As part of its Sustainable Impact strategy, HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) announced an ambitious goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030. To help achieve its objective, the company announced the launch of HP PATH (Partnership and Technology for Humanity), an innovative accelerator program that will invest in local initiatives and partnerships to address challenges in underserved communities around the world focused on education, healthcare and the creation of economic opportunities.
Today’s announcement coincides with the milestone publication of HP’s 20th annual Sustainable Impact Report, that highlights the progress the company is making across its core pillars of Climate Action, Human Rights and Digital Equity. It follows recent actions the company has taken to accelerate progress, including some of the industry’s most comprehensive climate action goals, as well as aggressive steps to drive diversity, equity and inclusion and respect human rights across its ecosystem.
“Our Sustainable Impact strategy is helping to strengthen our communities while spurring innovation and growth across our business. Creating technology that inspires progress has always been one of HP’s greatest strengths, and we continue to hold ourselves accountable for achieving the goals we have set,” said Enrique Lores, President and CEO, HP Inc.
“As digital technology transforms seemingly every aspect of our lives, there’s a real danger of more and more people getting left behind. We cannot allow that to happen, and HP will work to break down the digital divide that prevents too many from accessing the education, jobs, and healthcare they need to thrive.” Lores continued.
Accelerating Digital Equity
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create the digital divide, but it has certainly exacerbated it. Digital inequity is at an all-time high and will only continue to grow if we do not work together to find solutions. During COVID-19, one-third of the world’s school-age children, or 463 million students, could not access remote learning, according to UNICEF. In the Philippines alone, 74 percent of public schools cannot make the transition to e-learning and more than 2 million students have no way of going online at all according to an enrollment survey conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2020. Beyond education, the growing digital divide can stand in the way of accessing modern healthcare and competitive job opportunities as digital transformation continues to accelerate.
HP believes digital equity is a human right and has invested in HP LIFE, a free IT and business skills training program offered by the HP Foundation, and supports and teams up with organizations including Girl Rising, MIT Solve and NABU to tackle this challenge.
Building on these efforts, HP commits to develop, launch, and manage a digital equity accelerator that seeks to support the digital equity of disenfranchised communities by activating innovative solutions and services for 150 million people by 2030.
HP believes true digital equity requires four key elements: hardware (e.g., laptop or printer); connectivity (e.g., access to the Internet); quality, relevant content (e.g., learning materials); and digital literacy, (e.g., skills to use the technology). HP’s work will focus on four specific communities that are most likely to experience digital divide:
- Women and girls;
- People with disabilities (including aging populations);
- Communities of color/marginalized groups;
- Educators and practitioners – to address their respective digital inclusion constraints and opportunities.
This focus will contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and help bridge needs with resources—in particular, healthcare, education, and economic opportunity.