Guest Opinions

Idaho Climate Summit: Solutions to safeguard our economy

By David Eichberg

The U.S. Climate Action Center at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Nov. 9. The non-government movement “We are still in” established the pavilion and forum where American leaders will convene during the negotiations.
The U.S. Climate Action Center at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Nov. 9. The non-government movement “We are still in” established the pavilion and forum where American leaders will convene during the negotiations. AP

Nearly two-thirds of Idahoans understand that the state’s climate is changing — yet only one-third of them are talking about it. That’s according to a 2016 Yale University public opinion poll, and reveals a gap between knowledge and action.

We are witnessing more intense wildfires, hurricanes, drought and floods in line with what climate science predicts. Our businesses and communities will increasingly face extreme weather and greater resource constraints and costs. To succeed and thrive, we need to encourage dialogue, devise solutions and share learnings.

On Nov. 16-17, business and civic leaders around the state will convene the Idaho Climate Summit to explore how we can collectively address the impacts of a changing climate and safeguard Idaho’s economy. Businesses, organizations, schools and individuals are welcome to participate, either online or in person at sites around the state.

HP is one of several companies and organizations supporting the summit. We see the need for climate action not only as our responsibility, but vital to our long-term success. Our customers and investors also expect this of us. We work to make our company more efficient, resilient and competitive by innovating and improving how we work and what we deliver. For instance, the HP print cartridges you use today are made using a recycled plastic sourced from plastic water bottles, apparel hangers and HP cartridges returned through our Planet Partners program. In over 3 billion cartridges to date, this closed loop plastic uses half the amount of fossil fuel and has a 33 percent smaller carbon footprint than new plastic.

We apply the same reinvention mind set to our own operations as well. Driving by the Boise HP campus on Chinden Avenue, you may notice a change in the landscape — literally. Working with local and national groups, we are replacing non-indigenous grass on our campus with native grasses that require less maintenance and attract local pollinators. The campus now saves 82,900 cubic meters of water annually (enough to fill 33 Olympic-sized swimming pools), and has reduced emissions by 90 percent and landscaping costs by nearly 50 percent. That’s a smart solution for an increasingly water-stressed region. The project was just awarded a SITES Gold certification for designing, developing and maintaining sustainable landscapes. It’s the first certification of its kind for the state of Idaho and the first corporate campus in the world certified using the SITES v2 rating system.

As the Idaho Climate Summit will show, many Idaho companies are devising their own solutions to similar effect. Ideas and innovation are emerging from the private, public and non-profit sectors across the state to help meet the needs and interests of all — from farms to forests, from recreation to manufacturing, and from wildlife to human health.

The summit this offers both a focal point and a starting point for the conversation, cooperation and creativity we need to champion Idaho’s economy into the future. We can address the challenge before us if we engage on the issue and act together.

David Eichberg is global initiatives lead for sustainability and social innovation at HP Inc. in Boise.

More details

Get info about the Nov. 16-17 summit at Boise State University at www.idahoclimatesummit.com .

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