Large and small businesses, local and national governments, and families and individuals have all been challenged by COVID-19 in ways few of us could have imagined. While we prioritized contributing to the global battle against the pandemic, we continued to drive progress toward our other commitments. As many of our facilities—particularly manufacturing sites—were deemed essential by virtue of the products produced, we needed to be particularly vigilant to continue delivering critical IT technologies to support working from home while protecting worker health and safety. By putting people’s safety and human rights first in our response to the virus, HP’s people demonstrated how we live by our values.
Together with the global digital manufacturing community, we mobilized HP’s 3D printing technology, experience, and production capacity to deliver critical medical parts to meet urgent needs. Items made included face masks and shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers, and respirator parts. We coordinated with government, health, and industry agencies in numerous countries to support a synchronized and effective approach. Our global network of print service providers also innovated to help medical teams, businesses, and the public to combat COVID-19, including through signage and communication materials. We deployed free HP bioprinters to government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and nongovernmental organizations to support diagnostic and vaccine research.
In rapidly deploying our technology to tackle the pandemic, we had to reassess how we manage our operations and supply chain to address the severe risks to workers and communities. Our response mirrored our commitment to respecting human rights: we identified risks to our employees, contingent workers, and partners, then acted decisively to manage and mitigate those risks. We quickly switched most employees to working from home. For those in manufacturing and other functions that could not transition to a remote model, we implemented safety and hygiene training and protocols that addressed physical distancing, personal protective equipment, site visitor restrictions, alternate staffing shifts, and enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices. We also put in place contact tracing initiatives. The pandemic’s impact on travel and site access reduced the number of supplier audits and assessments we were able to complete, but we sought ways to continue engaging with suppliers and used technology to safely conduct assurance work. We also helped our suppliers navigate these complex challenges through capacity building. Our HP Supplier Code of Conduct has strict health and safety expectations, and we published practice for suppliers’ protection of workers during COVID-19.
To stay connected with supplier worker needs and concerns, we conducted a survey around leave, labor practices, and wages and benefits. We asked if workers diagnosed with COVID-19 were given necessary support such as medical treatment and compensation. We also enquired if new workers were hired and whether the facility still followed their own labor procedures such as no recruitment fees or child labor. Recognizing that facilities would cut working hours during lockdown and may increase them as the situation improved, we also wanted to know if overtime was still voluntary and if wages were properly paid. We found that our suppliers had protocols in place to address COVID-19 detection and prevention, and to support infected workers. We also found labor practices consistent with our requirements. In Asia and Latin America, we supported virtual training for suppliers on mitigating the risks of forced labor given that travel restrictions could increase worker vulnerability, reaching more than 500 supplier managers and supervisors.
In 2021 and beyond, we will continue to address the evolving challenges of the pandemic and put the safety of our employees and supply chain workers first.