After years of global mobilisation, movement building and courageous people-powered actions, the tide is turning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. The critical question is, will global powers and industry leaders do it fast enough?
This is the same question we are asking Samsung Electronics after it announced it would release a “strategy” on improving its 1% renewable energy use by August 2018. That’s not any kind of action, it’s just the announcement of a plan that will take Samsung EIGHT months to come up with.In the race to stop catastrophic climate change eight months is too long. #DoBiggerThings never sounded so appropriate.
Samsung’s slowness paints a very different picture of the company than the one we see in its adverts and interviews: an innovation driven, fast-moving and proactive global player. Or even one that puts “planet first”. When Samsung’s profits and reputation with shareholders were at risk from the Note7 disaster it didn’t taken them eight months to come up with a plan to recall these phones (even if they did need a bit of convincing not to just dump them…)
Reasons to be hopeful
The incredible thing is, there has never been a better time in Samsung’s home country South Korea for the brand to embrace renewables. South Korea, the world’s 7th largest greenhouse gas emitter, recently took a first step towards its energy transition: the government announced it will expand renewable energy by 20% by 2030.
Given Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display together are the biggest electricity consumers in the country, it can play a vital role in driving Korea from a climate laggard to a climate leader.
In February 2018 Korea will host the Winter Olympics, and the Olympics organising committee promised that the games would be supplied with 100% renewable energy. Samsung meanwhile, the MAIN SPONSOR of the event, is still stuck on just 1%.
We even know that people expect it of a company like Samsung. According to a survey we carried out in Korea, 85% of people agreed that Korean companies should set a goal to go 100% renewable energy!
The millions of people speaking out to stop climate change, the Korean government, the Winter Olympics committee, 117 of the world’s biggest companies, huge countries like Germany and India, even Samsung’s main competitor Apple is embracing renewable energy!
The world is shifting around Samsung and if the company doesn’t change quickly it risks being on the wrong side of history.
Leaving a legacy
In December, Samsung’s decision makers will meet in Seoul. If they want the company’s legacy to be celebrated by future generations, then they have to make a choice right now: fossil fuels or renewable energy?
Let your voice be heard and help us tell Samsung to #DoBiggerThings. Sign our petition or share this with your friends.
Insung Lee is IT campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, Seoul office.