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I have been talking to HP about accessibility over the last few months. Accessibility and Green Issues both come under the HP Corporate so I was invited to a briefing on the HP Climate Strategy Framework. This is not really part of my research but it is an area that interests me personally so I decided to listen in.
The figure below shows the four parts that make up the HP climate strategy.
The description starts with HP facilities and works clockwise through HP products, services and supply chain, to the low carbon economy and finally to policy and collaboration. The order goes from an area with a high level of direct control but a limited total impact on the world climate through to an area of limited control but massive potential benefit.
My equivalent diagram for accessibility looks like this:
In summary an organisations Accessibility Strategy should ensure:
- All operations and transactions are accessible, both internally an externally.
- All the organisations products and services are accessible.
- The promotion of the implementation of the organisations products and services to improve accessibility in the wider economy.
- Involvement in developing consistent and effective regulations, standards and guidelines that promote accessibility.
In the following sections I will briefly describe each section of the HP Climate strategy and then describe the equivalent strategy that any organisation could adopt for accessibility. The organisation could be a supplier of IT like HP, but equally be a bank, retailer or service provider.
HP Green Facilities
Concentrates on how to reduce the carbon footprint of HP operations by:
- Data centre consolidation.
- Real estate optimisation.
- Reduce travel through telepresence and teleworking.
- Use of renewable energy.
- Employee engagement programs.
Accessible Operations and Transactions
Improve the accessibility of all internal facilities. Examples of options include:
- Ensure the accessibility of all ICT systems accessed by employees and third parties.
- Ensure the accessibility of all physical real estate.
- Reduce the need for people to travel to meetings and work through telepresence and teleworking; hence making it easier for people with disabilities and age-related limitations to participate.
- Employee engagement programs on the issues of RSI and working practices that can help to avoid them.
- Accessibility awareness training.
HP Green Products, services and supply chain
Concentrates on lowering the carbon footprint of HP products and services:
- Use phase emissions:
- Reduce the energy consumption of HP products.
- HP green data center strategy.
- Print management solutions.
- Lifecycle emissions:
- Supply-chain: engage suppliers to reduce the energy used to manufacture HP products.
- Materials: design products with a smaller embodied carbon footprint.
- Logistics: reduce emissions from product transportation.
- Reuse and recycling: assure sound recycling, material reuse and landfill avoidance.
Accessible Products, services and supply chain
Concentrate on the accessibility of products and services:
- Use phase accessibility:
- Increase the accessibility of physical product for example by including voice controls and by redesigning buttons and information displays.
- Ensure products interface through compatibility and interoperability with assistive technologies where appropriate.
- Increase the accessibility of information delivered electronically (e.g. on-line accounts or product downloads).
- Lifecycle accessibility:
- Work with suppliers, partners, and third party developers to create accessible solutions.
- Ensure that products can be researched and then purchased easily via multiple channels.
- Provide product support in ways that are available to all, for example call centres that are easy to access and use by people with a variety of disabilities (including the aging and elderly.
- Provide product training in forms suitable for people with different disabilities (E-training, large print, etc.)
- Packaging that is accessible (especially to people with age-related limitations)
HP Green Low carbon economy
HP concentrates on IT solutions to reduce the footprint of the rest of the economy:
- Reduce energy intensity and carbon footprint of existing processes:
- Intelligent infrastructure enabled by large-scale nano-sensor networks and information management systems.
- Digital publishing, print-on-demand, retail marketing automation solutions to increase paper efficiency.
- Substitute carbon-intensive processes by low-carbon ones:
- Telepresence to reduce business travel.
- Web services such as eCommerce and eBanking to replace physical transactions.
- Enable low-carbon economy management:
- Carbon monitoring and reporting software.
- Carbon trading platforms.
- Deforestation monitoring infrastructure.
Highly accessible wider economy
Concentrates on how the goods and services of an organisation can be used to improve accessibility:
- Improve accessibility to existing facilities or substitute them with new facilities (These are two section in the solutions above but I have combined them into one section for accessibility as it is more difficult to separate them) examples include:
- Displays and audio information at bus stops that provide information about wait times and routes and improve the accessibility of the bus services to people with disabilities.
- E-commerce sites make commerce of all types more accessible, for example a person in a wheel chair may find travelling to bricks-and-mortar shops inconvenient and shopping on-line much easier.
- A supplier of call centre technology could add voice activation or SMS support to improve accessibility of their customers call centres.
- A packaging of hardware, software and services to provide accessible computers to old people.
- Enable accessibility management:
- Web accessibility testing tools both automated and manual.
- Provide services to survey a business to look at all forms of accessibility.
HP Green policy and collaboration
Concentrate on creating effective policy, regulation and collaboration required for a shift to a low-carbon economy.
- HP actively supports policy efforts to mitigate climate change by being a member of policy groups such as:
- 3C Combat Climate Change.
- International Climate Change Partnership.
- The Pew Center for Global Climate Change.
- WWF Climate Savers.
- HP collaborates with organisations such as:
- Carbon Disclosure Project: Supply-Chain Leadership Collaboration.
- WWF partnership.
- Climate Savers Computing Initiative.
- Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI).
Accessible policy and collaboration
Assist in creating a consistent and effective set of guidelines, policies, regulation and collaborations to ensure that accessibility is an integral feature of the economy:
- Active involvement in organisations developing guidelines, policies and regulations relating to accessibility such as:
- British Standards Institute.
- W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
- European Union e-Inclusion/Mandate 376/i2010 Campaign.
- Lobbying for improvements to legislation such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the USA and Disability Discrimination Act in the UK.
- Collaboration with organisations promoting accessibility such as:
- Accessibility Interoperability Alliance (AIA).
- Employers’ Forum on Disability.
- Guild of Accessible Web Designers.
- Royal National Institute of the Deaf.
- American Foundation for the Blind.
- United Nations G3ict
- Organization of American States (OAS)
My recommendation is that when an organisation begins to take an active interest in accessibility it should consider all four facets:
- Accessibility of internal operations.
- Accessibility of product and services.
- Provision of accessible facilities using the organisations products and services.
- Promotion of accessibility through membership and collaborations of local and international organisations.