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Meg Whitman Brings Mixed Environmental Record to HP

Meg Whitman’s appointment at HP sends mixed signals for the company’s future sustainability leadership.

HP announced on Thursday that its board of directors appointed Whitman as president and chief executive officer, replacing Leo Apotheker.

During Whitman’s tenure as CEO of Ebay, the online auction site helped to found the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, the industry collaborative that sets targets for energy-efficient computers and components. HP was also a founding member.

But in 2007, Ebay scored below 10 points, out of a possible 100, on a Climate Counts scorecard that ranked companies on GHG measurement, reduction plans, disclosure and political advocacy.

In her run for the California governor’s office last year, Whitman initially wavered on Proposition 23, the ballot initiative that proposed axing the state’s AB 32 climate regulations, ZDnet reports. Whitman eventually came out against Prop 23 itself, but she also called AB 32 a “job killer”, and said that if elected she would immediately suspend the climate regulations for a year.

HP took a different stance on the issue, saying in a statement:

HP strongly opposes Proposition 23, which would impair California’s leadership in reducing greenhouse gases. As a top employer in California and one of America’s greenest companies, HP takes seriously its role as a leader in protecting our environment, and supports the state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and provide regulatory certainty that fuels innovation.

Whitman is unlikely to change HP’s position on that issue. Commentators say she veered hard to the right in her election campaign in an effort to please voters, but has shown green tendencies in the past.

Her campaign website said that she opposed offshore oil, according to the Legal Planet blog of the UCLA and UC Berkeley schools of law. And her family foundation, of which Whitman is a trustee, granted $300,000 to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in 2007 and 2008.

Picture credit: Meg Whitman for Governor

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