Quantcast

It's Time for Samsung to Truly Innovate

Business
Greenpeace Germany activists hang a banner over a Samsung advertisement on the walls of the Berlin Palace that reads: Go 100% renewable energy now!. Mike Schmidt / Greenpeace

By Insung Lee

Last month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung announced its new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, which only recently hit the market. But the event was unexpectedly quiet this year and the reason could be that, beside a few incremental features and larger cameras, new models aren't really changing much.


Its phones might have the most cutting-edge technology, but the way Samsung manufactures its electronics is still stuck in the Industrial Age. For instance, Samsung uses about 16 terawatt a year, which is equivalent to that of the Dominican Republic, but only 1 percent of that is sourced from renewable energy. Instead of new models, what we really need is leadership tackling climate change across the sector, and a much more aggressive transition by corporations to renewable sources of energy that also extend into product supply chains.

Electronic devices have become more energy efficient, but their increasing complexity means more energy is spent manufacturing them.

Samsung has a unique status in the IT industry. The company has thousands of suppliers across the world, and provides key components to Apple, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Huawei and many others. If Samsung switches to 100 percent renewables, the impact will create a positive domino effect among other companies, facilitating an even faster transition to 100 percent renewable energy within the sector.

Despite the fact its carbon footprint is growing, Samsung has not yet set emissions reduction or a renewable energy targets for its supply chain, nor made public its top suppliers.

The company announced that it will release a renewable energy strategy by August 2018, but this is nowhere near enough given the scale and urgency of what we are facing. If it really wants to show its leadership, Samsung CEOs need to make climate change a priority and show the ambition to switch its operations to 100 percent renewable energy.

There are benefits for tech companies to switch to renewable energy. The increasing cost competitiveness of renewable energy, with long-term contracts increasingly at cost parity or even beating fossil fuels in many markets, also provides long-term price security. Furthermore, brands that can link their identity to a renewable supply of energy are better perceived by customers, given the growing concern on climate change.

Samsung's home country of South Korea is also transitioning toward a clean energy system, offering the company an unprecedented opportunity to embrace renewables. Just recently, one of South Korea's most coal-intensive provinces, Chungnam province, pledged to phase out coal by 2050 and the President has promoted a transition away from fossil fuels to renewables.

What is Samsung still waiting for?

As the world's biggest smartphone vendor, it's time Samsung uses its influence and power to really innovate.

This is bigger than electronics. This is bigger than business. This is about the legacy that we can leave for our children.

Insung Lee is IT campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, Seoul office.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

JPM / Getty Images

Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.

Read More Show Less
Denali national park. Domen Jakus / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Stephanie Gagnon

Happy National Parks Week! This year, between April 20 and 28, escape to the beautiful national parks — either in person or in your imagination — and celebrate the amazing wildlife that calls these spaces home.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less
Sesame, three months old, at Seal Rescue Irleand. Screenshot / Seal Rescue Ireland Instagram

On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Beer packs of Guinness will now come in a cardboard box. Diageo

By Jordan Davidson

Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Maskot / Getty Images

People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.

Read More Show Less

Rapper and comedian Lil Dicky released a 7-minute climate change awareness song and video today, ahead of Earth Day on Monday, with proceeds going to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

The New York City Council passed the world's "largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has ever put forward" on Thursday afternoon, marking a major milestone in the fight against the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less