On Sunday, on the eve of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung revealed the S9. Yet another new smartphone model that promises to (once again) re-define everything we know about phones.
As companies fall over themselves to release newer, faster, shinier models, we start to wonder whether Samsung and other major brands realise that in 2018 innovation must not be measured in fewer millimetres, or marginally better cameras, but in how devices are made.
1.53 billion. That’s how many smartphones were sold just last year.
This constant churn results in a tremendous waste of the planet’s natural resources, while also creating a massive e-waste problem at end of life. But there is another planetary impact that must be considered as well; climate change.
As much as 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our favourite gadgets comes from the manufacturing of the device.
And right now, almost all of the energy used to make our smartphones comes from non-renewable energy sources like coal and gas.
And we are not talking about a small amount of energy. We calculated that between 2007 and 2017 roughly as much energy was used to make smartphones as the amount of electricity Japan uses in one year!
Samsung Electronics is one company in particular that seems to be more interested in maximising its profits by releasing endless new models rather than doing its part to address climate change.
Samsung has a massive global manufacturing footprint, but only uses 1% renewable energy.
This is far behind tech rivals Apple, Google and Facebook, who have not only made a commitment to power their operations with 100% renewable energy, they’ve already made substantial progress toward that goal.
But it’s not only environmentalists who are tired of exaggerated marketing promises from electronics companies.
A 2015 study found that 66% of customers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands.
We recently asked more than 8,000 Greenpeace supporters if they would be more likely to purchase a Samsung product if the company was a sustainability leader. 85% said yes.
We know Samsung is paying attention, especially right now. By taking this simple action, you can join the huge numbers of people that believe companies should do their part for our planet .
Copy and paste one of these comments onto the S9 promotional post on Samsung’s Facebook page, or make up your own:
- Samsung, as the biggest smartphone manufacturer, you must step up to fight climate change. Switch to renewable energy!
- Samsung, 1% renewable energy is not good enough. Apple, Google, and Facebook have all committed to 100% renewable energy. When will you #DoWhatYouCant?
- 19th century energy to make 21st century gadgets? This is far from innovative. Please commit to renewable energy today!
Elizabeth Jardim is a Senior Corporate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.