, including increased use of renewable energy, recycling parts, reducing GHG emissions to attain free deforestation for HP products, are aimed at enabling increased sustainability in its operations and meet its contribution to the industry, country, and region.
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