Samsung now nearly a third through its goal of becoming a net-zero company

The company plans to invest more than $5.3bn in environmental management activities by 2030 in order to 'transparently' disclose its strategy's progress

People pass by Samsung Electronics' shop in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. The craze for smartphones, social media and universal connectivity is generating immense wealth but also deep unease in South Korea, source of a large share of the computer chips that make them work. Soaring demand for microchips used in smartphones, computer servers and data centers is driving profits for chip and smartphone maker Samsung Electronics and its smaller rival SK Hynix sky high, helping sustain growth in Asia's fourth largest economy. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturer, is now nearly a third through its goal of becoming a net-zero company, as it accelerated its sustainability efforts in 2022.

The South Korean industry major is now 31 per cent complete in its transition to meet its target by 2030, up 11 per cent from 2021, the Seoul-based company said in its 2022 sustainability report.

This was highlighted by completing its transition to utilising renewable energy in Device eXperience (DX) divisions in Brazil, India and Vietnam, in line with the company’s goal to fully use more sustainable energy sources at its DX and operational sites outside South Korea by 2027, it said.

DX is the merged mobile phone and home appliance division of Samsung, which makes the Apple iPhone's rival Galaxy series of smartphones.

In addition, the company raised the amount of recycled resin used in its plastic parts to nearly 99,000 tonnes, which is a 200 per cent year-on-year increase, the study showed.

That puts the company on track towards its goal of using the material in 50 per cent of plastic parts by 2030 and in all plastic components by 2050, it said. Samsung has a goal of achieving net-zero across all its operations companywide by 2050.

Water reuse, meanwhile, hit almost 117 million tonnes, a 29 per cent increase compared to 2021.

"Growing environmental and socio-economic risks coupled with geopolitical uncertainties have reinforced our belief that sustainability needs to be a key force for driving our competitiveness and technological innovation," Jong-hee Han, chief executive and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, wrote in the report.

"We aim to mitigate carbon emissions by using our innovative technologies and maximising resource circularity across the life cycle of our products."

Technology companies, which wield significant influence over societies and economies, have also been one of the biggest producers of carbon dioxide, emitting between 2 and 3 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions in 2021, which is comparable to aviation, according to the United Nations.

The sector, however, has made moves to curb this, with several companies rejigging their strategies and pledging to reduce their emissions and become net-zero.

Samsung has the largest carbon footprint of any major company in tech, having emitted around 20.17 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2021, the latest study from industry platform Electronics Hub shows.

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Amazon, the world's biggest e-commerce marketplace, was second with 16.2 million metric tonnes, it said. That also made the Seattle-based company the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide among the so-called Big Five technology companies, which include Google parent Alphabet, Apple, Facebook owner Meta Platforms and Microsoft.

Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta and Apple released far less carbon dioxide compared to Samsung and Amazon, emitting 6.62 million, 4.87 million, 3.14 million and 1.06 million metric tonnes in 2021, according to the report.

"The tech industry has a major role to play in leading the world towards carbon neutrality, but its major players dominate the market and ultimately influence the sector’s green ambitions," Rodrigo Navarro, an editor at Electronics Hub, wrote in the study.

As part of its 2022 programme, Samsung announced what it called a New Environmental Strategy in September, which aims to address global environmental issues through its technologies.

The pillars of the initiative include joining the global drive to fight climate change, support the implementation of a circular economy and address environmental challenges through technological innovation.

The tech industry has a major role to play in leading the world toward carbon neutrality, but its major players dominate the market and ultimately influence the sector’s green ambitions
Rodrigo Navarro, editor at Electronics Hub

"This effort is expected to bring positive change to the broader ecosystem of the information and communications technology industry as we engage in the manufacturing and supply of an extensive range of products and services," it said.

Samsung plans to invest more than 7 trillion won ($5.3 billion) in environmental management activities by 2030 in order to "transparently" disclose the progress and results of the strategy.

These activities include gas reduction in semiconductor processes, e-waste collection and recycling, water resource preservation and pollutant minimisation.

"Tackling global environmental challenges requires concerted efforts from a wide range of stakeholders," Mr Han said.

"We are therefore continually expanding our collaboration and partnership with various stakeholders to explore technological breakthroughs and address systemic and physical barriers."

Updated: July 01, 2023, 12:46 PM