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Samsung Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2020

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Solar panels on Samsung Digital City, the tech company's headquarters in Suwon. Samsung / Flickr

Samsung Electronics announced Thursday an aim to source 100 percent renewable energy for its energy used in all of its factories, office buildings and operational facilities in the U.S., Europe and China by 2020.

Specific locations were chosen as they are "well-equipped with infrastructure for the development and transmission of renewable energy," the South Korean tech giant said on its website. Samsung has 17 of its 38 global manufacturing factories, offices and buildings in those markets.


As part of its initial commitment, the company will install around 42,000 square meters of solar panels at its headquarters in Suwon. It will also add about 21,000 square meters of solar arrays and geothermal power generation facilities at its campuses in Pyeongtaek and Hwaseong.

What's more, the electronics firm plans to work with 100 of its top partner companies to assist their own renewable energy targets in alignment with the Carbon Disclosure Project supply chain program, which Samsung intends to join next year.

The Carbon Disclosure Project's supply chain program helps organizations and suppliers identify and manage climate change risks, as well as deforestation and water-related risks.

"Samsung Electronics is fulfilling its duty as a corporate citizen by expanding and supporting the use of renewable energy," said Won Kyong Kim, Samsung Electronics' executive vice president and head of global public affairs, in a statement.

"As demonstrated by our expanded commitment, we are focused on protecting our planet and are doing our part as a global environmental steward."

Further details regarding the company's renewable energy plans will be disclosed in Samsung's sustainability report 2018 to be released Friday.

The announcement was celebrated by environmental organizations. Greenpeace noted that Samsung's commitment—the first from an Asian electronics manufacturing company—comes after months of campaigning and global protests pushing the company to set clear renewable energy goals for its operations and supply chain.

According to a Greenpeace press release, renewable energy currently accounts for only 1 percent of Samsung Electronics' total energy consumption.

"Samsung's announcement is a major step forward for the movement to build a renewably powered future," Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International's executive director, said in a statement. "If the company follows through with meaningful actions, it will join the ranks of innovative business leaders recognizing the sense of urgency around climate change and showing a different future is still possible."

Samsung's move follows efforts made by other major tech brands. In April, Apple announced that its global facilities are now powered with 100 percent clean energy. The same month, Google also announced it now purchases more renewable energy than it consumes as a company.

Insung Lee, IT campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, urged other companies to follow suit and advocated for governments to promote policies that allow companies to easily procure renewable energy.

"[Samsung's] commitment could have an enormous impact in reducing the company's massive global manufacturing footprint, and shows how critical industry participation is in reducing emissions and accelerating the transition to renewable energy," Lee stated.

"Greenpeace and the thousands who took action with us will be watching Samsung carefully to ensure it follows through on its commitments," Lee noted.

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