The spend – the equivalent of £155m – is part of HP’s ‘Sustainable Impact’ commitment to create sustainable digital printing solutions. The move was announced ahead of this week’s Printing United show in the States.
The traditional textiles industry is a big polluter, with HP citing figures from the World Resources Institute stating that some 20% of industrial water pollution is derived from garment manufacturing.
HP said that its existing water-based inks for corrugated packaging had already made a big impact in “sensitive” markets such as food packaging.
Santi Morera, general manager and global head of graphic solutions at HP, said sustainability was an increasingly important issue for the firm’s customers.
“We will be dedicating resources toward continued innovation and industry disruption to accelerate safer, simpler and more sustainable water-based printing technologies that meet the quality, performance and economics needed by these markets, he said.
HP said it would collaborate with the textile industry “in order to make the right choices” for water-based digital platforms as part of its plan to “transform” that industry.
A number of customers backed the move, including UK-headquartered DS Smith which uses HP PageWide T11000S inkjet presses to pre-print digitally for corrugated applications.
Ruediger Lindner, general manager at DS Smith’s Fulda site in Germany, said: “HP’s continuing investment in advancing water-based ink technology gives DS Smith confidence that we will meet the health and safety demands of our customers, along with our own high standards for the work environment of our employees.”
Separately, fresh HP chief executive Enrico Lores spoke out about the sustainability of print on paper at the Canalys Channels Forum event in Barcelona last week, and railed against the misconception that papermaking causes deforestation.
HP has made a commitment that all its own-brand paper and paper-based packaging will come from certified and/or recycled sources by 2020.