Hewlett-Packard announced Tuesday that it would be setting a "carbon footprint challenge" for its 4,000 employees in Ireland to help make the company greener.
The challenge is part of a company-wide effort to reduce energy usage by 20 per cent before 2010.
"Energy efficiency is a key priority for HP and we know that encouraging a culture of environmental awareness amongst employees is critical to the success of our worldwide environmental initiatives," said HP Ireland managing director Martin Murphy in a statement.
Online tools and local reference points will be used to provide the company's Irish employees with access to the latest environmental information and advice needed to reduce emissions and save money. These will include an online carbon footprint calculator tool.
Employees will also be given the opportunity to sponsor the planting of a tree in association with forestry products company Coillte. A successful electronic waste recycling programme for employees that was begun last year will also be continued. Nearly 7,000kg of electronic waste was safely disposed of under the scheme in the past year.
HP in Ireland already recycles over 90 per cent of all non-hazardous solid waste produced by its facilities in Ireland. This figure compares to the overall country average recycling rate of 35 per cent.
As well as reducing its energy output by 20 per cent before 2010, the ICT giant also plans to increase its renewable energy purchases by more than 350 per cent by procuring 50 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity during 2007. As one of HP's major manufacturing bases, the Irish arm of the company will play a large part in this initiative.
Tuesday's announcement is the latest in a series of 'green' initiatives put forward by the major players in Ireland's IT industry. Next Saturday, Dell will be holding a free electronic waste recycling day at its Cherrywood complex in Dublin in association with WEEE Ireland and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Dell is also running a global scheme where, for a small donation on purchasing a new laptop or desktop, a tree will be planted to offset the carbon emissions associated with the use of the new machine. Meanwhile, chip manufacturer Intel has also announced recently that all processors it produces in the future will be 100 per cent lead-free.
Ironically perhaps it is the 'alternative' choice Apple that appears to be lagging behind in this area. In January, the maker of the iPod and the MacBook was criticised by environmental group Greenpeace for not doing enough to use less environmentally-damaging materials in its products.
Research released in March showed that a majority of Irish IT companies feel they could and should be doing more to protect the environment, but the sometimes high costs associated with doing so were cited as a turn-off.
© 2007 ENN