Early on, Hewlett Packard (HP) embraced several costly environmental initiatives around reducing the harmful impact of electronic waste (e-waste) resulting from their products at the end of their lives. Despite these well-intentioned efforts at environmental sustainability, through internalizing negative externalities, they were not financially sustainable for HP vis-à-vis competitors who did nothing to offset their harm. Policymakers in California attempted to address the broader problem of e-waste through legislation proposing to tax all manufacturers of products that resulted in toxic e-waste. This left HP in a challenging position of whether or not to support the tax of manufacturers or to oppose it in favor of alternative legislation around electronic waste.
Suitable Courses: Non-market Strategy, Corporate Political Strategy, Business and Public Policy, Business and Society, Corporate Social Responsibility, Applied Political Economy, Regulation
Bigger picture: This case illustrates how firms can use lobbying strategies to complement socially responsible activities that are cost centers and turn them into a competitive advantage by aligning business activities with public policies they craft which are more pro-market than some policymakers’ best efforts to create policy that reduces firms’ negative externalities—and allows politicians to claim a win with constituents.
Format: PDF, Part A and Part B
Publication Date: September 2019
Length: Part A - 12 pages; Part B - 4 pages; English PDF
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Download (PDF Part A)
Download (PDF Part B)